The industry as seen by top designers.
Trends and Design
What's new and what's hot.
by Lynda Musante and Tracia Williams (November, 2003)
The Society of Craft Designers is the only professional
association for designers in the creative industries. At the group's
Annual Educational Seminar last month in St. Louis, the Established
Designers gathered and conducted a "trending session."
Later in the Seminar, the group's findings were presented to all of
the participants by Moderator Kim Ballor (Plaid Enterprises) who
compiled the group's findings. The following are key trends
identified by the group:
Hiving: anchoring, a sense of community. It's different from
the cocooning trend; this is not drawing inward, but surrounding
yourself with things and people you love. (It's a result of 9/11.)
Looking back: family history/genealogy is the #1 hobby in the
U.S.; 50% of all people using the Internet have used it to find
information concerning a relative.
Simplify your life: decorate with functional items, taking
control of your life.
I am woman: Renewal, awareness of self.
Home: heart, do-it-yourself, sanctuary, cozy, comfort - all
influenced by all the tv shows featuring decorating on a budget and
decorating a room for a friend.
Global warmth: tropical, ethnic.
Retro/vintage: kitschy - causes us to remember our
Mixing textures: layering, collage, altering, patterns -
eclectic mixing of old and new.
Labeling: monogramming, words of inspiration.
Embellishments: beads, trims.
Geometrics: dots, stripes, squares and rectangles - clean
Winged things: birds, dragonflies, butterflies, angels.
Leaves: exotic leaves such as palms, decorative leaves.
Old fashioned flowers: poppies, daisies, iris.
Girl glam: shoes, lotions, pink.
Spicy reds: more brownish and/or shaded with merlot colors.
Ocean blues: blues leaning towards green.
Neapolitan: pink and brown, plus latte and caramel colors.
The group had seen a Parisian theme rising in popularity last year
around this time. Due to world issues, this has declined and an
Italian influence, such as images of wine, grapes, and Tuscan
influences, seems to be on the upswing.
In addition to the over-arching themes and lifestyles, each Trends
Committee member provided a report on the trends she saw evolving in
Pacific Northwest: Motifs with ocean references, forest,
West Coast/Central CA: Hispanic themes, vintage, retro
clothing, less sparkle, more chunky jewelry.
Orlando: Casual clothing and decor influenced by the region's
continuous heat; outdoor living and decor. Motifs include palm
trees, green-yellow tones, and bamboo. Mixed patterns often used in
Victoria, Canada: Decor in this region shows either a
Mediterranean or Asian influence. Some Italian influence as well.
There is a prominent China chic that is mixed with contemporary
furnishings. Colors: greens/blues. Prominent wine motifs.OTHER
One of the highlights each year is the Designer members' Showcases.
This room is set with covered tables, and members choose either a
3-ft. or a 6-ft. tabletop display space, or have the option of just
displaying their portfolio in a designated portfolio section of the
Early in the Seminar, these Designer Showcases are open to Corporate
Members only, so that the display may be viewed and conference
meetings booked with participants for later in the seminar. Once
Corporate Members have had ample time to view this display and set
meetings, Designer Showcases are then opened up to all registered
attendees to view.
This year, the Designer Showcases appeared to be more upscale and
themed than ever before. Several designers showcased a specific
style of design on multiple surfaces, while others chose to feature
a variety of designs showcasing that designer's ability to work in
Layering, collage, mixed media, and altered projects were in
abundance. Jewelry was featured in many different forms, and
embellishments such as charms and beads were found on many designs.
Design styles varied from the classic vintage look to fun and funky
It is always interesting to see how the designers display their
designs. Several designers went to great detail to have coordinating
backdrops and table covers, along with antique display props, while
some choose a simpler display.
The majority of participants had leaflets, press kits, and other
materials so that interested parties could pick up a quick overview
of their abilities and experience - information that would not fit
on a simple business card.
We look at it this way: if a designer has one chance to make an
impression on a potential client, her display and printed materials
need to be as clear and concise as possible. Display signage in the
display outlining skills/abilities is a plus. Printed materials
featuring samples of work can be a handy reference for potential
clients to use at a later date.
Next year, the Annual Educational Seminar will be Sept. 8-11 at the
Hyatt Regency in Albuquerque. For more information, visit www.craftdesigners.org
or call 740-452-4541.
(Comment: Lynda and Tracia are being too modest regarding the
value of the SCD Seminar for manufacturers. For vendors, the Seminar
is an excellent place to meet talented freelance designers, expose
their products to designers who write books and magazine articles,
and even discover new uses for their own products.)
(Note: For previous columns written by Lynda and Tracia,
click on the titles in the right-hand column. Any comments or
questions? Any suggestions for topics for future columns? Email
Lynda Musante, Nifty Development Corporation at Lsmusante@aol.com
and Tracia Williams, Tracia & Company, at Traciaw@earthlink.net.