Spotting trends is important for a creative business. If you know what icons, materials and themes will be in demand you can already have product or systems in place when they reach popularity. Because, frankly, once they have already become popular it’s a little too late to come up with new product.
Spotting trends can be tricky but with the tips below and some practice you’ll find that it is something you can learn to do.
Read widely. Don’t just read up on the happenings in your industry but look for information in other industries as well. You never know when an article from Highlights for Children will give you an idea for a new product line. Read foreign magazines as often as you can, especially, magazines from theUK andFrance as that is where many American trends get their start.You need to have a wide and varied interest in things both professionally and personally. Sticking within your own industry will limit your sources of inspiration.
Escape from your bubble. When you live, work and shop in the same small area (whether it’s a small town or the 4 or 5 blocks of major city) you can become convinced that something is trending widely when it’s really only your small area. It’s true that you may not be able to afford to hop on a jet and go see what’s happening in another country but we do have plenty of opportunities to visit the next town or even a new part of your own town. Get out there!
Leave your phone behind. Or at least leave it in your pocket. It’s not an easy thing for super connected people to put down the electronics but when you do you’ll start seeing more of the world. Not just with your eyes but all of your senses. Really look at the things around you. Are you seeing lots of a particular color? What are the people around you wearing? What kinds of advertisements do you see? You may just be surprised by what you’ve been missing while you’ve been hiding behind that screen.
Pay attention to the people around the edges. The people with less money, the people who aren’t “main stream”, the outsiders. Often trends come from within these groups of people. Hang out on a college campus for a day, at the local library or a busy shopping mall. Visit public concerts, parks, transportation. There is a lot to see if you look into different social groups.
Look for things that are broken. If you see an area of your industry that doesn’t work so well don’t think so much about how you can fix it (unless that is the business you are in) but instead look for the alternatives. If XYZ is not working well then what about LMNOP? Once people start to realize that XYZ isn’t going to cut it they will be ready for the alternatives.
Be like Curious George.Be open minded, nonjudgmental and open to new experiences. Try to look at new things without judgement and ask questions. Non stop. Why, how, what, where? Learn all you can without casting judgement. Being curious leaves you open to new views about the world.
Have a point of view. Know all there is to know about your particular corner of the industry and when you see a trend begin to emerge apply your point of view to it. Just because you see a trend emerging doesn’t mean you are going to want to stop making whatsits and begin making doodads. Learn how your knowledge of whatsits can be applied to the doodad trend and move on from there.
Spotting trends isn’t magic, but it’s not really a science either. Rather, being able to spot a trend is more about being observant, having an open mind and being curious about the world you live in. The more you practice looking for and spotting trends the better you will get at it. And being able to see upcoming trends can only help you in your creative business.
What trends have you spotted lately?
By: Vicki O’Dell , The Creative Goddess