The Importance of Trends

Are we trendsetters or trend-followers? How do we use trends in our day-to-day designs? Can we balance how much we are influenced by a trend and how much we strive to find our own creative individuality?

photos from Vogue ArabiaVogueModeRSVP

Who sets the trends and what do we do with them?

We hope to inspire you in finding your own answers regarding the above questions, throughout this blog. Even more, we hope to help you raise your own questions in regard to your personal creative endeavor in floral design and open your appetite for knowledge in general, as that truly is the source of all creative strength.

In this article, we want to answers some general questions regarding trends, to introduce you to the world of trends. Let’s be curious about design TRENDS so that we can better understand them.

What is a trend?

By definition, “a trend is an assumed development in the future that will have a long-term and lasting effect on and change something”. Current developments are moving in a different direction or intensifying even more. The only constant in our world is change. Change always brings risks, but it is also the creator of opportunities and possibilities for new, exciting things to be developed.

A trend is a general direction into which something is changing, developing, or veering toward.

The term may also mean a fashion or craze. The verb ‘trend‘ emerged in the English language in the 1590s[1]. At the time, it meant “to run or bend in a certain direction (of costs, rivers, etc.).” It came from the Middle English word ‘trenden’, which meant “to revolve, turn, roll about.” It was not until the 1950s that the word also meant “a prevailing new tendency in popular fashion or culture”.

photo from Asian Interior Design

Besides the standard definition, studying trends is becoming more and more of a science, as the applicability of knowledge regarding them, goes from business to social media, from psychology to design. Trends are determined by social behavior. One of the main reasons people follow trends is our relentless search for identity, Dr. Liraz Lasry on TedTalk[2]. “Who am I? How do others perceive me? How would I like others to perceive me? The question of how we are perceived by ourselves or by others is very significant to our behavior. (…) In the special context of trends the identity factor is even more interesting: when we adopt trends we are trying to reach a very delicate balance between two opposing forces: the basic evolutionary human need to belong to a group (…) and the need for uniqueness.

The relationship we all have with trends is quite interesting in itself, almost paradoxical. On one hand, our behaviors as society are the ones determining trends to appear, on the other hand, the vast majority of the people are still trend followers.

So, how do trends appear?

It is very intriguing how the strong individuality of a few can determine what most of us will later follow. Especially in design trends, which we will focus on, the early birth of a trend lies in the ability of a few people to express their uniqueness, without caring what society thinks of them. They are not, out of trend, they are starting a trend.

Those are the trend-setters. The avant-garde of a nearby future, if you will, these people are exercising their creativity without needing the approval of the others. The creative act of such people often appears as a bizarre approach, a too out-of-line artwork, even a disturbing performance, but they later prove to be signs of things to follow.

As we are becoming more and more aware on how much trend studies can influence personal taste, business decisions, creative endeavors, the business of trade study has also adapted to the need for knowledge of all the creative industries, including floral design. Terms like coolhunters[1], fads or trend picks are just a few describing methods used by specialized companies in their yearly and seasonal constant effort in putting on a board the feeling of what is to come. The famous Belgian trend company, FRANCQ COLORS, holds monthly in-house photo-shoots where they combine international complementary brands and style them according to a certain Inspiration Theme from their Color Trend Reports, taking into account the ambiance, colors, materials and textures. Every shoot tells a different story about today's world.[2]

photos from FRANQCOLORS

Spotting trends is sometimes compared to determining the weather forecast. There is no control over how trends will appear, as they are deeply connected to our behavior as humans. Just as meteorologists do not make the weather, but they read the signs that tell us ahead if it will rain or not, the trend-spotters are able to identify the signs given by trendsetters and pick them up. From there on, the trend followers make the magic happen, and a trend becomes a fashion.

There is a quite impressive monologue in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada” regarding “cerulean blue”, if you have seen the movie. Meryl Streep, impersonating an imperious fashion editor describes how a color that begins life in gowns by Oscar de la Renta in 2002 is then copied by other designers and is ultimately “filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner”. But, cerulean blue was tapped by Pantone in 1999 as the Color of the Millennium.

How strong is color in trends?

The exact nature of color perception beyond the physical aspects, and the status of color as a feature of the perceived world or rather as a feature of our perception of the world—a type of qualia[3]—is a matter of complex and continuing philosophical dispute. Color trends are focusing more on the concept of experiencing colors, rather than seeing colors.

"Colors (…) follow the changes of the emotions", Pablo Picasso once remarked.

picture from Pantone

We know for sure a color is as strong as the impression it creates. Color creates great impact on the perceptions of people, and one’s feelings about a color are often deeply personal and anchored in the intimacy of the personal experience or the culture he/she was raised in. Yet in this infinite way of humans perceiving color, given by the uniqueness of each individual, there still are color effects that have a universal meaning. Color trends can behave like a guide  that helps us balance between our own one-of-a-kind mind and the collective approach. There are no analytics measuring success of color forecasting, as how would one even be able to accurately measure something like that.

Perhaps color forecasting in general, suffers from two misconceptions. The first is that there is some kind of a scheme that follows a pattern of putting out colors, and the second is that color of the year and colors trends are just a random pick from a pile of options, yet, the collective effort to look ahead is a burden forecasters take very seriously. Pantone’s annual meeting to decide Color of the Year[4], for instance is described as “a search for meaning, a drive for a narrative, a glimpse into the maelstrom of the global mood. (…) In the forecasters’ pairing of tints and stories there was an assurance of something real, and not merely as finding connections and “patterns” in unrelated things. Trend forecasters have an intense ceaselessly twitching antenna for color.” by the author of the article “Sneaking Into Pantone’s HQ”.[5]

Floral trends

This article will be shortly followed by the EMC Spring - Summer Trend Report, so we will conclude with the words of Tomas de Bruyne, CEO of European Master Certification.

picture from COHIM

"Using trends and to interpret them keeps your creativity sharp as you’ll continuously adapt yourself to color, form, flower and design without losing your signature style. Doing huge events myself; what I mostly choose are the colors and the synopsis. These describe the direction of the mood, as they have the biggest visual impact and are the direct communicators of the installation. The play/combination of the color range in combo in conjunction with the synopsis of a trend makes the story, which on the end has to come together in a design concept. All elements have to interact in a harmonious way and it even gives the highest Gestalt possible--that’s the challenge and what a concept is about. Therefore, trends are great tools to guide you through the design process.

Being different but in sync with society today, is to give a trend your own personal touch. Trends are made to inspire--not to copy! Don’t follow trends. Start your own by adding your personality to it. The right experiences rise when personalizing trends for your client."

Tomas de Bruyne, CEO of European Master Certification

article edited by Diana Toma, EMC and Christi Lopez, AIFD EMC


[1] https://www.etymonline.com/word/trend

[2] Dr. Liraz Lasry is a teacher at the Tel Aviv University. See full TedTalk here

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolhunting

[4] https://www.francqcolors.be/trend-picks-1

[5] “An unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to us”. D. Clement Dennett III

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pantone

[7] https://slate.com/culture/2012/04/pantone-color-forecasts-are-they-accurate.html



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