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Creative Leisure News
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The industry as seen by top designers.

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10 Tips for Spotting a Trend

It's not tricky, but it requires work.

by Marie Browning (February 7, 2005)

(Note: Marie is a member of the new consulting group, CREATIVE SPIRIT CAF. To learn more about the group, visit www.creativespiritcafe.com and read the article in the current issue of CLN. To learn more about Marie, visit www.mariebrowning.com.

While nobody can predict the future, you can get a glimpse of upcoming trends. Having a sense of what is on the way is a way to take advantage of change and convert risks into opportunities. The ability to spot trends before others is vital if you want to think faster and thus be ahead of your competition.

1. Know what a trend is. A trend is a socio-cultural shift that influences consumer behavior. Consciously or not, we are all influenced by these changes.

2. Know the difference between a "fad" and a "trend." A Fad is short lived, lasting only one season to one year. A Trend is happening right now and lasts about four years. (Trends cycle their length has dropped from seven to five years in 1986. The time between the emergence and decline of a trend is now about four years. By 2006, trend forecasters are predicting the life of a trend will be about three years.) A Classic is a longer-lived trend, lasting 10 to 15 years. A Tradition is endless. For example, taking and collecting photographs is a tradition; a specific theme such as scrapbooking is now a classic. The art of scrapbooking with different papers is a trend; a fad could be the popular use of eyelets in scrapbooking for a season.

3, Open your eyes. To recognize new trends we need to open our eyes, our ears, and our minds and notice everything. Valuable trend information is everywhere. When we start to see connections and lifestyles that support these things, we start to see the emergence of a trend.

4. Understand the drivers of change. Look at other industries that influence our industry. One of the most influential industries would be home dec. Often crafters make things for their homes or gifts. The factors that translate well are color, motifs, and new products. What are the colors showing up at the paint stores? What motifs on the new lines of wallpaper? What new materials and techniques that can be used on a smaller scale in crafting? Fashion influences knitting, crochet, quilting and home sewing. High-end fashion runway shows are a good start for many of these trends. One of the newest trends in fashion: the crafted, homemade look!

5. Look at lifestyle trends. What popular trends are influencing our lifestyle? Example: TV shows Trading Spaces; it's hip to make stuff. Cooking shows back to basics; simple ingredients prepared with fun. What lifestyles are influencing our trends? Example: The outdoors hiking, biking, walking in the woods quality family time. What is everyone talking about? Example: Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings reflecting our need to believe in magic, fantasy, and good against evil.

6. Attend industry trade shows. Whats the buzz, what is everyone talking about, where are the crowds, what classes are full, and what is making you the most excited? What are you seeing at the show that you have been seeing in magazines, newspapers, on TV, and in the stores what are the repeating trends?

7. Look at regional trends. Read the newspapers and the local magazines; open your eyes and look for repeating motifs, colors and techniques in everything.

8. Read non-industry magazines to spot looming trends. Stories in weekly newsmagazines are always reporting on new lifestyle trends. (Did you see the article on handmade books and altered books in Time magazine recently? The crafting industry is also becoming a trend leader!)

9. Research industry and non/industry publications for clues on upcoming trends. Some suggested reading:

Creative Leisure News, www.clnonline.com ... Craftrends, www.craftrends.com ...The Trends Research Institute, www.trendsresearch.com ... CNA, www.cnamag.com ... Craft & Hobby Association, www.craftandhobby.org ... Color trends, www.colormarketing.org.

10. Dont jump to conclusions. Many companies jump to conclusions about how far a trend will go. The common practice [mistake] is to assume that the future will be a replay of the present and a trend will be hot forever.

(Note: To contact the CREATIVE SPIRIT CAF, call Karen Booy at 604-820-8424 or email karen@creativespiritcafe.com. To read previous Designing Perspectives columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)

xxx

 

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