Following Trends

I’m sure we all spend countless hours on Instagram, Behance, or Pinterest keeping up with the trends. It’s an essential part of the job, really. Lately, I’ve been incorporating some more trendy elements (colors, typefaces, etc.) but I’m afraid of overdoing it. Of course I would never incorporate a trend if it was inappropriate or unrelated to the project, but I feel that emulating or stealing from beautiful popular projects I see on social media lends a sense of elegance and professionalism to my work.

To what extent do you allow trends to influence your designs and how do you find the balance? e.g.- flat logo design, botanicals, Pantone color of the year.

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Trends… END. They may come back or they may not.
Don’t follow.
Lead.

Side note, countless hours spent on Instatube et al is billable time not being billed. Set limits.

I used to spend time looking at trends but as you get into your niche as a designer you tend to look at that sort of thing less. At least that is what I’ve found. I do enjoy seeing a clever piece of design or advertising out on the wild but I wouldn’t say that would be a trend.

If you are a new designer, you can use trends to practice and develop but knowing what is appropriate and how to adapt is more important in communicating your client’s message.

I’d be hard-pressed to disagree more.

They affect me mostly to the extent that when I notice a trend emerging, I know it’s probably best to avoid jumping on the bandwagon. I sound like a broken record having said this so many times here, but designers should be trendsetters, not trend followers.

The significant exception is when working for trendy, trend-conscious clients with a trend-conscious clientele. For the other 99% of the time, the latest here-today, gone-tomorrow trend is irrelevant, if not sometimes counterproductive.

The best of design solutions are timeless and largely unaffected by fashionable whims.

Think of the, now almost cliché, but no less brilliant, Mother and Child by Herb Lubalin. Timeless and beautiful. As fresh today as when it was first designed.

I am with Just-B, I consciously avoid it – unless it is appropriate to the problem at hand.

I am sure at some level subconsciously we are all affected, to a greater or lesser extent, by the colours and styles that surround us. It is always better to design according to the problem you need a find a solution for, guided by the client’s requirements, regardless of trend and fad,

Just as a follow-up, I think it’s important to stay current, but making a conscious effort to be trendy is a mistake.

@Sprout is correct; on a subconscious level, we’re affected by what we see around us. As people who pay attention, we take it in and combine it with what’s already there.

Quite often, I’ll find my choice of colors, typefaces, emotional tones, etc., change as I explore new ways of doing things and new ways of looking at problems. Sometimes, I’ll find other designers heading in those same directions, and in a few months, I might even read or hear about it being a trend.

It’s as though circumstances come together to make things ripe for change and a new way of looking at the world. When this happens, it’s not until after the fact that one realizes that he or she has been a part of this change. By the time it’s been recognized and identified as a trend, it’s typically already a done deal and we’re already off exploring something new.

However, this is just an observation of how my own experiences and design thought processes seem to work. I’m not suggesting that it’s something to aspire to — just the way things seem to work out with no conscious effort on my part to be trendy.

What I’m unambiguously saying is stop trying to imitate trends or you will always be a follower instead of an innovator. Also as @sprout said, the best design doesn’t focus on this sort of thing, it focuses, instead, on solving the problem at hand that the client has brought to you.

When innovation becomes part of the solution, that’s great. When a deliberate decision is made to create a trendy solution, that’s typically not so great.

When, down the road, after months have gone by, if the innovative solution you’ve created for that client seems recognizable as having been part of a trend that took place during the preceding months, chalk it up as an interesting observation.

When you notice others trying to imitate that trend, you’ll know you did something good, but, honestly, it no longer matters since all you’ve been doing all along is doing your best to solve the problem in front of you at the moment.

Indeed. Well said. And that change is the natural order of things, influenced by political and social fluctuations and advances (or regressions). As designers, we do – and should – respond to these changes in society. This, as Just-B says is distinct from consciously trend-following.

I wonder if we even change seasonally as well? Never really thought about it until now, but I wonder if colour choice is slightly different depending on the amount of sunlight and vitamin D being thrown through the studio window. It would be interesting to go back over archives and see if colour choices (and even type choices) are affected. I imagine not drastically, but maybe just by a tone or saturation point here and there. Oh god, I’m off on another ramble again… I’ll stop. My tea’s getting cold!

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