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Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


 


 

The industry as seen by top designers.

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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 feature.

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 groups.

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 media.

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 of markets.

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 committees.

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 review:

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 and www.accicrafts.org.

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 based.

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

 

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