Design in Tech Reports


Abridged version of what I presented at SXSW 2024

SXSW Featured Session

Design in Tech Report 2024:
Design Against AI

Mar 8, 2024
2:30pm – 3:30pm CT

Austin Convention Center
Ballroom D

Now available: 2023 Design in Tech Report at SXSW

The 1st Design in Tech Report was launched at SXSW in 2015

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

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

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Design in Tech Report 2017

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» Design in Tech Report 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