Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard

Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com



The industry as seen by top designers.

Printer Version

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 CAF. 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. Whats 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:

Creative Leisure News, www.clnonline.com ... Craftrends, www.craftrends.com ...The Trends Research Institute, www.trendsresearch.com ... CNA, www.cnamag.com ... Craft & Hobby Association, www.craftandhobby.org ... Color trends, www.colormarketing.org.

10. Dont jump to conclusions. Many companies jump to conclusions about how far a trend will go. The common practice [mistake] is to assume that the future will be a replay of the present and a trend will be hot forever.

(Note: To contact the CREATIVE SPIRIT CAF, call Karen Booy at 604-820-8424 or email karen@creativespiritcafe.com. To read previous Designing Perspectives columns, click on the titles in the right-hand column.)



horizontal rule

horizontal rule


Designing Perspectives Recent Columns...
DESIGNERS HELP GROW YOUR BUSINESS...in more ways than you can imagine.

FROM A BRAINSTORM TO A PRODUCT LINE; The journey from an idea to a hug line on store shelves.

HOW TO PROFIT FROM MIXED MEDIA; A sneak preview of a seminar on one of the industry's hottest trends.

MAKE IT UNIQUE OR COPY A MODEL? Sometimes a consumer wants it unique, but other times...

"CROWDSOURCING"; The Future of Design? Design by and for the masses.

THOUGHTS ON THE STATE OF DESIGN; Who decides what is a good design?

CHA EVENTS FOR DESIGNERS; Seminars and events to grow your business.

WHAT HAPPENED TO CREATIVITY? An experienced designer doesn't like what she sees in stores.

ADVICE FOR PUBLISHERS AND DEISIGNERS; What questions to ask each other.

HOUSE JUDICIARY CONTACT LIST; Contact them to delay the Orphan Works bill.

AN EDITOR VENTS...about unprofessional designs.

MORE DETAILS OF THE ORPHAN WORKS LEGISLATION; And the harm it could do to the industry.

THE ORPHAN WORKS BILL; A threat to designers everywhere.

MORE THOUGHTS ON PAY FOR DESIGNERS; Demanding more pay, the right brain / left brain conundrum, and a historical perspective.

LOW PAY FOR DESIGNERS...drives them out of the industry and is unfair.

DESIGNERS IN THE GHETTO; Fair pay for essential work.


CHA TO LAUNCH DESIGNER EDUCATION DAY FOR 2007 SUMMER SHOW; And expands License and Design section for the Winter show.

HOW TO SELL YOUR GREETING CARD CREATIONS...without having to print them.

RULES FOR BUSINESS...rules for life.

THE FUTURE FOR DESIGNERS...and how manufacturers should use them.

THE NEXT BIG THING...Trends you'll see in 2007.

TOO MANY PATTERNS! Basic economics: a glut of anything lowers the price and the perceived value.

ADVICE FOR DESIGNERS; Take off the blinders and tell a real story.


CHANGING CUSTOMERS, CHANGING CATEGORIES; Categories rise and fall, and today ...


A CALL FOR CUTTING EDGE DESIGNS; TV producer needs designers.

A VENDOR'S VIEW OF WHAT DESIGNERS REALLY NEED; Savvy inventiveness, not just designs.

HOW DESIGNERS MUST COPE WITH A CHANGING INDUSTRY; Diversify, improve, and maintain standards.

HOW AND WHY CRAFT DESIGNS ARE CHANGING; Because younger consumers want less structure (among other things).

CHA's INSPIRATION AND DESIGN FAIRE; Designer-exhibitors faired well at CHA's newest show feature.

10 TIPS FOR SPOTTING A TREND; It's not tricky, but it requires work.

ARTISTS -- IN THEIR OWN WORDS; Why they make art.

MY LOVE/HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH MICHAELS, PT. I; Why chains' education programs aren't what they could be.

CHA SUMMER SHOW TRENDS; "The simple, flat, non-dimensional page is a trend of the past.

MARKET RESEARCH ON DECORATING TRENDS; "Casual" decorating is our most popular style, but not by much.

HIA 2004: WOW!; A bonanza of color, themes, and products.

TRENDS AT THE ATLANTA, DALLAS GIFT SHOWS; Trends we'll probably see in our industry.

IT'S IN THE BAG; Why making purses is so hot.

TRENDS AND DESIGN; What's new and what's hot.


ACCI TRENDS: PRODUCTS & DESIGNS; Scrapbooking, yes, but lots more, too.

DESIGNING THE LIFE OF A PRODUCTS; Without good design there are no sales.

WELCOME TO OUR WORLD; Two busy designers reporting on trends.