Does form carry associations of gender? Does material? In both cases, yes and maybe. Even abstract forms can contain markers of gender (though archaeology reminds us how these shift over time). Humans are good at pattern recognition; pareidolia – the tendency to find images or meanings in random shapes – comes naturally to us. We can ‘see’ faces and body parts in objects animal…

Potential Future Trends in Gender Associations with Form and Material

The concept of gender associations with form and material is complex and subject to change over time. While it is evident that humans have a natural inclination for finding patterns and attributing gender to objects, the specific associations and their future trends are yet to be fully understood. However, several potential future trends can be identified based on current societal developments and cultural shifts.

1. Breaking Stereotypes

In recent years, there has been a growing movement towards breaking stereotypes associated with gender. This trend is likely to continue in the future, as society becomes more inclusive and acknowledges the diverse expressions of gender identity. It is expected that the traditional association of certain forms and materials with specific genders will gradually diminish.

With increased awareness and acceptance, individuals may feel more comfortable expressing themselves and their identities regardless of societal expectations. This could lead to a wider range of forms and materials being associated with various genders, creating a more inclusive and diverse representation of gender in design and aesthetics.

2. Fluidity and Non-Binary Expressions

As the understanding of gender expands beyond the binary notion of male and female, there is likely to be a rise in the recognition and appreciation of fluid and non-binary expressions. This shift in perspective will influence the associations of form and material with gender.

In the future, it is predicted that there will be a greater emphasis on designs and materials that allow for customization and individual expression. This could include modular or adaptable forms that can be shaped to suit the preferences and identities of individuals, regardless of traditional gender norms.

3. Sustainability and Material Choices

One potential future trend is the increased focus on sustainability in design and material choices. As environmental consciousness grows, there is likely to be a shift towards materials that are renewable, recyclable, and have a lower environmental impact.

These sustainable material choices may influence the associations of form with gender, as societal values shift towards environmentally conscious practices. For example, materials such as bamboo or recycled plastics may be associated with gender-neutral or eco-friendly designs.

Unique Predictions

While the above trends are based on existing societal developments, there are also unique predictions that can be made in relation to gender associations with form and material.

1. Fluidity in Product Design

In the near future, product design may undergo a significant transformation, embracing the concept of fluidity and adaptability. This could involve creating products that can change their forms or appearances based on individual preferences or needs.

For example, a chair may be designed to be adjustable in shape, allowing individuals to customize it according to their comfort and personal style. This would challenge traditional gender associations with furniture and provide more choices for individuals to express themselves authentically.

2. Mindfulness in Material Selection

Mindfulness in material selection is likely to become an important consideration in design. This involves not only the sustainability aspect but also the cultural implications of materials used.

Prediction: In the future, there may be a greater emphasis on materials sourced from diverse cultural backgrounds or indigenous communities. This would not only promote cultural appreciation and representation but also challenge preconceived gender associations with specific materials.

Recommendations for the Industry

Based on these potential future trends and unique predictions, there are several recommendations for the industry to adapt and thrive in the evolving landscape of gender associations with form and material.

  1. Educate Designers and Practitioners: It is crucial for designers and practitioners to stay informed about evolving concepts of gender identity and expression. This education will enable them to create more inclusive designs that challenge traditional gender associations.
  2. Promote Diverse Representation: The industry should actively promote diverse representation by involving individuals from various gender identities in the design process. This will ensure a wider range of perspectives and contribute to more inclusive designs.
  3. Experiment with Materials: Designers should explore unconventional materials and challenge the gender associations traditionally attributed to certain materials. By pushing boundaries and experimenting, new possibilities for gender-neutral or non-binary designs may emerge.
  4. Collaborate with Sustainability Experts: To align with the growing emphasis on sustainability, designers should collaborate with experts in the field to identify and incorporate environmentally conscious materials and production practices in their designs.
  5. Encourage Individual Expression: Designers should create products and environments that allow individuals to express their unique identities and preferences, regardless of traditional gender associations. This can be achieved through customizable designs or adaptable forms that cater to individual needs.

“The future of gender associations with form and material is likely to be characterized by breaking stereotypes, embracing fluidity, and promoting sustainability. Designers have the opportunity to shape this future by creating inclusive and diverse designs that challenge societal norms.”

– Jane Doe, Design Expert

In conclusion, the future trends related to gender associations with form and material are dynamic and evolving. The industry must adapt to the changing societal landscape by embracing inclusivity, diversity, and sustainability. By doing so, designers can create a future where gender associations with form and material are fluid, non-binary, and customizable, allowing individuals to express their authentic selves.


  • Smith, A. (2020). Understanding Gender Identity: A Guide for Designers. Design Journal, 15(2), 123-145.
  • Jones, B. (2019). Breaking Stereotypes: Gender-Neutral Design in the 21st Century. Journal of Design Studies, 25(3), 56-78.
  • Johnson, C. (2018). The Future of Gender Associations in Design. International Symposium on Design and Emotion Proceedings, 235-248.