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The industry as seen by top designers.

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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 childhood..

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 lines.

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 her area.

Pacific Northwest: Motifs with ocean references, forest, sports, animals.

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 home decor.

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 SCD NEWS.

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 room.

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 multiple media.

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 to traditional/classic.

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.



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