The industry as seen by top designers.
The Next Big Thing...
Trends You'll See in 2007
Browning (December 18, 2006)
(Note: Marie Browning, best-selling author of more than 24
craft books, product developer, and craft designer, now has over 1
million books in print. Twenty-one of her books are published by
Sterling Publications and three books are published by North Light
Books. Marie’s books are available worldwide with selected books
reprinted in French, German, and Chinese.)
For everyone in our industry, from manufactures to teachers,
distributors to retailers, and everyone in between, it is important
to keep up with the trends and how they effect and materialize in
our industry. Along with everyone else, I am desperately looking for
the "next big thing."
It is becoming harder and harder to find new trends. Trends used
to be well defined and easy to spot, but everything is happening so
fast and design is so eclectic, the biggest trend seems to be there
is no trend! Trends are now becoming fads with lightening-fast
technology that announces the newest colors, motifs, and techniques
through blogs, websites, and instant messaging. This technology also
allows consumers to share their views, likes, and dislikes just as
One lifestyle trend that is growing is that everything is hip.
The "cool" and "wow" factor are everywhere and
are being driven and embraced by the Generation C’s. I have been
scouring the marketplace, reading trend reports and magazines, and
have come up with some interesting thoughts, some new products, and
technologies that may have an impact in the craft trade in 2007. I
have included some of my favorite examples of this movement. Hope
they spark new product or promotion ideas for you.
Kitsch crafts – it’s edgy, it’s cool, it’s retro, and
it’s the craft projects we did in the 60’s and 70’s. They are
being featured in books, magazines, and on "hip" new
websites. Many of these projects are also Eco-inspired – a
return of the recycled craft project. How about a toilet roll holder
made from a coat hanger or a bowl from a vinyl record? Everything is
being recycled – check out www.tramplamps.com
for a very unique home décor
accent. Two new craft publications that support this trend are Craft:
with the byline "The first project-based magazine dedicated to
the renaissance that is occurring within the world of crafts"
and ReadyMade magazine (www.readymademag.com),
"Instructions for everyday Life."
Sometimes it’s all in a name – Benjamin Moore is now calling
stenciling "wall tattoos" – way cooler than just
stenciling. Even craft shows are getting hip – check out the
vendors for this fun, fresh and funky craft show in Seattle: Urban
Craft Uprising (www.urbancraftuprising.com).
How about cartoon-like furniture (www.dustfurniture.com
) that is both fun and functional; are similar surfaces to paint and
decoupage far behind?
Color trends: It's the continuing story of colors that do
stuff. Heat-activated car paint with changing hues or
interference colors showing up in fashion. In home décor,
glass tiles lining shower stalls are heat sensitive and burst into a
rainbow of colors when the hot water hits them (www.movingcolor.net).
New color technology has also made Zubbles (www.zubbles.com)
possible – brightly colored bubbles that do not stain clothing
when they burst.
Art in general is becoming more entertaining. With the popularity
of Internet video sites, you are now seeing lots of how-to videos
for making anything from silly putty or watching space paintings
being created with spray paint. A great example of entertaining
visual art is Michael Israel (www.michaelisrael.com),
who’s becoming a popular attraction at large functions and
definitely has the "wow" factor.
Do we need to rethink how we teach crafts? How about a craft
video that is actually entertaining as well as informative? The Book
of Cool (www.bookofcool.com)
is an example of a hip direction in how-to videos. Sites such as
and wikiHow (www.wikihow.com)
are growing in popularity (Check these sites to make sure
information about your products is correct; better yet, submit your
own projects!) Another fun promotional idea is flip books (www.flippies.com)
– how cool would it be to illustrate a technique with a flipbook!
I am looking forward to 2007 and with the "hip" new
stuff that is happening. Another bright point is a new trend
emerging, and – surprise, surprise – that new trend may be us.
Yes, the craft industry may very well be the next big thing.
A recent trend briefing from trendwatching.com (www.trendwatching.com)
Hobbynomics as an upcoming trend. This new lifestyle trend
has people creating not for money, but for sharing and
self-satisfaction. I look forward to hearing more about this trend
that could have more consumers making things with all types of
creative materials and priding themselves in giving homemade gifts.
In closing, I would like to share a "Craft Manifesto"
written by Ulla-Maaria Mutanen, a Ph.D. student at the University of
Helsinki in Finland. This policy appeared in the HobbyPrincess blog
and was the result of when Ulla-Maaria started to think about why we
enjoy making things.
1. People get satisfaction for being able to create/craft
things because they can see themselves in the objects they make.
This is not possible in purchased products.
2. The things that people have made themselves have magic
powers. They have hidden meanings that other people can’t see.
3. The things people make they usually want to keep and
update. Crafting is not against consumption. It is against throwing
4. People seek recognition for the things they have made.
Primarily it comes from their friends and family. This manifests as
an economy of gifts.
5. People who believe they are producing genuinely cool
things seek broader exposure for their products. This creates
opportunities for alternative publishing channels.
6. Work inspires work. Seeing what other people have made
generates new ideas and designs.
7. Essential for crafting are tools, which are accessible,
portable, and easy to learn.
8. Materials become important. Knowledge of what they are
made of and where to get them becomes essential.
9. Recipes become important. The ability to create and
distribute interesting recipes becomes valuable.
10. Learning techniques brings people together. This creates
online and offline communities of practice.
11. Craft-oriented people seek opportunities to discover
interesting things and meet their makers. This creates marketplaces.
12. At the bottom, crafting is a form of play.
(Note: Marie's recent books include Paper Mosaics (Sterling
Publishing, March, 2006); Casting for Crafters (Sterling,
April, 2006); and Metal Crafting Workshop (Sterling, June,
2006). Two new books will be released in 2007: Paper Crafts
Workshop: Traditional Card Techniques (Sterling, January, 2007)
and Paper Crafts Workshop: A Beginner’s Guide (Sterling,
Spring, 2007. Marie can be contacted at email@example.com.
Visit her website at www.mariebrowning.com.)