Spotting trends early can give you an edge over your competitors, for a designer being at the forefront of a trend and adopting it early can be a great way to accelerate your work into the spotlight, which is also great for your clients. At Giant Peach we hold reoccurring trendsetting meetings to make sure we’ve got an eye on what’s hot, we’re constantly on the look out for the latest in UI, UX, Design, Typography, Micro Animation and Development.
If you want to begin spotting trends you need to expose yourself to as many resources as you can, subscribe to news or blog outlets, galleries, relevant places, the more the merrier. When designing, a first step would be an exploration phase looking out for inspiration, too much info here could lead to over saturation and then you become lost in what you’re supposed to be doing, but with trend spotting it’s quite the opposite - the more resources you are connected to the more likely you are to start connecting the dots and filling in the gaps and most likely begin to spot trends.
People with clout give a trend more backing. This is true in any walk of life, if someone we believe to be an expert or trust tells us something we’ll believe in it more. So the more relevant people you are connected to the more likely you are to catch a trend early.
The key to spotting the trend is quite simple, repetition. We’re looking to see what patterns are forming, what information is being repeated and in what ways is it reappearing. If it’s appearing in different forms that gravitate around a central theme then you know you’re on to something. At the same time it’s wise to be wary of the trend before adopting it, how far it will go?
There is a case of “the rich get richer” (the Matthew Effect), as a trend begins to ascend it grows in popularity and why wouldn’t it - “hey that looks nice I could do something like that!” this positive feedback loop builds momentum for the trend, acquiring more followers and practitioners. Designers do copy other designers, this isn’t a stab at designers it’s the way we work. I’ll look to apply principles and best practices to my work when I design but that’s where I’ll also look to put my stamp on something, I’m not mimicking a design without thought, I’m adopting a principle and hopefully bettering it.
Not all trends are as strong as each other, some come and go and others stay around for a while, does anybody remember a time before ‘Flat' design? The Last relic of the skeuomorphic design era has just had a shiny new upgrade and while we’re sad to see the old Instagram logo go we love what the team have done with the new upgrade. So it is important to validate a trend once you’ve cottoned on, there isn’t really a checklist you can apply, some things just take off! Two questions you can ask yourself are; is it relevant and does it have longevity?