Trending Up (the Pendulums Swing) :: How Trends in Color and Prints Happen
I’m a lady person of a few varied talents – I have a talent for sarcasm, edging a perfectly straight paint line and overanalyzing all sorts of useless topics. I work and play in the home décor industry so I particularly enjoy overanalyzing Design with a capital D. In my real 9-to-5 job, I design textiles for the home, based on what I see as trends in color and design. I have fun with trends on my blog too, I just get to think bigger and use more cuss words and inappropriate metaphors. Corporate America is so touchy when you try to include partial nudity on mood boards or R-rated humor in trend reports. Dear CEOs, stop stifling my creative expression!
Being able to forecast where the market is going tells me what to draw even before the customer knows they will want to buy it. It’s like mind games but with more damask….. To maximize profits, you don’t want to be too early or too late for the consumer. Instead you just ride the bubble of a trend whether it is furniture, fabrics, home accessories, car colors, graphic and prints ads or any other industry touched by creative marketing of some kind. Each industry has their own trend cycles, some quicker than others, and it’s important to know how your industry relates to the overall trend aesthetic. How you’ll upholster a chair isn’t exactly how you’d paint your car… usually. Unless of course you’re an eccentric hippie then you are probably outside the trend bubble (where you want to be) and in which case, I have a hard time getting you to buy my product…. Well played. Well played.
I enjoy learning about design trends because in addition to being essential for paying my mortgage and making my employer kabillions of dollars (Dear CEO, you’re welcome), it is also a giant corkboard of imagery representing the collective conscious of people and communities. Identifying trends in color, shapes, textures, interiors, patterns, materials, etc. is fun, yeah, but what is more exciting to me is exploring what it says about us as a whole. Trend reporting is really just an exercise in visual sociology for the present and future.
For instance, in this new millennium filled with war and financial instability, what kinds of risks are we really willing to take? Is Design an acceptable area in which to be bold when we can’t be bold in other areas of our lives or…will it reflect our need for safety? How does technology influence our attitudes about color, shape and texture? What are the effects of social media and the concept of the ‘global village’ as it relates to the integration of multi-cultural styles? Is there a new ‘global’ style? Can I make a throw pillow in it? All are valid questions, with no true quantifiable answers, making my brain squee as I get to overanalyze ’til my heart’s content. And talk about throw pillows.
I like to think of trends as a pendulum swinging freely – it uses the momentum of the past to propel itself in a new direction, exploring an avenue, peaking and then arcing in yet another direction. To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been. And if you know that you can plot the trajectory of where the pendulum might swing next.
Of course there are an infinite number of pendulums depending on which consumer you are referring to. It’s like the Breakfast Club of trends – where will the ‘jock’ go next? The rebel? The prep? Each has their own pendulum and they all swing at once affected by the same current events we all experience, but each reacting in a different way though often intersecting each other. One person’s classic plaid is another person’s punk and yet another’s worst nightmare. Fortunately (for me and my horrible math skills) this isn’t a science no matter how much you might want Anthony Michael Hall circa 1985 to make you a graph. It involves a lot of hunches, educated guesses, overanalyzing and clever storytelling. Good thing ONE of those I have a talent for.
And . . . sometimes I just like to pretend I’m a color psychic and look into my crystal ball and tell you a long story about the color grey and animal prints as it relates to the oil spill and Farmville.
Note from the hosts: It is always a pleasure when the multi-talented Madame Sunday stops by (truth: it’s only her second post for us). If you are not reading her blog, well . . . you should — here: Modern Sauce. She may also be found on twitter @ModernSauce. Many thanks. jb
Photo Credit: All images — Spring/Summer 2011 by Li Edelkoort via Busy Being Fabulous
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