Genre - January 2012

New Year, New Ideas
By Wanda Jankowski, Editor-in-Chief

In this issue, we celebrate the “new” in this new year in several ways—with an abundance of new products in Market previews, and with insights into new key concepts shaping design and consumer mindsets via the multi-part sidebar “2012 Trends: An Insider’s View” by forecaster Jill Sands in the “Home In The City” article.

For a big-picture take on what’s making the world—and your customers— go ’round, below are ideas from a presentation on “Underground Trends,” given by Doty Horn, founder of ColorVoyant Visionary Color Marketing, at a recent meeting of the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA)’s New York Chapter.

Underground trends are those that exist in society beneath the mainstream; they may gain momentum to influence future mainstream design directions. Horn detailed six underground concepts that will impact design and consumer lifestyles:

  • Post-Oil Era—There are more entities investigating alternative energy sources than one may realize—from bio-fuels and solar and wind power, to energy production through traffic vibrations and even human heat. The concern with alternative energy sources ties in with a continuing interest in all things eco-friendly. The Songdo City project in Korea, built on reclaimed land and due to be completed in 2015, will be the first LEED-certified, “green” city in the world. Earth-friendly designs will continue to be developed and embraced.
  • Force Of Nature—Respect for nature is relearned with each seemingly unpredictable catastrophic event. This has spawned a counter-interest in predictable, mechanical objects as well as the use of events in nature as the basis for new designs.
  • Cloud Sourcing—Horn predicts a future increase in “cloud” management services that will house computer programs and information, enabling them to be shared among our electronic devices. Scary downsides down the road could be the loss of full control over our data and payment of fees to a provider to access our own information.
  • Horn reveals that 93 percent of communication is non-verbal. Yet computers and cellphones have skewed communication towards verbal and text-rooted options.
    These developments have led to erosions of trust among us. In counterpoint, the power of human relationships and transparency in them, and irreplaceable face-to-face communication will continue to be explored in art and design.
  • Power In Numbers—technologies have allowed cultures not only to be more deeply explored, but to be blended and fused. We’ve seen it already with global-inspired prints that have trended from specific cultural inspirations to designs that seem to come more generally from “somewhere out there” in the world.
  • Creative Juice—Horn sadly states that the degree of creativity in America’s young people is dropping, which can be an early sign of cultural decline. But in this age of economic adversities, one must be creative and open to new ideas to navigate through challenges. Design will explore sources of creativity. Look for motifs such as handwriting—which is an expression of personality.
    I hope this issue’s looks at what’s happening in the world, in design and in new products inspire you to craft new ideas that lead to a prosperous New Year!

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