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Design trends: what makes a brilliant designer?

by Yvette Maurice

Next year is bound to be an exciting adventure in change, growth and vibrancy for Australia’s designers. What trends will emerge and what personality traits make a top-notch designer? Here, Open Colleges uncovers the designing life.

It takes a unique type of person to be a designer.

Peter de Deckker is Head of Faculty, Creative Industry. Originally coming to Australia in 1983 he desired a career in graphic design but went on to achieve new heights in architecture and education.

“When you are a designer,” he says, “you are a problem solver. You always have to fix a problem for your client.”

He is a person of great artistic vision, having been responsible for designing many of the office blocks on Northbourne Avenue in Canberra, a major road extending from City Hill in the south to the Federal Highway in the north. “I arrived at an important time,” Peter says.

He now has a big vision for the Faculty of Creative Design and for the students of Open Colleges. “My main aim is to continue to create a great team and to make sure everyone in the faculty has the support they need,” he says.

“I want to grow the faculty, to introduce new programs and perhaps a series of short courses which could become pathways into accredited courses.”

“I think that Open Colleges has gone a long way in mastering the delivery of online learning,” Peter says. “Students can now get the knowledge they want in their own time, at their own pace.”

Considering studying design next year?


Here are some design trends that have stood the test of time

Design trend #1:  Look to Pantone for your colour inspiration

Iconic colour institute Pantone release a Colour of the Year every year, and it continues to be one of the most anticipated events on the design world calendar. The Colour of the Year is “a symbolic colour selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our global culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude”.

Design trend #2: Font and typography trends

Creating good typography is getting easier and web fonts have moved into everyday life. Web fonts are also getting faster, says design site Creative Bloq. According to this online player, “A solid typographic is an inherent cornerstone of crafting a cohesive brand.”

Design trend #3: Natural materials in interior design

Natural materials, such as stone, wood, metal and glass, dominate modern interior design trends. Lushome says, “Natural elements and interior colours, organic shapes and textures represent an eco-friendly, contemporary feeling.”

Design trend #4: Graphic designers’ roles are changing

There is much more of a move towards in-house teams, according to Creative Bloq. They also suggest that there will be more automation of code and we will see “the rise of software as a service and the decline of the website.”

Design trend #5: Telling a story through fashion

The move towards ethical fashion and conscious clothing sees more and more people concerning themselves with where and how their clothes were produced. states that,“’Story’ is a real fashion buzzword. Who made that? How many hands touched it?”

Carlos Rodriguez is the Creative Director of Open Colleges

Carlos Rodriguez is an Australian Creative Director

What type of person suits a career in design?

Designers are new, innovative and fresh. They are tasked with finding the “why” for the rest of the world, to enhance our creative vision and add some art to life. Designers may work in graphics, in digital, in fashion, photography, interiors and furnishings – wherever they are – designers must create.

Carlos Rodriguez is a creative director of a digital marketing group, managing a team of designers to create work that tells a story and serves a creative process. We thought we ask him about what it takes to make design into a career.

“Design is not only the visual look and feel of something,” Carlos says, “but ultimately in the end how something works, it encapsulates how people interact and use something.”

“This is as relevant for a fashion designer creating a piece of clothing as it is for a graphic designer building a brand’s identity. A career in design therefore suits someone who cares about how people interact with objects in our world and how they influence our lives.”

Name three elements of the typical designers’ personality.

“A designer must be curious, insightful and empathetic,” Carlos says.

Why is working in design so cool?

“It can give you the opportunity to create and shape objects that people interact with on a daily basis,” he says. “In essence – you get to influence people. How you do that is up to you.”

What is the best thing about having a career in design?

“I would say that the most exciting thing would be getting to build and create things for a living.”

A final note on support
The support you will receive in your studies is second to none, according to Peter. “Students can now get the knowledge they want in their own time, at their own pace,” he says.  “The support attached to our courses is phenomenal. The student support is fabulous – and very quick. I have seen quite a lot of really good results for our students.”

 Photo by Cory Schmitz

Thinking of a course in design?

Want to find out more about what courses are offered by the Faculty of Creative Industry? What would you choose? Fashion, interiors, graphic design or web design?

Find a full list of Open Colleges’ courses here.

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