Unsupported browser

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your experience.

Sign up for an Award

Participate with your entry in one of our professional or student awards.

Sign up for an award

Sign up for a Profile

Create your own profile and publish it in the iF WORLD DESIGN GUIDE.

Sign up for a profile

Learn more:

iF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE

Present your project for free and win your share of EUR 50,000 in prize money.

Publish your project

These four design trends must be understood in 2021

Urban spirituality, Cyborgs, ASMR, artificial nature – the new China Design Trend Report presents stories of how future design can look like.

The effects of both the extremes virtual and reality are crucial ingredient when it comes to design trend forecasting. This is the result of the annual China Design Trend Report, recently prepared by the iF award winning and collaborating design consultancy YANG DESIGN from Shanghai, China.

In this year’s edition for 2021-2022, YANG DESIGN proposes four major trends of which two trends tend to merge virtual and reality, and two further trends stand in the extremes of virtual and reality.

All these four trends are presented in the report as four stories about our future.

The four major trends:

1. D-Day Relic – New-born Aesthetic in the Collapsed World

What should humans do if there was a catastrophe destroying our world? Here the authors cast an eye over dystopian and rather utopian ideas to rebuild our societies by means of function design approaches.

2. Nature Hacker – A Copy of Next Generation of Earth and Creatures

This trend focuses on applying new technologies to design, characterized by cyborgs, sensors and gene pools to name just a few. Designers should raise the question about whether the reformed nature is still "natural".

3. ASMR – Soul-healing Sensory Experience

Busyness and overload information make our senses prematurely dull. One way out is to target real sensory experiences as tactility and touch act as a healing power.

4. Fairy Tool – Urban Spiritual Pastoral Illusion

Here the authors refer to abandoning the digital life since it brings along a lack of creativity and significance. Instead, we should think about preparing the ground for urban spirituality. A reference to Mount Peglai, a legendary land of Chinese mythology, is created.


Since 2013 the China Design Trends Report has become the authoritative design trend study for the Chinese market. It inspires design enterprises even outside China on the world market.

iF award winning brands such as Philips, Braun, Lenovo or Honeywell translate this forward-looking trend study result into product design opportunities. They capture the trends for product shape, color, and materials applications as the report provides corresponding color and material tools, which are suitable for various design fields.

Related link:

Trend Forecasting 2021 – What does the Future hold?


(published in April 2021)