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Salla Tanskanen 2017 Product Design Glasgow School of Art Salla Tanskanen 2017 1

Future Experiences Spotter — Trend research AI assistant

Future Experiences

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Speculating a future profession of trend researcher for interfaces

Initial storyboard ...................... 36-37 Trend research ......................... 38-39

2027 Creative Industries .......... 10-11

Final concept ............................. 44-47

Future world of AI led creativity ....................................... 14-15

Exploring form ......................... 48-49

Making it tangible ..................... 20-21 Design Studio 2017-2027 ...... 22-25

Trends in the web .................... 40-41 Future of the screen .............. 42-43

Tangible websites .................... 50-53 Testing the concept ................ 54-55 Spotter the AI assistant ........ 56-67 The final words ........................ 68-69 Sources ................................................ 71

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Design now/In the future ....... 18-19 Future Experiences

Refining the concept .............. 34-35

Group project researching the future of the Creative Industries

From abstract to visual .......... 16-17


Tangible concepts ................... 32-33



Details of the future world ............................................. 28-31

FUTURE OF WORKING / WORKING FUTURES Exploring working cultures and future of professions with the impact of artificial intelligence

Future Experiences

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With artificial intelligence and machine learning becoming common place in our lives including in the work place taking over various jobs, the general atmosphere seems to be concern. In this two part project I will first explore the change of the Creative Industries in the future through group work and then move on to developing concepts based on the initial project on my own. In my individual work I am looking at how entry level creatives can benefit from trend research AI in their career.



Future Experiences

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Group project with Cameron Ramage, Johnathan Hamilton and Karen McAllister on researching the futures of Creative Industries.

AI companions & companion design Marketing & advertising dominated by AI/ML

VR & AR popular in everyday life Analogue content becomes premium

Experience design in space

20 1 7

2 02 7


Future Experiences

2027 CREATIVE INDUSTRIES Future time line of automating creativity Initially we were looking at the future of Garment Industry, but swiftly realised it being a rather narrow topic. We decided to change the focus of our project to include the entirety of the Creative

AI designed products on market

Industries, so we felt it was necessary to recreate a time line from 2017 to 2027 speculating how the industry and the world around might change. The main takeaways we gained from the exercise were AI becoming increasingly common place, maybe even for consumers. Equally we discovered that artificial intelligence will most likely be a tool that could be used in creative practices.

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Data based design

First AI generated actors

Consumer facing AI systems released


Design by algorithm, human designer as curator

3D printing common for consumers

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Artificial intelligence’s ability to create infinite iterations within decided parameters would render the human ideation useless and change the human role into a rather decision making position. With Big Data in mind we also agreed that products could be perfectly optimised to a certain person or demographic. Being able to access details of a person via their digital activity data, could an AI create the ideal product for that person.



Future Experiences

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COLOUR High contrast, cool & transparent

personal personal personal personal personal personal personal personal personal personal OBJECT TYPE personal AI companions &personal Humanist, lower future screens



PERSONALITY AI & technology famous

FUTURE WORLD OF AI LED CREATIVITY Visually expressing the future The next step was to attempt to visually communicate our speculated future of the Creative Industries through an exhibition. With the help of a workshop led by Brian Proudfoot, we began to visualise our ideas. We felt the following questions were expressing the core of our research and what we wanted to tell with our outcome.

W H AT I F MATERIAL & TEXTURE Biomimicry, clean

ACTIVITY Using VR & home creation

In order to visually express our research we created moodboards of the aesthetics this future might contain. The core idea was personalisation of everything.

Machines relied upon humans for creativity? What if there was an equal dependence between humans and machines?



Future Experiences

TONE OF VOICE Approachable & neutral

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Machines were capable of human level creativity?

First iterations of visualising research and abstract ideas Especially concentrating in Industrial and Product design we went ahead to try and communicate the idea of computer generated prototypes and human as the curator. The fact that products could be bespoke made to a person, possibly even 3D printed in their home, was also something we wanted to add in. We chose a glass as an object to illustrate this, as it is a very mundane product.

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Second iteration played more with the idea of personalisation and optimisation to a certain person, that could be done utilising their online data. One could choose to share their optimised item and receive feedback on it.


Future Experiences


First iteration of our idea included a set of different glasses representing the mass of varying prototypes an AI would be able to create. From these a designer could then pick which ever ones to take forward.

External research

Define parameters


Refine & review data set


Service maps

Define outcome

Primary testing


Launch Feedback Evaluate success

Future Experiences


Market research

Social patterns

Iterative development


Observation analysis


Market testing

Track learning

Thematic research

Journey mapping

Idea generation

Stakeholder mapping

Competitive analysis

AB testing

Artefact engagement

External inspiration


Demographic research

DESIGN NOW / IN THE FUTURE Comparing the design process now and how it will differ in 2027 As AI would possibly become ever increasing part of designers practice, we wanted to explore which parts exactly could be done with algorithms. Most of the points in the map at the moment are done by humans, but as we speculated, the majority of the tasks could be given to an AI to do or at least be a shared responsibility between the human.

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Remove unnecessary parameters



Topic choice






MAKING IT TANGIBLE Beginning to create the future world

Future Experiences

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In order to grasp the changes that we speculated would happen within the creative industries, we decided to create a comparison of the current world and the future world. We chose to depict a design studio of today and one of the future which both would have hints of what tasks would be included into their work. The initial set up was rather robust, so we developed it further.

DESIGN STUDIO 2017 - 27 How different will design look like in 2027

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The installation represents a design studio in the present and one from 2027. In the present day a lot of the process is rather manual and in contrast the future design studio uses AI in most of their tasks. It acts as a design partner that might do the labour intensive grunt work, whereas the human designers lead the role of curating the content and making sure it is up to standard.

Today’s designer would be using their double diamond design process.

To contrast the changing design process and how much of the responsibility would move over to the AI, we created a set of VR tools and an animation representing the domination of technology

With QR code magazines and AR glasses we wanted to hint the use of AR and VR being a part of everyday life.

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The designer of the present would still use the traditional tools of pens and sketch books.



Future Experiences

Compared to the desk of today’s designer, the future designers space would be emptier, as they wouldn’t need the same tools anymore.


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From now on I continued working individually and decided to concentrate on the futures of the Design Industry and especially trend research within it



Future Experiences


Less entry level jobs within design industry

Most consumer products could be designed or codesigned by AI

Freelancing becomes more popular


Concept #1 AI design detector If products are designed by AI in the future, would the company producing the product want to hide the fact that it is machine designed. Could there also be a use for consumers to have a tool that would help them identify machine made works of art or products.

Concept 2 More time for sustainability

Tool kit, how can I make my designs more sustainable


Future Experiences

Generating concepts based on the future world The themes mentioned above were the points that we found from our group research, which I wanted to take further in my individual project. I began to generate concepts based on these aspects of the future world.


mad y l l a c Ethi e UK in th

Since designers of the future, who use AI design tools, would have less tasks to do in the design process, could they use that time to make the products they design more sustainable. A tool kit could guide the designer to select more sustainable materials, manufacturing methods and other aspects.

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Designers would use big data in their design process


Creative AI commonplace in design studios

Concept #3 Check your bias

Concept #5 Creative crutches

If designers will be using Big Data in their work, how will they know the data sets used are not bias. A guideline could help a designer to recognise whether the data they use is bias in any way.

Considering the fact that creative AI tools would be somewhat common place in 2027, maybe they could also be accessible to consumers. Creative AI assistant would help people who might not have the creative skills yet to make the art, music or other creative outlets. This would enable freelancers as well to reach work they usually wouldn’t be able to do.

Hey y o abou u’re t to s h your emai are l!

This was the concept I decided to take further as it had potential to address the issue of disappearing entry level jobs in design and the fact of freelancing becoming more popular. There was still a lot to refine in it.



Future Experiences

If AI designers are using the data individuals share online within their process, could there be a way of also the users being aware of what parts of their information is being used and for what. Possibly one could also deliberately give away their data in exchange of goods.

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Concept #4 Giving my data away

The designer might only interact with their customers through data of demographics.

Instead of making analogue sketches they would mainly work with iterative software.

With using peoples’ social media or browsing data, the ones who use it could also be quite aware of the various privacy issues.

They might be looking through inspirational products that could be used in their AI algorithm.

TANGIBLE CONCEPT More visual exploration

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Before going into more detail with how the chosen concept might work in reality it was useful to explore the world and visual elements the concept might take place in. Through the workshop led by Santini Basra we were meant to further explore what our concepts might look like in tangible form. I created some items that a future designer might have and represented how their work had changed since 2017.


Future Experiences

Assisting the less skilled with AI Continuing with the concept of creative AI assistant I wanted to also consider the changing roles of work in design. As from the group research we had found out creative AI possibly taking over entry level work as well as the rise of freelance workers. Could the AI assistant I had first proposed, be used by beginner designers to reach a higher skill level and do more demanding work.

Here! I’ve organised all the relevant data I found into human size sets.

What designers do is incredibly varied, but when attempting to apply the skills of a computer to their work I found that especially design research could benefit from what computers do best, going through large quantities of data fast. To be exact trend research for consumer products, which consist largely off of searching for recent bits of information. Looking through the web can be laborious, but with AI it could be automated. Human is still needed to know what to look for, pick out the meaningful content and curate it appropriately to the client.

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Of course, that’s what I do best. Just give me a second!


I’m new to this. Could you help me find relevant content about this trend?

1st paramete r 2nd parame ter

Time scale

The trend researcher would connect their AI assistant to their computer

They would then feed in the parameters that they want to find information on.

The AI comes back with a set of data based on the parameters.

INITIAL STORYBOARD They could then curate the data and the feedback they collected to give to their customer.

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The researcher can select the pieces of information they deem useful.



Future Experiences

Shaping the story

”-- it’s a lot about having awareness of what has already been covered.” ”The really interesting thing is that [Stylus] provide future rapports.”


Future Experiences

Works for the trends publisher Stylus, researching within Product Design, colour & materials among other things.

”The most time consuming part is when you’re trawling through and not finding the right thing straight away.” ”For example I can’t do a Google search to say, show me ’innovative reuse of material within a design context in the last three months’, Google won’t give me very much back.” But what would be the future topic of trend research

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Interview with Rachael Sleight

”They have people come in as assistant editors -- A new graduate could absolutely do that.”



Trend research is common practice in the current time, helping designers to find the right visual language and concepts. The usual topics of research might include fashion, home ware or other tangible products.

Apple website 4th April 1997

Apple website 4th April 2007


Apple website 4th April 2017

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Thinking about what kind of trend research would be especially valuable or increasingly needed, I decided to concentrate on web design. It is a job that doesn’t exist yet, but could do in the future. Already a lot of our lives take place on a screen, so it could be argued to increase, especially with augmented and virtual reality becoming increasingly commonplace. It could be argued that need for people working with user interface design would grow.



Future Experiences

Looking at how trends exist online now how might they change in the future

Crazy Cool User


Future Experiences

Normalising of AR but still keeping the screen Augmented reality will possibly become more accessible in a larger scale. However, some tasks might still be more comfortable to do on a traditional screen. I did some research on both, as they are both the future of web and user interface design.

The community of web design enthusiasts is not particularly small anymore. It gets world wide recognition through such as the professional web design and development competition body Awwwards.

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It explores a future world where augmented reality has completely taken over our environment. Such a complete immersion might seem unrealistic, but the trend of AR will definitely become increasingly normal


Hyper-reality by Keiichi Matsuda is a speculative project of a future that is completely immersed in augmented reality.

Another point of inspiration was a Facebook group that is dedicated to sharing inspirational websites. Users can also ask others for good examples in specific sites.

Responsive background found in


Live animations found in

Trend research for web design

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Future Experiences

Static scroll found in



The final concept is an AI that helps trend researchers especially web and user interface design trends. It makes looking for examples faster but leaves the user with curatorial desicion on the data base. It also uses machine learning to recognise reoccurring attributes in the selected set of websites.


Look for finance related website

Glen looks through the websites he received from the AI and gets rid of the ones he doesn’t want to include in his trends.

He then presents the selected sites back to the AI. It goes through them to recognise similarities between them.

Glen receives the found similarities; are the things that forms the trends Glen needs. He puts them together into a compelling package of trends for his client.

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The AI scans the web for websites that are finance themed and brings a set of examples for Glen to look through.



Future Experiences

Glen asks his assistant AI to look for finance related trends as his client is a fin-tech start up, who are wanting to redesign their website.

Find me some portfolio websites, please

EXPLORING FORM Searching for the form of a trend research AI

Future Experiences

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To begin with making the concept into a tangible thing I explored ways of displaying a set of websites at once. As moodboards have traditionally been a popular way of visual research for design, something similar could be used for research for web design.

Developers can use a tool to view websites in 3D, which reveals the different object in the code. This inspired me to explore what websites might look like in the future if AR became the norm.


Thinking about how websites and viewing the internet might change in the next 10 years, I wanted to play with the idea of 3D websites. This might be a reality with augmented reality becoming increasingly popular. I wanted the tool for web research to also have a tangible aspect to it, as it could be a more comfortable way of looking at bits of information.

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Future Experiences

How to display websites



I built some quick models with tracing paper (left) and acetate (right). With both I wanted to create a feeling of AR with their 3D structures and translucency.

Since the separate objects on the website could be easily differentiated by 3D effect, one could also easily pick out the specific features they prefer and discard the rest of the website.

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For a more refined look I used laser cut acrylic that I stacked to create the 3D effect.



Future Experiences

I also wanted to explore what the end product of the trend researcher might be,

”Makes sense.”

TESTING THE CONCEPT Does it make sense to other people

”It’s kind of satisfying to organise these.”

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”I’ve moved the screens into different groups with similar qualities.”



Future Experiences

To get an image of how the concept might work in reality, I tested one of my sketch models. This model consists movable ’screens’ with layered pictures of websites, to mock up the effect of rejecting a design and being given another example. The test subjects felt like the idea was quite straight forward and easy to use.

SPOTTER THE AI ASSISTANT Helping hand for freelance web design trend researchers

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Once Spotter is purchased, the user can connect it to their laptop.



Future Experiences

Spotter is a voice controlled AI assistant with supporting software, that helps one find the most useful trends on their data set. It is aimed especially at freelance trend researcher, who concentrate on web design trends.

Hello Glen! We are redesigning our website, can you do some research for us?

Hey Spotter! Can you search finance related sites for me

I’ve selected the ones you might find most useful, based on your previous preferences


Glen is a professional trend researched for the web. His client Nonzo the fin-tech start up is requesting for some fresh trends.

Glen opens open Spotter and gives it search parameters. He knows Nonzo’s target market is mainly millenials, so he asks Spotter to also look for websites popular among them.

After some time Spotter has searched for example websites and notifies Glen to have a look at them. These illustrations look great!

By using his favourite AR glasses, Glen can view the sites in 3D. It reveals the separate objects that are included in the code.

He can select specific items within the website and delete the parts he doesn’t like.

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Glen goes through the examples to see which ones are the right ones. He can get rid of a website by swiping it away, Spotter then offers another website.



Future Experiences

Let’s get rid of a couple of these

Device mock ups 12% I think we’ve got it, run the analysis Spotter!

Minimalistic illustrations 8% Cool greys 7%

Hello Nonzo! I’ve got just the trends you need for your new website.

Okay Glen! I’ve collated the top trends and sent them to you laptop

I think we’ve got it! Run the analysis please.

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Now Glen can collate his discovered trends into compelling selection of fresh trends and send it to his client.

Future Experiences

Spotter collates the trends into easily readable format. Glen can also view the sources of each trend Spotter has found.


When ever Glen is satisfied with the set of websites he wants to find trends within, he gets Spotter to run the analysis to find similar qualities within the data set.

The websites on the screen can also be viewed in AR, which reveals the structure of the code.

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The Spotter service consist of three parts; Spotter the voice controlled AI assistant, the screen moodboard and the software. The AI assistant is meant to be a kind of a coworker for the human, guiding them through the use of the service. The screen shows the data sets of websites in a comfortable size, that is easier to organise at the same time. The software is meant to make organising the data collected easier. It also has a communal aspect, as the users can share their work with others and compare their results.



Future Experiences


Give me something to look for

Hello Glen! 83 bn sites searched

My projects

Network Give me something to look for


Popular trends right now Vector screens Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea. View

Fonzo - Finance




Ages 25 to 40

Rory Filtered photography


Trend #1


Updated in the past 3 months

Ages 20 to 35

Similarities found in


The software interface View sources

Through the software users can share their discovered trends and find out about others work. It is also a database of the users own work, and a tool to organise it.

Trend #2

Similarities found in

View sources

Future Experiences

Trend #3



Similarities found in

View sources

Trend #5


Similarities found in

View sources

Trend #4



Similarities found in


The user can choose to either verbally explain the search parameters to Spotter or type them down.






When the AI has ran it’s analysis on the chosen set of websites, it returns with detected trends.

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Trends found: 12




Zlack - Management

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit, sed diam nonummy nibh euismod tincidunt ut laoreet dolore magna aliquam erat volutpat. Ut wisi enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exerci tation ullamcorper suscipit lobortis nisl ut aliquip ex ea.

Updated in the past 3 months

Trend #1

Ages 20 to 35

Similarities found in

Updated 3 weeks ago Updated 3 months ago Finance


Updated 3 months ago

Updated 2 weeks ago


Updated 3 weeks ago

Finance Updated 3 months ago Finance

Ages 20-25 Updated 2 months ago Ages 20-35 Updated 2 months ago Ages Finance

Hide sources

Trend #2


Future Experiences

The user can also view the sources that the trends consist of.



Similarities found in



How it learns from the user Spotter would over time learn the preferences of the user and pick out the most relevant content for them. This might raise the questions of bias, but mainly saves the human from picking out the obvious rejects. The example above shows two car related websites that would be useful for two very different people.

Ling’ and zipcar. are both relatively recent, but very different visually.

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Trends found: 12


The challenge of this project seemed all through out it to be the abstraction and speculation of designing for the future. This was of course understandable, the only way you can create concepts for the future is to just guess it might work. Research is of course an important part of the process of speculating what’s to come. As a group, I think we worked well together when it came to doing research. Unfortunately the first week of the project, the week we were required to do desk research, had half our group away ill. This was obviously not very helpful, also including the fact that we then also ended up changing the

Moving on to the individual part of the project was somewhat challenging. I felt that the constrained initial desk research we had done, was making the task of creating initial concepts more challenging. However, through further research and another workshop with Santini Basra the project seemed to start coming together. Again, exploring the initial concept was somewhat challenging, as conventional developmental work was maybe not exactly applicable. As we were required to design for future and also based on our previously realised future world, I found it tricky to for example test concepts, find the right people to speak to and create sketch models. I wanted to work with screens and user interface design for them,

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Future Experiences

Abstract thoughts to abstract concepts

so making tangible models was tricky. For this I noticed even trying to sketch the ideas seemed to be helpful. Retrospectively it can be said to be a great, but demanding project. It was also quite exciting to create your own future and manipulate it to the way you might want it to go. I personally enjoy the fact that I got to do a project relating to web design. As it’ll likely be an increasingly growing area of design, with augmented reality and virtual reality becoming more and more accessible and common place.



topic of our future research from garments to creative industries. However, after the initial difficulties we managed to get back on track developing our future world of the changing creative industries. The following developmental work, especially during the workshops with Santini Basra and Brian Proudfoot, came together quite naturally. We managed to also carry our ideas forward with the group work presentation, visualising our ideas of the changing future of the creative industries.


Trend research examples Screenshots of old Apple wesites Hyper reality Crazy Cool Websites Awwwards Inspect 3D view

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Zip Car



Future Experiences

Ling’s cars

Future Experiences

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Project Process Journal: Spotter  

A university project speculating the future of Creative Industries and possible new profession within it.

Project Process Journal: Spotter  

A university project speculating the future of Creative Industries and possible new profession within it.