2015's four key consumer trends

D&AD and Future Lab explain what the polarity paradox is so you can smash your next design brief.

Each year D&AD documents and rewards the finest work by creatives across a range of disciplines through the D&AD Awards, and the D&AD New Blood Awards. By doing so, D&AD is uniquely positioned to track new things happening across the creative industries.

With the New Blood Awards 2015 now launched (download this year's brief packs here), Computer Arts magazine invited D&AD and The Future Laboratory to provide some insight into the key consumer trends that are shaping society.

From the ever-expanding role of technology, to our changing sense of identity and on to our desire to explore the more extreme ends of the spectrum, understanding these trends could help you think about the next brief you tackle.

These trends have also helped inform the briefs D&AD has developed for this year's New Blood competition. Whether you're a copywriter or photographer, a digital specialist, product designer or something in-between – there's a brief for you. This year's brands include Airbnb, BBC, Facebook, John Lewis, Vice and the WWF.

01. Awakening tech

Edenspiekermann's LED solution for ProRail and NS won a Black Pencil at the 2014 D&AD Awards

Our digital and offline worlds are converging. We have become bedfellows with robots, we take advice from gadgets and we ask life's questions from mega-systems.

But how can we embrace technology without losing our own humanity in the process? Perhaps the answer lies with designers who'll discover how to use technology in ways that inspire and engage people, and really makes a difference to them as they go about their day.

Case study: Edenspiekermann for ProRail and NS

To help NS and ProRail in The Netherlands improve the transfer process on station platforms, Edenspiekermann positioned LED strips above each platform showing travellers everything they need to know.

02. Sharded self

Social media is changing how we interact, make decisions and form opinions. As we pin, post and preen our way to an ideal online identity, these personality fragments are forming the components of a new 'sharded self' – it appears as if we can inhabit as many lives as we like.

Case study: Leo Burnett for Norton

Only one in three smartphone users install security software to protect their devices. Leo Burnett's Enjoy Your Privacy campaign challenges security apathy by dramatising the risks of leaving information and WiFi connections unprotected.

03. Polarity paradox

Moderation is no longer the modus operandi. In busy, networked and choice-rich lives, people are finding a new model for self-restraint by abandoning the middle ground and living in temporary extremes.

Abstinence and indulgence, shopping and saving, fasting and gorging are the new lifestyle patterns that are enabling consumers to have it all and have nothing.

Case study: Publicis Italy for Heineken

Heineken was recruiting one talented intern to become part of its Event & Sponsorship department. The Candidate by Publicis Italy presented a secretly filmed job interview that involved an over-familiar interviewer, a surprise heart attack and a fire drill. The winner was awarded the job in front of 41,000 people.

04. Super synaesthesia

Our senses are being stimulated wherever we go. Look at retail spaces, products, hospitality and entertainment and you'll notice one theme: it's hard to distinguish one item from the next, or set them within clear parameters.

The lines between lifestyle industries, forms of art and entertainment, and between our own senses are increasingly blurred. Welcome to the convergence economy, where your brand can be anything and walls are for tearing down.

Case study: Dentsu Tokyo for Honda

To promote Honda's in-car navigation system Internavi, Dentsu Tokyo re-enacted the world's fastest lap set by Ayrton Senna in the qualifying for the 1989 Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix. The production earned a Black Pencil at the 2014 D&AD Awards.

Enter the D&AD New Blood Awards

The D&AD New Blood Awards are open to aspiring creatives under the age of 24 and recent graduates. If your course finished on or after 1 January 2013, then you're eligible to enter.

To find out more, visit the D&AD website where you'll find the full rules and a series of briefs to choose from. Then simply decide whether you'll go it alone or assemble a crack team, and go ahead and make your mark. The deadline is 5pm GMT on 31 March 2015. Best of luck!

Get 25% off Computer Arts magazine

Want to know more about 2015's hottest design trends? You'll find the full article inside Computer Arts 237: Pick The Perfect Typeface, on sale now.

And if you're quick you can save 25% – simply add two issues to your basket and the discount will be automatically applied. Offer ends 11th February at 10am (GMT).