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How should designers address the cost of living crisis?

With a potential global recession on the horizon, brands are facing complex decisions, which will offer both challenges and opportunities for designers, says Design Bridge’s Tom Gilbert

A combination of a lack of sustainable solutions, supply chain disruption, an increased cost of goods, inflation, and subsequent consumer price sensitivity are some of the issues facing brand teams today.

How they rise to face these challenges, and the subsequent consumer response to their decisions will likely see some interesting new trends emerge in the design industry. While these are undoubtedly difficult times, there will be opportunities for positive change alongside the challenges. So how might the creative industry respond? Here are three potential scenarios to consider:

AN EMPHASIS ON PREMIUM

It seems strange to talk about ‘premiumisation’ in a period of financial uncertainty, but consider this. Where possible, companies will try to keep their price the same, margin flat, and find agile ways of reducing the cost of goods through the overall value chain.

This seems like a reasonable short-term fix, but is perhaps unsustainable in the long term, if we have a prolonged global recession and exacerbated supply chain issues. So might we inevitably reach a point when prices must go up? At this point the design challenge will be about how to improve the value perception of a product in order to justify this price increase.

DESIGNER

LONDON