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Trendspotting - Your guide to latest trends

24-06-2011 Product Trend: Embedded Stories

Personal anecdotes have the ability to touch hearts, infuse laughter and connect the storyteller to the listener. So it’s more than understandable that consumer brands have tapped into human emotion to expand their seemingly highly emotional customer base. These empathetic people have responded to Spain-based clothing and 301 Moved Permanently lifestyle company N-spired Story by sending photos, videos, news or stories to the brand. Each month, one story is printed as an image on a limited edition t-shirt. Owners can point their phone at the t-shirt's design and link to similar content online. Other organizations like Oxfam are making connections for a good cause. Their collaboration with TOTeM (Tales of Things and

301 Moved Permanently

Electronic Memory) called RememberMe lets people attach their stories to donated personal items using Radio-frequency identification technology (RFID).

Next trends: 'We like Short Shorts (Stories)', 'Super Hero Fibre'

23-06-2011 Fancying Function over Fabulous

The Twin Chair, a design by Frenchman Phillipe Nigro highlights a new design trend: valuing function and


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utility above all. While the chair’s design is still elegant, its most prized characteristic is its ability to convert from one chair to two in a matter of seconds and vice-versa. The chair conveniently allows for space saving as well as accommodating more guests around the dinner table. Both furniture and fashion will prove to be especially useful and ergonomic in the coming years.

Next trends: 'Authenticity Trend: Imperfect Is the New Perfect', 'Minimalism Trend: Back to Basics'

21-06-2011 Eco Trend: Bring your own Container

Japan was the forerunner in the BYOC (Bring Your Own Container) or Precycling eco trend that other nations are now emulating. Japanese greenies carry around their own pair of chopsticks, water bottles and bags for grocery shopping. But when many shoppers arrive in the grocery store aisles, they’re presented with goods wrapped in an abundance of plastic and for good measure, paperback. Chicago’s Real Naked Food strips the clothes off organic foods so you buy the product, minus the packaging. Precycling has its perks too. By bringing your own washable containers to restaurants and avoiding having to recycle altogether, many restaurants like Antonella's Italian Kitchen in Pennsylvania offer discounts on meals in return.

Next trends: 'Shadows and Light', 'Dumpster Diving: Long Live Anarchism'

Online Marketing

17-06-2011 Web Design Trend: Scream your Site!

With so many websites available in every imaginable field of interest, from portfolio-based, directory or company websites, vying the attention of site visitors is becoming compelling. Internet users are dismissing products with a single click judging by the usability of their websites. You know you’re a culprit: If the site is too complicated and its readability is hindered by a small font, moving along is what’s done. Current web design trends are seeing large and concise typography rule over intricate ones. According to an array of trendy designers, there needs to be a balance. Get the message across with large, stylish icons and letters that are coupled with occasional delicate features as well.

 

Next trends: 'You Know what they Say about Big Logos...', 'Celebrating 50 Years of Helvetica'

16-06-2011 Lifestyle Trend: Fake it till you Make it!

The classic theory that appearing unavailable attracts the attention of the other sex has inspired the invention of Cloud Girlfriend. It is a fantastical online service that believes the best way to get a girlfriend is to already have one. But not everyone is so lucky in love. The website supplies a behind-the-screen live woman who becomes a faux girlfriend, posting comments on the dateless man’s Facebook wall. With some recent development, the Cloud Girlfriend site will also allow both men and women to source and communicate with a so-called partner through the website. According to its creators, although the partner is not real, the online contact can prepare the dateless man or woman for when the real prince or princess charming arrives. And, it’s a cheaper way to “date”. “Practice makes perfect”, they say.

Next trends: 'All you need are portraits of love', 'Not just your average Joe Stalker'

15-06-2011 Charge it, Don't Bin it!

The lifespan of disposable AA and AAA batteries can now be recharged, thanks to Canadian distributor and retailer RONA. Their alkaline battery charger is a first in its field as it’s capable of recharging regular disposable batteries as opposed to batteries specifically designed for recharging. The product, analysed by the International Chair in Life Cycle Assessment at École Polytechnique de Montréal, can recharge batteries in 90 minutes. The same battery can be charged up to 200 times, raising the average life expectancy of a battery from eight hours to 1,600 hours, according to RONA. The charger also introduces a great monetary saving. The energy of 200 batteries that would normally cost $1296 will now set you back a suggested $59.99 for the charger. This is surely an eco trend in the making.

Next trends: 'Eco Trend: Energy Saving Monitors', 'Energy from your Balcony'

 

10-06-2011 Design Books: Editor's Pick

Due to popular demand, our Trendspotters have researched the latest and coolest book releases for branding and design lovers. We hope you like them as much as we do:

1. Branding: Alina Wheeler’s Brand Atlas aggregates and simplifies the science behind branding. The book is packed with beautiful diagrams, designed by Joel Katz, an internationally known information designer.
2. Symbols: Our top pick this month is Angus Hyland’s Symbol . The book features over 1,300 symbols, ranging from ancient to avant-garde. It is organized into groups and sub-groups according to visual characteristics.
  3. Typography: Type Form & Function by Jason Tselentis is an absolute must for both students and professional designers. It explains the fundamentals of typography and how to use it in design.
  4. Colour Psychology: Colour Hunting by Jeanne Tanis a perfect gift idea for everybody who has a passion for design.


09-06-2011 Product Trend: Caffeine Foray

The project platform, Kickstarter introduced to the world a clever product called Coffee Joulies. They’re a food-safe, thermodynamic heat storage device that sits in your coffee, maintaining liquid heat for an extended period of time. Their coffee bean shape and polished stainless steel finish raises the bar for the design for its innovative aesthetic. It is clearly not just a gimmick. The project successfully raised its funding goal this month with 4818 backers supporting the product.

 Next trends: 'Turning Coffee into Art', 'Battle of the Espresso'

09-06-2011 Planking: The Viral Spread

Someone like Yoko Ono would label it as performance art, while others would deny its worth. However one thing is for certain: planking has become a viral meme, a concept that has cultures catching on by the minute. The recent Internet phenomenon was born by the boredom of two Australian teenagers 14 years ago. The pair called it the Lying Down Game where they would manoeuvre their stiff, plank-like bodies to fit in public spaces, much to the amusement of each other and bystanders. A Facebook page, a tragic accident and then media coverage all attributed to the notoriety of the game. But 'planking' is only one meme. Other internet memes that have been started by individuals and penetrated cultures include Lolcats, Flashmobbing and Extreme Ironing. You only need to search these keywords online to grasp their impacts.

Next trends: 'The Logical Evoloution of Blogging', 'The Balancing Act'

09-06-2011 Eco Trend: Energy Saving Monitors

We are witnessing a global shift in how homemakers and car operators are starting to save energy and thus the earth. By making our energy usage data accessible to us, an incentive arises that boosts savings of both energy consumption and expenditure. USA’s service provider OPOWER tracks the energy consumption of a household and compares it to other households in the same neighbourhood! If peer pressure is not likely to encourage progress in your home, the mere act of keeping track of energy consumption has gained a high interest using energy monitors like the sexy DIY Kyoto Wattson. Available as online purchases are Efergy’s plug-in and wireless devices, which show results in bars and pie charts on your home PC and Mac computer.

Next trends: 'Energy from your Balcony', 'The Radical Workplace'

03-06-2011 Trend Colour: Honeysuckle

Victoria’s Secret models have been styled in the colour for years. Barbie has driven cars, lived in houses and worn countless ensembles in it, too. Now, thanks to the declaration of colour innovators Pantone, ‘Honeysuckle’, a.k.a vibrant pink is the colour of 2011. “In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating colour that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues,” explains Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute. This design trend has encouraged designers and stylists to take a feather out of Barbie’s beret. Badgley Mischka and Peter Som both used this colour in feminine frocks, while interior stylists will be introducing feature walls, blankets and even lamp shades in the dynamic hue.

 Next trends: 'A World of Colour', 'Brightening up the Slums'

01-06-2011 Fashion Trend: Colour Blocking

Colour enthusiasts will be glad to know that colour blocking is back in fashion after Gucci’s 2011 Spring collection showcased bold greens, oranges and blues, all fused into single ensembles. Following suit was MaxMara’s sporty fluros and Etro’s 70’s-inspired mustards and yellows. It didn’t take long before the likes of J-Lo and Olivia Wilde transformed the looks from runway style to a highly wearable fahion trend. But it appears that the first lady, Michelle Obama was ahead of the trend, blocking colours in her clothing for the past few years. No matter what the season, wearing colours can infuse energy and joy into your mood.

 Next trends: 'Cool Fashion Trend turns to Geeks for Inspiration', 'Skirting the Floor'