SW - Art PRO JNTrendEvolut Thb
Originally published in STIR®
What I learned about trend lifecycles at this year's CMG international education conference.

As a member of the Color Marketing Group (CMG), I have the profound privilege of being exposed to some incredibly fascinating and inspiring resources and educational experiences – ones that I most likely wouldn't discover on my own. And this year's CMG 2010 Fall International Conference in Portland, Ore., was another such experience.

We had the honor of visiting Rejuvenation, an amazing design and retail establishment specializing in vintage and reproduction lighting, accessories, furniture and house parts, along with marvelous architectural salvage, which just happens to be one of my shopping delights. The company is also committed to socially responsible business practices, such as working to become carbon-neutral and donating 10 percent of their yearly after-tax profits to programs that help support sustainable local communities.

Not only did Rejuvenation invite us to explore their inspiring space and learn more about their company, but they also walked us through the evolution of a product. First, the product is introduced to the market. If it's well-received, it's adopted by consumers and enjoys a honeymoon period. After a certain amount of time and market saturation, consumer ennui sets in and the product is rejected – replaced in consumers' hearts and minds by the latest and greatest fad or trend. Sometimes, a revulsion phase can even occur, in which consumers actually recoil when confronted with the now out-of-favor item (think the avocado refrigerator; admit it – you just shuddered involuntarily, didn't you?). After enough time has passed, consumers "rediscover" some item from the past, and it cycles through this iterative process all over again.

 Rejuvenation also posed some design and trend questions that I found so thought-provoking, I wanted to share them with you. I have a feeling they'll create some very interesting dialogue!

  • Does the definition of good design change over time?
  • Should design be for now or forever?
  • Is taste independent of trends?
  • Are trends driven by consumers, suppliers or both?
  • Do trends make us happy?