Anatomy of Trends

Priyamanjunath
8 min readMay 15, 2024

Ever wonder how certain trends seem to permeate every aspect of our lives? From fashion and entertainment to technology and lifestyle choices, cultural trends shape our society in profound ways.

Trend analysts are always on the lookout for signals that indicate a shift in cultural preferences. According to a study by the consultancy firm Trendwatching, 70% of trends start out as small, niche movements before they go mainstream. They study consumer behaviour, monitor social media, analyse market research, and even delve into psychology to uncover the underlying motivations driving trends. By connecting the dots between seemingly unrelated phenomena, they can identify emerging themes that have the potential to shape the future.

Trends are Everywhere!

The transformational power of mega-trends is so prolonged and far-reaching that they touch upon all aspects of life. Mega-trends not only change individual products and organisations, but also have a lasting effect on entire markets and political systems. Mega-trends are the established navigational instrument in an accelerated world of change.

Why do people follow trends?

  1. Social Identity and Status — Viewed from a lens of social psychology, popular trends are a manifestation of the in-group and out-group in their social identity theory. Being in the in-group is desired, as a person sees themself as part of the “us,” while the out-group is the “other”.
  2. Novelty — research has established that seeing something new triggers reward pathways in our brains. This is why new content on social media feeds works so well in catching our attention. Thus, it is easy to understand the motivation behind doing trends new in our ways.
  3. Perceived Skill — It provides them with a sense of accomplishment. Social media trends, especially those that involve mastering a new recipe (Dalgona coffee during COVID-19 quarantine) or learning a new skill make people feel like they are being productive and acquiring new skills.

And thus follows creation of trends in Political stands to Protein consumption in fitness enthusiasts.

What Is the Bandwagon Effect?

The bandwagon effect is a psychological phenomenon in which people do something primarily because other people are doing it, regardless of their own beliefs, which they may ignore or override. This tendency of people to align their beliefs and behaviors with those of a group is also called a herd mentality.

The term “bandwagon effect” originates from politics but has wide implications commonly seen in consumer behavior and investment activities. This phenomenon can be seen during bull markets and the growth of asset bubbles.

Spirit of the times — The Zietgeist

Zeitgeist, often referred to as the “spirit of the times”, describes the prevailing trends, moods, attitudes and cultural climate of a particular era or moment. It captures the essence of a specific time, reflecting the collective mindset and values of society during that period. Instead of predicting the future, it offers insights into the characteristics and influences that define a specific time.

What are trends doing to today’s world?

In the order of today’s world and the dispensation, trends being a sensational phenomenon will always be in vogue in its differences per times and seasons. It could be about celebrities, car brands, media events, clothing brands, body enhancements, and lots more. The most prevalent similarity amongst all trends is how soon they fall off the screen, so such designs that originated from them lose their worth and taste not long after the trend is forgotten.

Trends are important too, as it shows us where we stand in the industry. But keep in mind, that it should not define our work’s value or our value. Trends do not last long. They are not permanent. They are being constantly replaced by new trends. Following the trends, people are skipping from niches to niches. The industry keeps on evolving and new things are introduced. We can not carry on with it. Jumping from one niche to another is an exhausting thing. It is more of a disadvantage than a benefit.

Automotive Design

Poetry

Industrial Design

Logo Design

Pop Culture

Trends play a great impact on everyone’s lives.

Trend analysis goes beyond the surface-level fascination with what’s “hot” or “cool.” It provides invaluable insights into the dynamics of our society. Trend analysts help businesses anticipate consumer demands, shape marketing strategies, and stay relevant in a rapidly changing landscape. They assist designers in creating products that resonate with their target audience, guide content creators in crafting engaging narratives, and inspire innovators to develop groundbreaking solutions. By understanding cultural trends, we can collectively shape the future and create a more connected and responsive world.

Decoding Design Trends — The right a adaptation important!

Why is it important? Design process is very dynamic and its always important to stay up to date. People’s behaviour, mental models are constantly evolving Technology and Systems are evolving.

How to do you decide what trends to follow-

Trend Adoption Curve

Product Analysis — A small exercise for you

Try doing this analysis for various products you come across your daily life to understand how everything around you is connected.

Using A.I to analyse design trends.

With algorithms and machine learning, it’s become easier to identify trends, and data scientists are beginning to emerge as key players in the work of trend forecasting. Marketers, through their touch points with trends, business acumen, and growth tactics, are also leaning into creative decision making via branding and merchandising. Checkout Quid, Quid suite uses advanced artificial intelligence to process billions of indexed resources across all forms of structured and unstructured data, empowering brand, agency, and consulting services customers to make smart, data-driven decisions accurately, quickly, and efficiently.

How to predict the trends of the future?

What is Trend Forecasting? Why is it important?

Trend forecasting enables you to future-proof your product with actionable guidance through the industry’s transformational shifts and changing consumer lifestyles. The experts collate eventful insights from Politics, Environmental Studies, Innovation and Technology, People and more! and contextualise research, data and design influences from across the globe
in time to bring in valuable insights.

Futures thinking

Futures Thinking, or foresight, is a discipline that allows to critically delve into the vast realm of future possible scenarios (possible futures) starting from the assumption that even if what will happen tomorrow cannot be known, it is still possible to imagine what might happen and prepare for it.

Scenerio Planning

Scenario planning helps leaders develop a detailed, internally consistent picture of a range of plausible outcomes as an industry evolves over time. You can also incorporate the results of scenario planning into your strategy formulation and implementation. Understanding the PESTEL conditions — as well as the level, pace, and drivers of industry globalization and the CAGE framework — will probably equip you with some insight into the outcomes of certain scenarios. The purpose of scenario planning, however, is to provide a bigger picture — one in which you can see specific trends and uncertainties.

Mapping Speculative Design

In a typical design setting, designers create products and services that are sold to consumers. In a speculative design setting, designers create artifacts and prototypes meant to provoke thought and reflection. Speculative design operates on a more conceptual and philosophical level, by inviting us to question how new technologies might alter our everyday lives, and how they might impact our futures.

The core question asked within speculative design is, “What if…?”

With speculative design, we start by asking, Is this a good idea? Before asking, How do we make it happen?

Speculative design aims to provoke thought about our current world, and our possible futures, through the lense of technology.

An example of speculative design can be found in the automotive industry. During annual auto shows and media events throughout the year, car companies showcase a variety of new concept vehicles. Though they’re typically never planned for production, concept vehicles invite the public to speculate upon a future in which the vehicle exists as a part of everyday life.

Design can be a useful tool for provoking thought and discussion around what we’d like to happen in years to come, and shaping, instead of reacting to, what’s ahead.

While it’s important to design products and services to meet today’s needs, it’s also important to explore the social, ethical, and political implications of the new products and services we produce. Speculative design helps us realize that there isn’t just one way, but many ways to go forth into the future, through the roles that we play in helping it to take shape.

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