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The 7 most overhyped trends of 2022

After 20 years, the Y2K era is back. COVID-aside, we’ve watched as techno-optimism, ranging from the Metaverse to NFTs, has been off the charts. Countless millionaires have been minted overnight in cryptocurrency and algorithmically generated art.

But we’re here to splash a bit of cold water on the hype cycle going into 2022, with topics ranging from the blockchain to the hybrid workplace to “sustainable” DTC companies. And we enlisted a team of thoughtful designers to question the status quo of the contemporary hype cycle.

An overhyped trend can be something so sweet that it leaves a sour taste in your mouth, or so in the spotlight that it leaves more important topics in the shadows. “Overhype” might mean something that’s profitable, sure. But it still falls short of its sanctimonious positioning or actual ability to impact and improve our world.

Without further ado, here are the most overhyped trends of 2022. The Metaverse

We, like so many others, have been pursuing concepts around the Metaverse for years. While AR and VR have long been assumed by the industry to be the natural follow-up to the mobile phone, there is an ominous arrogance to the idea that one company can swoop in and anoint themselves “the Metaverse.” Do we not remember AOL? No single party, nor any one platform, will represent what the internet has to offer. Nor will any one modality or interface come to dominate our experience. [Illustration: Fast Company] The Facebook version of Metaverse hype is based on a self-serving premise that people will choose to, or even have the option to, escape the “real world” in order to interact in a synthetic one (and sponsored by . . . ). This ignores where things are already headed. What computing has already done for us is add to our existing environment.

In most situations, we don’t want to go into our computers, but rather, we want computers to work in our world, where life happens: at the dinner table, on the train, hanging out with friends, etc. Besides the continued hype around augmented reality, the mobile phone has had the practical effect of bringing all of what computing offers into our literal hands. Wearable mobile computing, and perhaps one day, mixed reality will allow us that value, heads up and hands-free. And, like its predecessors, it will profoundly change how people behave. Whatever the interface, the future of computing is not escape. It is about us, and the amplifying force it has on our own abilities, in the world we already live in.

— Mark Rolston, founder and chief creative, and Jared Ficklin, chief creative technologist, argodesign Catering to Gen Z and Millennials

The soft, friendly design aesthetics targeted to millennials have been just begging to be disrupted for some time. They had a good run: Think large, flat planes of “millennial pink” and other neutral and pastel shades, Instagram-friendly photography, illustrations with quirky characters, and fonts that have a distinctly retro feel. Most DTC brands that pop up on our […]

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