Has Social Media Changed Design Forever?

For many of us who have grown up in the “social media generation,” it comes to no surprise that this monster has crept up and bit just about everyone right in the butt. The older generation held out (and still are) as long as they could, but in today’s world, you adapt or you get left behind. That’s why in this age of technology, adapting design standards to the times is more crucial than ever. But will design ever be they way it used to be? Are the handcrafted, hand lettered and tangible aspects of design being thrown to the curb to make way for the social media craze?

Let’s take a look at branding: A crucial aspect to the success of any company is to have a rock solid branding statement. In the past, talented designers strategized the most effective ways to reach their audience and market themselves in the industry. Flyers, direct mailers, billboards, radio and other means of communication were key. Nowadays, even email marketing is becoming a thing of the past. Why send an email when it is just as (if not more) effective to reach your audience on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.? You have to go where the people are, right?

That being said, marketing and design in general has taken a huge leap. The older generation of designers that used to create mainly print materials has to either learn the “ropes” or be replaced by a younger “tech savvy” generation (that can’t even imagine designing without the Adobe Suite). The scary thing is, this transformation has happened in an incredibly short time period. Does this seem fair? Now we’re designing custom Facebook cover photos, Twitter backgrounds, and who know what will happen when Google Goggles are officially released.

In my opinion, marketing and design will never be the same as it used to be in all “ancient” history books you see from like 15 years ago. Is this a bad thing? No. Change and the drive to move forward are what keep the world and the design industry on its toes. Does this mean that people don’t enjoy a well-crafted, handmade piece of design? Definitely not. Design and technology go so hand-in-hand, but it is almost a bittersweet relationship. Seeing things like the Instagram Socialmatic Camera is refreshing in that a traditional art form has evolved from an advanced technology art form. It’s made the full circle. A poloroid picture from an app? Who would have thought.

Do you see traditional means of design making a comeback in the future? Where do you think design is heading?

→ Written by Amanda Blaha, designer.

  1. I think that design is getting more and more visual (obviously) and that visual marketing is going to become necessary for almost every business type. That said, I do see design-for-print skills coming in very handy for designing and selling digital products (ebooks, etc.) as well as for creating infographics. Also, I still find that people crave a tactile experience, so a real challenge will continue to be to marry the digital world with those handmade touches.

    Great fodder for thinking! Thanks for posting–

  2. I agree, it’s insane how fast things are changing but I also think that keeps designers on their toes with creativity. Stagnant design is no fun!

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