Design and the Fourth Industrial Revolution
Cat: Design
Date: 16/07/2019
Writer: Danie
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is latest era, characterised by a range of new technologies that blur the line between physical and digital systems. It is the fourth major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution in the 1700s.

Design has a major role to play in the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Although art and design don’t immediately spring to mind at the mention of science and technology, these mediums can find themselves at the core of the latest revolution. Here are four ways that design will help to shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution:

1. Reducing the skills gap

Art and design are key pillars of any educational curriculum. In the technology-driven world of today, design and art play an important role in the development of skills in schoolchildren. Research has shown that education in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) is simply not enough to reduce skills gaps in society.

Emotional education is just as important as STEM and that is best taught through the arts. Education needs to focus on the interdisciplinary, cross-functional and cross-cultural abilities of students. Art can transcend these barriers and lines, making it a valuable educational tool for the development of society

Creativity and imagination also allow people to devise the newest technologies. Without imagination, there would be no advancement. Design is integral to the successful planning and manufacture of new technologies. If more people learn the fundamentals of design and creativity, the skills gap that exists in modern society could be reduced.

Design education will ensure that more people have the ability to create and improve society. It will ensure that new technology is always human-centred and useful to an increasingly diverse population. Arts and humanities need to be at the centre of technological advancements to ensure that they are helpful to humanity.

2. Trust in technology

Design and art are necessary tools for building an emotional framework to make sense of new technologies. Design builds trust in technology. If a device has been designed with the user at the forefront, it will be intuitive and reliable.

Society will trust new technologies more if people can immediately see how it will benefit them. If the technology has been designed to make life easier or to perform a complex task, humans will be more likely to trust it. Design allows people to engage with the technology more easily, making adaptation more effortless.

3. Integrating design into prototyping

Design allows us to overcome the current shortfalls of technology and to dive deep into the “what if” scenario. Putting design and art at the heart of technology development will improve these systems for future generations. Prototypes can be tested and refined if design is brought to the forefront of the process.

Design knowledge will also allow technology creators to critique their work before putting it into full-scale production. They will be able to critically assess the usability and functionality of their creations before selling it to the public. Prototyping is an important feature of refining ideas and perfecting products, so design needs to be a core pillar.

4. Design shaping the future of healthcare

The Fourth Industrial Revolution goes hand-in-hand with improving healthcare. One of the key research developments is to make healthcare more patient-centric, affordable and accessible. Design has a role to play in this endeavour.

When medicinal breakthroughs happen, they become a testimony to the advancement of technology and society. The future of healthcare lies in precision medicine and individualised treatments. These processes will require the design of medical equipment to be adjustable and programmable.

Design and art can lead the way to the future and act as catalysts for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The arts will be fundamental in a world dominated by science and technology. They will allow humans to be empathetic, emotional and thoughtful; emotions are important to developing useful technology that serves humanity better.

View Related Projects Below//

Flame Design is multifaceted design studio based in Cape Town, South Africa. We specialise in a variety of services, including production, design, photography, publishing, digital media and art.

CONTACT INFO: Phone:+27 (0)21 462 3660, Email:,

FOLLOW US: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, LINKEDIN and YOUTUBE for more information on our offerings and the latest industry news.