Design in Tech Reports

What is the Resilience Tech Report? The Resilience Tech Report is where technology trends across personal, enterprise, and government will be brought together in one place for the first time. Stay tuned! It launches at SXSW 2022. Why did I switch? Well, the reasons will become obvious when you see the new report. Thanks for remaining curious with me! —@johnmaeda

What was the CX Report? The CX Report gathered trends related to how business now happens in the computational era. It was inaugurated at SXSW in 2020 and ran for two years. Building on the past five Design in Tech Reports, the CX Report looked deeply at the business implications of how computation is transforming the Customer Experience.

Will there be no more future Design in Tech Reports? Yes. I’ll be switching over to making the CX Report from 2020 because of a random happening while I was visiting Atlanta in 2019. Let’s see how this all goes … please keep tuning in! Thank you. —JM

Where did the 2020 Design in Tech Report go? There was a concern raised by an organization representing an artist who passed away that artwork within the Design in Tech Report (a Tony Ruth commission) was deemed as a potential copyright violation. Therefore it has been taken down. Sorry!

Download the 2019 report in PDF form.

Design in Tech Report 2018

Download the 2018 report in PDF form.

Key Observations for 2018

  • Design isn’t just about beauty; it’s about market relevance and meaningful results.
  • There are three kinds of design. Classical Design, Design Thinking, and Computational Design.
  • In 2017 there were 21 acquisitions of creative agencies or designer-founded startups.
  • Medical schools in the US are using design thinking in their curricula.
  • Consulting companies are going beyond just design thinking — they’re changing how business is done.
  • China continues to lead in designing experiences at a scale and level of sophistication that astounds.
  • Indian and Latin markets are advancing design thinking and computational design. And we have a lot to learn from them.
  • Gen B(older) is becoming a market opportunity for new products and services that can’t be ignored.

Silicon Valley design guru John Maeda distinguishes between three categories: “classical” designers, who create physical objects or products; “commercial” designers who innovate by seeking deep insights into how customers interact with products and services; and “computational” designers, who use programming skills and data to satisfy millions or even billions of users instantaneously.
Clay Chandler on the Design in Tech Report

Design in Tech Report 2017

Download the Full 2017 Design in Tech Report (3Mb)
Listen to the 2017 Design in Tech Report on SoundCloud (1hr)
Watch the Full 2017 Design in Tech Report on Vimeo (1hr)
科技中的设计报告 2017 (4.5Mb)

Key Observations for 2017

  • Design isn’t just about beauty; it’s about market relevance and meaningful results.
  • At top business schools, design thinking is moving into the curriculum — driven by market demand.
  • Both McKinsey & Co and IBM have recently made appointments at their most senior levels for designers.
  • Adopting an inclusive design approach expands a tech product’s total addressable market.
  • Computational designers remain in demand at technology companies of all sizes and maturity levels.
  • Chinese design in tech principles and practices are leading the world, but are often overlooked.
  • Design tool companies and design community platforms occupy new positions of value for tech.
  • Voice- and chat-based interfaces are grounded in mental models that don’t require a visual representation.

VentureBeat’s Ken Yeung frames the new 2017 report in his related piece asking, “The tech industry needs more designers — are hybrid designer-developers the answer?”

Fast Company’s Katherine Schwab highlights the value of writing in the design process asserting, “Forget coding: writing is design’s unicorn skill.”

WIRED’s Liz Stinson posits, “When ‘design’ is no longer distinguishable from ‘tech,’ someday, design might not need Maeda’s 50-page reports to extol its virtues.” I agree!

áccent’s Anna Savina summarizes, “Designers’ role will be to support the social conscience of the product.”

Design in Tech Report 2016


Design in Tech Report 2015