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  • Romy Kraus

"We need to take ethical design obligations seriously" - Sairah Ashman

This year drove the importance of ecommerce and digital design to the forefront like never before. Wolff Olins CEO Sairah Ashman and the chief design officer of the BBC, Ellie Runcie, discussed lessons from this new era of digital connections between brands and their customers and forecast likely trends for 2021.

Sairah is CEO of brand consultancy Wolff Olins. Working with ambitious leaders to create brands that move the world forward is a passion of hers. She speaks and writes regularly about brand, behaviour and design.

On trends

We are seeing acceleration of trends rather then new ones.

  • Accessibility. Products need to be easy accessible remotely, so the trend to go digital is clearly accelerated

  • Being Purposeful. We need to take ethical design obligations seriously.

  • Designing for diversity. And practical design from a purpose.

On working remote

We found we can work much more fluently globally. We found that as well with our clients. The agency and client side is much more integrated.


even though it comes from gaming but we will see it drift into many industries. That will reach the tipping point to become part of our lives.

On Designing with purpose.

The pandemic has forced us to understand our practice and understand the day in the life of our viewers to design more effectively.

Accessibility is most important. It’s beyond the look and feel. Introducing audiences to new content. What are people doing and how are they interacting with your service?

It’s about creating shared moments and bringing people together.

Everybody is a captive audience. Before, we were in competition with other activities. But this also focused on our responsibility to deliver on education and relevant content in a playful and fun way.

It'sa bout collaboration at scale - organizations and countries have seen they have shared problems.

To innovate means to collaborate and explore a shared problem. It is hard to truly innovate through ZOOM.

Next year we will see organizations come to term with long-lasting effects.

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