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Predictions for 2020

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In our latest Cue magazine, 2020 Vision, we asked the team what they thought would be the hot topics, trends and issues setting the agenda and commanding attention for the year ahead. Some are more unexpected than others…

Andy Kirk – Design Strategy Director 

In 1990 John Elfreth Watkins Jr, writing in The Ladies Home Journal, claimed that extraneous letters like C, Q and X will be abandoned. In 2020, this will happen, along with the removal from all dictionaries of all unnecessary, old fashioned words. This will help to make all social media platforms and apps faster and also allow AI to be much more efficient, reducing human and machine reading time by up to 7%.

This efficiency is in keeping with the Bold Minimalism movement, the reduction and streamlining of design as we continue to demand less – less clutter, less plastic, less bullshit and more simplification. This is not the dumbing down of society, but about promoting faster, smarter ways of living. However, there may be a flip slide to this start, unadorned drabness; Kardashian-scale ostentation all bring our New Splendid Isolationism to life as we continue to ignore the state of the world and demand cleaner seas while we throw our trash out of the car window. 

Fashion will be the antidote to beige, unquestioning thinking. 2020 will see wilder fashion statements, comparable to the Regency, Punk or New Romantic movements, elaboration and decoration in clothing and interiors that will balance out the stripped-down aesthetics seen elsewhere. This will drive new expressions in the visual arts, music and street art, wild colours will challenge the Neo Mint/Living Coral/Mudflat Grey colours of the year. 

2020 will see the start of a counter-culture that will take several years of uncertainty to find its voice. It will also finally be proven in this year that AI will struggle to replicate the human traits of radicalism, rebelliousness and unorthodoxy, but will continue to be used everywhere to try to do just that.


Laura Wade – Managing Director, 1HQ New York

By 2020 there will be an estimated 7,758,156,792 humans on earth, so how is it possible that in an age of instant global connectivity, we still feel distant and fragmented from real human connections?

Sadly, it looks like loneliness could become a real epidemic in the 21st Century, in our fast paced, consumer driven and social media shared world! It’s in our psyche to have genuine human connections, a place to belong with real people, not a Facebook page with 100’s of friends we’ve never even met.

So, I predict that 2020 will continue the momentum and focus on just being human along with closing the gaps between individuals. A whole plethora of brands, products and services will be created that really focus on us as humans and our individual needs. There will be a rise in products that work in natural synergy with our body and blur the lines between gender, age, ethnicity, physicality and demographic, etc.

Given the strength of cultural currents and consumers to influence exactly what they want and expect from brands, clever human centric design is going to be key in 2020. This willa ct as a great differentiator and growth strategy in fiercely competitive landscapes. More and more it will need to be ‘built in’ as the price to play. We will also see a surge in sensorial branding, with biometric data devices allowing brands to interpret the information from our rich canvas of senses.

David Gray – CEO, Creative Leap

Personalised medicine is making the headlines in everything from cancer treatments to skincare and VMS regimes. with 90% of all recorded human data captured in the last two years, we are working at the cutting edge of science and data, helping to improve patients’ lives.

Constant medical breakthroughs are enabling us to treat illnesses more effectively, but in 2020 we can expect to start predicting diseases as we enter into an impressive pre-emptive era of modern medicine. This will bring an increase in bespoke tailored treatments for patients as we become further informed on how individual bodies will respond to specific interventions.

Interconnections between genome sequencing, date and informatics, and wearable technology is making personalised care possible. We now have the tools to identify which of us is at risk of developing and illness, something I predict will become mainstream information in 2020.

Read more from our 2020 series in the latest edition of Cue magazine. Download your copy here.


Content includes:

All in
How can we foster and learn in order to create an inclusive and diverse culture in design?

Cultural diversity in design
Brands that cater to the widest range of people will not only be rewarded by consumer spending, but by elevated status in competitive markets too.

Design for a better world
Noteworthy brands who are innovating for a more inclusive world.

How do brands create cultural relevancy through compelling storytelling?
It’s not whether you stand up for a social issue, it’s how.

Why shouldn’t grass be purple?
Designing for colour blindness.


All In.


Fresh thinking from 1HQ