Should You Be Wary Of Trends?

I would like to start a discussion about following trends.

I was reading a chapter of AIGA Professional Practices in Graphic Design which was saying that the champions of design have signature styles and it is tragic that often companies want what is trendy and not what is truly artistic.

As a young designer it’s hard to not copy trends. Trends flood design annuals and competitions for us to see and get inspiration. Whether college taught me this or I just did it to pass, I tried to learn design by copying trends. I wanted to be versatile, so instead of focusing on my style, I learned several different ones. So here I am with several different styles in my portfolio, and trying to look like I understand the trends of the industry.

Image by Project M·A·R·C via Flickr

Trends seem to sell. In the last season of Project Runway, Gretchen won the competition partly because she had an eye on fashion trends. Companies seem to like trends and they hire designers; therefore, shouldn’t I be somewhat trendy?

Are trends really that bad? Perhaps they can kill our own creativity and voice. I came across Mitch Goldstein’s blog. He is getting his MFA at and writes, “Design should not be about regurgitating trends, having a cool studio, or being an AIGA member. Design should be about how the designer relates to the world around them, and how they translate that into interesting stuff.” His statement reminds me of my studio art roots. I believe that fine art should be an expression of the human experience in the world. By following trends, designers seem to lose their ingenuity.

Successful designers have a balance of understanding trends and having his or her own voice so they can sell and yet still be themselves. When you design, do you worry about good design or something original?


2 responses to “Should You Be Wary Of Trends?

  1. The first guy I interviewed with here in San Antonio told me that the reason why good designers aren’t getting hired is because they are no longer relevant. I think that’s deeper than just being trendy. What really gets you a job as a designer is your ideas. Not your InDesign skills or whether or not you memorized the pantone book. Anyone can learn how to be a Photoshop ninja, but not everyone can come up with a clever way to communicate an idea. I think that’s the heart of design (and art): communicating an idea. And a lot of times we put a piece of ourselves in that idea. That’s what makes great art/design.
    I think school taught me how to use different tools of communication. Things like the use of white space, color, and composition. My eyes were trained to see beyond a splash of paint, to question it. And that’s what I do when I see what’s trendy. I question why it’s trendy and whether or not I can gain something from it’s “trendiness”.

  2. Thanks Vanessa, this helped me keep focus on my work and as an outcome, I had stuff that I felt rather confident about. There was meaning behind the design and it looked cool because it the elements enhanced the message.

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