The industry as seen by top designers.
WELCOME TO OUR WORLD
Two busy designers reporting on trends.
By Lynda Musante & Tracia Williams (June, 2003)
We were asked by Mike to develop a column for CLN to
address trends, products, and design in the creative industries from
a design/product development perspective. As a result, the
"Designing Perspectives" column will become a regular CLN
First, a little background: We are both self-employed, working in
product and design development in the craft and creative industries
for more than a combined 30 years. Our customers range -- and have
ranged -- from small entrepreneurial start-ups to established
mid-sized manufacturers, to large, well-known consumer package
We've both owned retail stores: one a gift/floral shop and the other
a 14,000 sq. ft. general craft store. We've written books and
magazine columns; produced and been a guest on numerous television
segments; we own patents; we develop trade show displays; and
between the two of us we have 2,000+ projects published in the
Currently, we develop product lines; source products; consult for
manufacturers; coordinate marketing efforts; provide sales support;
create educational programs to support products; design and write
projects for magazine articles, books, websites, retail chains, and
television; and network with other design professionals in a variety
We are currently serving in leadership roles within the Association
of Crafts & Creative Industries and the Society of Craft
Designers. Both of us have been president of the SCD board of
directors and co-chaired the 2001 annual Education Seminar.
Tracia is currently chair of the ACCI Show Committee and Lynda is
serving as President of the ACCI Board of Directors. We enjoy our
service to the industry and have served on a wide variety of
We both have blended families, with children and stepchildren
ranging in age from 4 to 38. They are in pre-school, elementary
school, middle school, high school, and college. Plus, there's a
college graduate and one who is married with his own children; in
fact, one of us was a grandmother at 32!
We work from home and with our husbands. We cheer at girls' softball
games, serve as PTA room parents, sing in the church choir, and
volunteer in our communities. Both of us enjoy working in beads, on
our altered book projects, and mixed-media collage.
OK, so we are a little bit busy, and a bit tired at times, but can
we help it if we were born crafters at heart?
Looking at Trends.
We love what we do, and most everything we do professionally and
personally ends up becoming research on trends for our businesses.
For example, the following are some of the areas we regularly
Trends in the creative industries: trade shows, retail displays, and
magazine editor requests for projects.
Products promoted by big-box retailers (craft and otherwise) and
marketing campaigns at the store level.
Products introduced at industry shows; the hits and misses.
Magazines and catalogs: trade and consumer craft, fashion, and
decorating. Between us we regularly review more than 100
publications a month.
Products and goods displayed in other markets (stationery, gift,
hardware, consumer goods).
Broadcast: The appearance of the sets and clothing on the shows we
watch, as well as the shows our kids watch.
Watching the teen markets: we're in the schools and at the malls
seeing what our kids and their friends want/buy/discard, etc.
Plus, networking with other designers and the industry's media. We
are both in the process of writing 100+ page craft/artisan books on
"trendy" topics for two different major publishers.
Trends Catching Our Eye.
In the home dec and fashion markets we've seen a huge increase in
stripes! You'll see wide, thin, sometimes a mix of wide and thin,
often multi-colored, and often monochromatic stripes. Ralph Lauren
is currently featuring a classic traditional stripe on fabric in his
home and fashion lines, while a younger, trendy stripe look like the
Swell line that was created exclusively for Target by fashion
designer Cynthia Rowley and New York Times style editor,
Ilene Rosenzweig. Their imaginative look into decorating is filled
with creative ideas that are easy to achieve. There is none of that
society snob attitude in their books: Home Swell Home and Swell:
a Girl's Guide to the Good Life.
Look out Martha! These chicks make things seem obtainable! They give
great advice for shoestring budgets and tight schedules and have
streamlined decorating to be a one-stop-n-shop at Target. Their look
seems to be especially appealing to the 20's -30's age demographic.
The look includes fun pinks, oranges, turquoise, and other colors
that remind us of the funky 70's colors we saw as mere babies (ha,
ha -- we wish!)
This is only the beginning of the stripe trend, since we also saw it
heavily featured on holiday merchandise, in home dec and fashion for
this summer and fall. The red & white "candy cane"
look is going to be VERY hot for the upcoming holiday.
If you have thoughts regarding the stripe trend, send them our way,
we would like to hear them.
Noteworthy News. The Society of Craft Designers has released
its first trend report. This report is a result of the efforts of
the SCD Design Committee, a newly formed group that will quarterly
release trend information on the ACCI & SCD websites: www.craftdesigners.org/ET-Apr03Report.pdf
Future CLN Columns.
Our goal is to bring information to CLN readers about
important and developing trends that impact the creative industry's
consumer, and in turn affect our retailers and manufacturers.
We would also like to bring an awareness to our industry of the
VALUE of design; we believe it can make or break a good product and
without good design, there are no good products. These observations
will be supported with details and the background on which they are
We will also share information about design events in our industry.
If you have information/comments/questions, please contact us. We
would enjoy hearing from you!
Lynda Musante, Nifty Development Corp., Richmond, VA: Lsmusante@aol.com
Tracia Williams, Tracia & Company Inc., Orlando, FL: Traciaw@earthlink.net