adobe2019 promises to deliver incredible new developments in the way designers approach customer experience. Improvements in personalization and artificial intelligence (AI) are enabling independent designers and marketing professionals alike to create experiences that truly delight their customers.

With the rest of 2019 a blank canvas before us, there’s no better time to look back on the trends that shaped the Southeast Asian (SEA) creative industry in 2018 and consider the trends that will drive creativity and innovation in 2019.


Designers have a content velocity challenge. There is an ever-growing demand on creative teams to produce high-quality content and digital assets. That demand for creative quality is in turn being driven by a demand for more of it – more quality content to support personalized marketing and customer experience. Companies are realizing that personalization is driving audience decisions.

The potential for companies to deliver one-to-one marketing – at scale – is huge and growing. More sophisticated marketing and data platforms are facilitating this potential. And as user expectations of personalized content rise, creative and design teams must adapt traditional ways of working so they can produce a greatly increased level of output – increase their content velocity.

The key to content velocity in 2019 is focusing on designing systems that can scale production rather than individual assets.

With more pressure on teams to deliver, the Adobe and e-Consultancy 2018 report, Digital Trends for Creative and Design Leaders, shows that companies must ensure that they have the right processes and workflows in place to operate as efficiently as possible.

Data and AI

Design is not Production. Design is no longer just about how something looks. It now also describes how something works. This is a fundamental concept designers and business leaders need to take with them into 2019, as it is the key to content velocity, the deliverer of personalization and will allow designers to utilize their full potential.

Design tools will change in 2019 and beyond. Designers must not cleave to a tool. They can no longer define their value around the tool they have mastered. Instead, designers must re-position their value as the outcome of their design. AI and its impact on all design is a growing trend worldwide. AI has the capability to free designers to produce more effectively and efficiently, and at the same time dramatically improving the delivery of digital experiences.

AI can handle the most tedious and repetitive tasks, affording creators the time and space to focus on what they are inherently good at, and should be valued for: creative thinking! AI does not replace creative thinking. But it can replace the tedious production process.

AI is revolutionizing the ability to deliver one-to-one marketing in real time. Using AI’s ability to produce content at scale, it can also make that content experience as relevant as possible through machine learning analysis of data. AI can now do in a split-second what previously took hours or a lifetime to achieve.

Designing for voice

Of the major technological shifts that designers are being told to prepare for, voice assistants will become the major model for technology interacting. Voice is not imminent, it is already here. Its rapid growth is inevitable. The growing breadth of voice-connected devices entering the market, such as Amazon numerous Alexa connected home products Google’s Home Hub’s Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri require well designed voice interfaces.

Smart speaker growth is on the rise and voice assistants are becoming a natural way for the new generation of users to interact with technology (in the same way today we take touch interfaces for granted). Consumers are more frequently using their voice to engage with devices. Smart speakers from Amazon, Google and others can take much of the credit for driving these new experiences in both digital and real life. We are at the very beginning of a new interface. The tools for designing applications on these platforms are still primitive, but they are rapidly evolving and gaining in sophistication.

It’s an exciting time for designers. Voice as a medium is still so young and while there are challenges to be resolved, it is designers who will design the solutions.

Design bringing businesses a competitive edge

Overwhelmingly, the trend today is for companies to focus on differentiating their design implementations – from new service-design to expanding product-design.

According to McKinsey’s The Business Value of Design, design-led companies are increasing revenues and shareholder returns at nearly twice the rate of their industry counterparts.

The eagerness to harness these skills reflects the growing strategic importance of the front-end experience. Companies offering anything less than first-class customer experience are struggling with digital disruption and lower consumer tolerance for poorly designed products, services and experiences.

Adobe’s own research showed that respondents found that design-driven companies were 69% more likely than their peers to have surpassed their business goals last year by a significant margin.

Design matters to the bottom line, so it’s time that we start taking that to heart and bringing it into the rest of the business.

By Michael Stoddart, Director, Enterprise Solutions, Adobe Asia Pacific
Michael Stoddart leads a Market Development & Evangelism team for Adobe in Asia Pacific, supporting Adobe's customers as they undertake digital creativity and content transformation. Michael's longevity, industry knowledge and strategic vision have built significant awareness in creative communities. Michael was trained as a designer and has worked across traditional and digital creative practices.