The 7 most overhyped trends of 2022

After 20 years, the Y2K period is again. COVID-aside, we’ve watched as techno-optimism, starting from the Metaverse to NFTs, has been off the charts. Numerous millionaires have been minted in a single day in cryptocurrency and algorithmically generated artwork.

However we’re right here to splash a bit of chilly water on the hype cycle going into 2022, with matters starting from the blockchain to the hybrid office to “sustainable” DTC firms. And we enlisted a staff of considerate designers to query the established order of the modern hype cycle.

An overhyped pattern will be one thing so candy that it leaves a bitter style in your mouth, or so within the highlight that it leaves extra necessary matters within the shadows. “Overhype” may imply one thing that’s worthwhile, positive. But it surely nonetheless falls quick of its sanctimonious positioning or precise skill to impression and enhance our world.

With out additional ado, listed below are the most overhyped trends of 2022.


The Metaverse

We, like so many others, have been pursuing ideas across the Metaverse for years. Whereas AR and VR have lengthy been assumed by the business to be the pure follow-up to the cell phone, there’s an ominous conceitedness to the concept one firm can swoop in and anoint themselves “the Metaverse.” Will we not keep in mind AOL? No single occasion, nor anybody platform, will symbolize what the web has to supply. Nor will anybody modality or interface come to dominate our expertise.

[Illustration: Fast Company]

The Fb model of Metaverse hype is predicated on a self-serving premise that individuals will select to, and even have the choice to, escape the “actual world” in an effort to work together in an artificial one (and sponsored by . . . ). This ignores the place issues are already headed. What computing has already completed for us is add to our present surroundings.

In most conditions, we don’t wish to go into our computer systems, however slightly, we would like computer systems to work in our world, the place life occurs: on the dinner desk, on the practice, hanging out with buddies, and many others. Apart from the continued hype round augmented actuality, the cell phone has had the sensible impact of bringing all of what computing provides into our literal arms. Wearable cellular computing, and maybe at some point, blended actuality will permit us that worth, heads up and hands-free. And, like its predecessors, it should profoundly change how individuals behave. Regardless of the interface, the long run of computing will not be escape. It’s about us, and the amplifying pressure it has on our personal talents, on the earth we already reside in.

Mark Rolston, founder and chief artistic, and Jared Ficklin, chief artistic technologist, argodesign

Catering to Gen Z and Millennials

The mushy, pleasant design aesthetics focused to millennials have been simply begging to be disrupted for a while. That they had a very good run: Assume giant, flat planes of “millennial pink” and different impartial and pastel shades, Instagram-friendly pictures, illustrations with quirky characters, and fonts which have a distinctly retro really feel. Most DTC manufacturers that pop up on our Fb feeds make use of many of these strategies, and mainstream manufacturers have began to shift on this path to assist convey an authenticity that’s essential with this viewers. However, as they are saying, all issues should go. So, cue up Gen Z design, proper? Not so quick.

[Source Image: SurfUpVector/iStock/Getty Images Plus]

Design trends geared toward Gen Z shall be in full impact in 2022, characterised by a bolder (howdy, neon), extra experimental, and empowering feel and appear. Advertising consensus claims that Gen Z has a shorter consideration span than Millennials—8 seconds versus 12, according to some!—and so they’re the primary era to have spent their complete lives on-line. They’re in search of fluidity throughout gender and different norms, for personalization in branding, and for easy-to-use, digestible on-line experiences that earn their loyalty.


See the issue? A era that doesn’t wish to be pinned down, doesn’t wish to be pinned down. The individuality this self-reliant era calls for requires a complete new degree of flexibility. They’re a transferring goal, and most manufacturers will inevitably fall a number of steps behind. As all the time, it’s higher for manufacturers to simply be themselves, to let their very own freak flags fly.

Kevin Grady, senior accomplice of design, Lippincott


You might not know the title Mike Winkelmann, however you’ve doubtless heard of Beeple—his digital artist pseudonym. Again in March, an NFT of his art work offered for $69 million—thrusting Beeple and Non-Fungible Tokens into the cultural zeitgeist whereas spawning a rap-style explainer video on SNL. Since then, NFTs have seen explosive-trading quantity, generating over $10 billion in Q3, and hordes of brands and public figures vying for a slice of the early adopter hype. However chopping by that hype, Forrester found in October that 45% of U.S. on-line adults have by no means heard of NFTs. And 28% indicated they nonetheless don’t perceive what NFTs are. And for many who do? Effectively, they’re principally male crypto-adept collectors. One in 5 on-line male adults within the U.S. indicated they already personal no less than one NFT versus simply 7% of U.S. on-line feminine adults.

[Source Photo: FooTToo/iStock]

The ever-growing bandwagon of branded NFT stunts rides forward of shopper demand and might also be tainting public sentiment in direction of NFTs. A mere 12% of U.S. on-line adults want to see extra manufacturers launch NFTs as giveaways, based on Forrester. One might argue that NFTs have already jumped the shark with attention-grabbing stunts from particular brands and public figures. However NFTs are solely at their experimental, nascent stage. Lengthy-term worth should eclipse short-term greed. Manufacturers that wish to transfer past superficial PR stunts within the NFT house ought to supply utility as a worth change, generate demand by shortage and entry, and cocreate as half of the open NFT group.

In the end, the testing and studying occurring right now with NFTs units up the long-term roadmap of the Metaverse, the place NFTs will maintain larger context relating to digital possession. That, nonetheless, is years away.

Mike Proulx, VP and analysis director, Forrester

The Cult of Effectivity

One of the hallmarks of our obsession with effectivity is the concept the higher we are able to get at analyzing trends and predicting the long run, the extra environment friendly—and subsequently profitable—we are going to turn into. For most of human existence, little modified. It was a lot simpler to foretell the long run as a result of it wasn’t that completely different from our previous and current. Over the previous couple of a long time, the tempo of change elevated dramatically however nonetheless adopted logical trajectories. Nonetheless, our future has by no means been so opaque, and our relentless concentrate on the facility of prediction and the cult of effectivity, in all of its kinds, has created an especially fragile system that may simply disintegrate in occasions of nice stress—like now.

[Photo: Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register/Getty Images]

We’ve seen that it solely takes a small divergence from our collective predictions to destroy the very methods that we constructed based mostly upon them. Have a look at our “environment friendly” provide chain woes as only one instance. Throughout previous recessions and crises, producers had been left with surpluses of gadgets that they merely couldn’t promote. Consequently, over the past decade, there was a concerted effort to attenuate stock stockpiling in favor of just-in-time provide networks that use predictive analytics to supply, ship, and inventory the precise quantity of product to satisfy shopper demand. This technique protects producers and retains prices low for shoppers. But it surely solely took some small sudden will increase in buy quantity, coupled with a worldwide pandemic, of course, to disrupt all the provide chain just about in a single day.

Bear in mind the shortage of rest room paper and disinfectant in early 2020? Practically two years later, we’re nonetheless making an attempt to meet up with demand, which, amongst different issues, is contributing to elevated ranges of inflation, according to the Federal Reserve, in addition to shortages of semiconductor chips, development supplies, foam, pet meals, cream cheese, and even individual Heinz Ketchup packets. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic calls it the “Everything Shortage.” So what will be completed? Sooner or later, the organizations that arrange methods to handle a number of contingencies, that prioritize agility, adaptability, and resiliency over effectivity would be the solely ones left standing.

Jason Schlossberg, a managing director, Huge

Digital Actuality

VR and AR are nonetheless struggling to seek out mass curiosity after a worldwide pandemic locked each particular person of their residence, depriving them of journey or exploration, preserving them from human contact. Individuals with the means to pay $300 for a headset had extra motivation than ever to strap a hunk of tech onto their face.


[Source Images: koya79/iStock, iStock]

And but in 2020, the Nintendo Change, a videogame platform half a decade outdated, outsold VR headsets almost 3:1. The gross sales of VR content material represented .5% of all videogame sales—lower than a rounding error.

Many months into the pandemic, my 14-year-old was lastly motivated to attempt on an Oculus headset. At first, he proclaimed it the long run and fought his sister off (not just about) to maintain from sharing. Then after an hour or so of taking part in, he virtually threw up, and went to mattress early with a migraine.

I’ve heard lots of loopy conspiracy theories on the genesis of the pandemic, so right here’s one other that’s undoubtedly fictional, but plausible-feeling: what if Mark Zuckerberg and Palmer Luckey, having tried the whole lot to advance their billions in funding, determined to lock all of humanity of their respective homes for 2 years? I’d watch that present.

VR and AR will definitely be a marginal half of our future, however please—let’s make this the final overhyped information cycle for VR know-how and content material, and admit that it’s the final huge factor that by no means was . . . not the subsequent.

Jake Barton, principal, Local Projects

DTC and “Sustainability”

The promise of “direct-to-consumer” can shortly turn into a lure. As designers within the age of local weather disaster, we’re in fixed battle. We can’t ignore that our ability set immediately interprets into extra stuff; but when the final century has taught us something, it’s that humanity’s insatiable quest for comfort threatens to unravel us.

We order bottles of natural cleaning soap, wrapped in plastic. We ship packages stuffed with air for TikTok-worthy unboxings that final seconds earlier than being tossed within the trash. We subscribe to a toothbrush promising clever top-ups, which breaks and floods our cupboard with infinite refills—their advertising and marketing telling us that we now want their ineffective chewing gum dispenser, too. Bins, wrappers, tape, labels, stickers, polystyrene, bubble wrap. Daily. To billions of doorsteps. It’s time to cease and assume earlier than getting lured by the subsequent shiny object in our cart.

[Source Images: Auris/iStock, AlessandroPhoto/iStock]

We have to educate. Life Cycle Evaluation needs to be necessary and as clear as vitamin is on meals labels. We have to cut back. We should create merchandise with much less screens, much less components, and fewer packaging that journey much less distances. They need to be fixable, and use supplies that may be reused or regenerated. We must be accountable. Merchandise shouldn’t be made to bolster manufacturers.

And, no, producing merchandise ethically will not be low-cost. The value of rising sea ranges, drought, and catastrophic climate will not be low-cost. The each day loss of habitat and species will not be low-cost. So why ought to your razor be?

Nichole Rouillac, founder and artistic director, Level

Distant/Hybrid Work

I wish to add “distant work” and “hybrid work” to my checklist of set off phrases.

It’s not that I don’t imagine within the significance and relevance of getting distant and hybrid work “proper” in a world grappling with the realities of COVID-19. It’s not that I don’t imagine that distant work and hybrid work are the long run of work. It’s that I imagine we’ve been focusing and over-indexing on the mistaken facet of the long run of work. The future of work isn’t distant or hybrid office experiences.

The future of work is trauma-informed office—and that “trauma-informed” piece is essential.

[Source Photo: Suwinai Sukanant/EyeEm/Getty Images]

Trauma—any occasion or expertise that results in emotional, bodily, religious, or psychological hurt, misery, or impairment—is what’s plaguing the office, and organizations have did not adequately deal with and supply help to their workers and the organizational trauma that ensues in significant methods. A trauma-informed office seeks to attenuate and restrict the hurt of trauma at an organizational degree.

Because the world continues to reel from the havoc and devastation of COVID-19, and as worker resignation rates climb to an all-time excessive, organizations are falling quick as they implement initiatives and techniques round worker well-being, prioritizing pace over what their workers really need. We noticed firms publicly applaud themselves for giving workers per week off to take care of burnout, regardless of proof and analysis that implies per week off was basically ineffective. In a 2018 American Psychological Association survey, greater than two-thirds of the 1,500 respondents reported how the psychological advantages of trip had disappeared inside a couple of days of returning to the workplace.

2020 made lots of individuals have a look at their present workplaces and notice they deserved one thing that’s been overdue: higher.

For distant and hybrid work to turn into higher, organizations want to grasp that trauma is not only a person challenge, it’s an organizational one.

For distant and hybrid work to turn into higher, organizations want to carry their leaders and workers accountable for the way they impression firm tradition; inclusive behaviors and self-awareness must be handled as efficiency points that impression the enterprise, not character points that ultimately find yourself being ignored.

For distant and hybrid work to turn into higher, organizations want to withstand the temptation to position the management burden on volunteer-led grassroots initiatives round well-being—[organizations need to] put money into outdoors help and experience trauma-informed and equity-centered practices.

The future of work is trauma-informed workplaces, and it’s time to offer ourselves permission to prioritize the wants of the humanity of the workforce. Right here’s to solely settling for extra.

Vivianne Castillo, founder and equitable tradition & innovation marketing consultant, HmntyCntrd