The industry as seen by top designers.
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 CAFÉ. 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. What’s 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: