Julian Thomson: My 2013 Prediction, The Rise Of Luxury Design Culture

Julian Thomson: My 2013 Prediction, The Rise Of Luxury Design Culture

PSFK asks the Design Director at Jaguar what he thinks will dominate in 2013.

Julian Thomson
  • 26 december 2012

It used to be so easy to design a successful global luxury product. You’d look at your brand, study its history, future its values, built it next door then sent it on a slow boat to China where it would pop up at 3 times the price in a department store in Shanghai.

It would then fly off the shelves as an adorning local public bought a little piece of Harrods or Silicon Valley.

Modern product design has up to now been principally Eurocentric. You only have to visit the Milan Furniture fair to see that Europe designs the best, most desirable stuff available. It’s obvious isn’t it, or is it? The product design status quo is now changing. This somewhat imperialist tone that the West knows best is about to shift. We can no longer rather arrogantly design and sell products imposing our regimented styles and values to a new global market.

The tide is starting to turn and a global consumer’s view of what represents good design is changing. The biggest opportunity and thirst for new product is no longer just confined to the West and the appetite for luxury product is strongest no longer in New York but in Shanghai. Inevitably good luxury product will lead and heavily influence volume product, so what the growing ranks of the new global elite and China’s young emperors and empresses buy will have a significant impact on the design of all future products.

So, what do these new customers want to express their aspirations, lifestyle and taste?

It still starts in Europe, but as the West continues to crack by a self-imposed destruction of its financial markets, and as China, Brazil, India and other emerging markets continue to thrive, what represents success and an enviable lifestyle starts to also change.

In these new territories, the whole narrative of a good life is different. These new customers aren’t interested in weekends in the Hamptons, skiing in Gstaad, or a country home in Surrey.

The whole notion of what represents a well-designed product and how it fits into your life can be very different to this newly affluent audience. Initially these customers buy Louis Vuitton by the bucket load but as this becomes common place they start to look at wiser, more intellectual choices to demonstrate their knowledge and taste.

It then becomes about opinion, appreciation of craftsmanship and an intimate knowledge of heritage and design. There is also a pride in home grown talent and artistry in new products that has never been seen before, supported by proud heritage and optimism. The adoption of new technology is natural and expected, and will eclipse the western world much sooner than we expect.

What does this mean to my brand, Jaguar?

We are already very successful in these new global markets but fully appreciate the need for some very different thinking as we go forward. In 2013 we will continue to study these markets to gain a valuable insight into what makes our future customers tick. We’ll talk to car people but more significantly we’ll talk to Architects, Fashion Designers, and Artists to predict how people’s attitudes are different and changing.

We are seeing some key themes developing around innovation, product integration, craftsmanship, and personalisation but what is key, is that a well-designed product is no longer enough on its own, and that the whole product experience is what counts.

The Luxury experience, not the sole product is the new status.

Julian Thomson

Read more 2013 Predictions here.


Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Media & Publishing Today

CNN Launched An Entire Drone Division Of Their News Network

CNN AIR incorporates aerial footage into the corporation's ongoing news coverage

Advertising Today

Uber’s Breathalyzer Cards Let You Know If You Are Sober Enough To Drive

A new campaign from the ride-sharing service raises awareness about the importance of a safe trip home


Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Design Today

Milk Proteins Could Be The Packaging Material Of The Future

A newly discovered casein-based alternative is biodegradable, sustainable and even edible

Technology Today

Intel’s New System Will Help Technology See And Understand The World

Joule is a tiny board for developers designed to bring powerful computer vision to cheap and easy-to-make prototypes

Design Today

This LA Hotel Is Designed Specifically For Cocktail Drinkers

The Walker Inn is a new Los Angeles "Bed and Beverage" experience that offers guests an intimate setting for their night cap

Education Today

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

Advertising Today

Interactive Art Exhibition For Dogs Provides Endless Fun

Installations created by artist Dominic Wilcox are based on activities loved by canines, such as fetching tennis balls and splashing in water


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs Today

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Beauty Today

Design Your Own Custom Watch Faces

Customize your wrist device with Garmin's new app that lets you display personalized images or patterns

Syndicated Today

How The Olympics Taught Us Lessons In Cloud Analytics

Dan Vesset, group VP for analytics and information management at IDC, tells how cloud-based business analytics support decision-making

Arts & Culture Today

Artist Shuts Down Sexist Comments By Turning Them Into Images

Rora Blue explores social stigma in a photo series titled 'Handle With Care'

Arts & Culture Today

Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Kanebo's latest addition to the Evita line includes an application that dispenses cleanser in the shape of a flower

Mobile Today

Twitter Bot Will Warn You If You Are A Troll

An online tool developed out of Intel's Hack Harassment movement helps filter out or notify cyber bullies


Innovation Debrief: Boston
Business Concepts Born In 'The Hub'

Retail Today

Passengers Can Now Earn Airline Miles For Sharing Their Location Data

The Frequent Flyer app measures background data and gives travelers points that can be exchanged for tickets with participating airlines

Advertising Today

The NBA Is Releasing Two Original Shows To Stream On Twitter

The sports league announced a deal that demonstrates an interesting expansion of its content strategy

Automotive Today

Cadillac Concept Shows A Future Design Direction

The flagship sedan reveals the brand is continuing to hone and refine its luxury aesthetic

No search results found.