Home > Design, Ideas > It’s all about ‘me’: the new trend in design

It’s all about ‘me’: the new trend in design


It started with scrapbooking but will it all end in tears?

One thing I find fascinating is the field of trend forecasting where the astute trend scouts and ‘purveyors of good taste’ focus in on the activities of our everyday lives to pinpoint exactly where markets need to strategically place themselves in order to survive in the ever-changing marketplace. To not take heed to these changes and developments could be the death nail to what was once a thriving and growing business.

According to The International Herald Tribune, British experts, Future Lab, and studies conducted around the globe

“we’re moving back toward a period of dissent, and so more opinions are being expressed, and more individuality is coming out – whether it be in regards to Iraq or in regards to shopping,”

This trend has created some problems for the pre packaged marketers since the ‘just for me’ marketers are the complete antithesis of the way goods have been packaged and marketed in the past.

Here is what Future Lab has to say about trends in the marketplace and what they mean for you as a designer,

“Put simply, trends are brands, products and service opportunities waiting to happen. You ignore them at your peril. It is our job to make sure that you see their relevance, and can take advantage of the ‘gaps’ in consumer need they generally create.

You should see trends in terms of weather patterns and weather systems and work with them accordingly. As with the weather, there are always trends that rising, trends that are falling, trends that are incoming, stationary, or on the wane. And, as with the weather, they all have an impact – individually, collectively, or consequentially.

The best brands, businesses and corporations understand this. They harness trends, ride them, move with them, or work against them as the case may be; but they still understand a very simple fact: if it rains upstream, there will be a flood downstream”!

And this is exactly what is happening with the new ‘me’ phenomenon. People are looking out for products that feed their desires and unique needs. Some companies have already responded to this new trend that according to the experts is not a passing phase. Fed by people’s lifestyles, marrying later in life, increasing divorce rates, and a large pay packet, people are in a position where luxury is no longer unattainable. Having gone through training with such products as Nokia mobile phones with interchangeable covers to suit your unique personality, the ‘me’ culture has been well ingrained. Markets have responded with new products with the word ‘me’ in the brand name such as Envy Me body lotion by Gucci, Colour Me frosted nail polish by Avon, and Just Me Fragrance for women by Paris Hilton, to Watch Me, a line of flashlights.

Technology is to blame or credit. Whichever way you look at it we joined the vanity club a long time ago. The trend has been fed and led by mobile phone technology and has been further helped

“by our ability as individuals to increasingly personalize all the technology we come into contact with, whether it be the MP3 player or just your mobile phone,”

From blogging to vlogging, from ipods to laptops, markets are being created and making a lot of money.

And that, analysts said, points up one reason the trend has such long legs: It makes money for industries that are finding their traditional sources of revenue eroded by new business models.

It’s the companies that recognize and embrace the ‘me’ trend that are likely to benefit from it as we voraciously pursue and hunt down those products that truly express how we uniquely see ourselves.

Categories: Design, Ideas
  1. January 27, 2006 at 5:18 pm

    Totally agree – just look at sneaker sites like Nike and Vans where you can ‘build’ your own customised shoe!

  2. January 27, 2006 at 11:16 pm

    Yes, that’s right. And just as the larger markets are making products for personal customisation, more opportunities are created in the smaller markets via this new trend. As I mentioned in my piece on ‘Predictions for 2006’, we are going to see more DIY style products and we are going to see more and more people seeking out the hand-crafted and unique. This is exceptionally good news and I hope it gives the crafts-person/maker, more opportunity to survive in the competitive market. As we know it is increasingly difficult for the maker to survive against the influx of cheaper mass produced objects and copies. Products of labour are either underpriced in an attempt to recoup some of the costs of the making process or otherwise objects will be priced out of the market in an attempt to reflect the real costs. I hope the chances of survival will be improved by the trend and willingness to buy that unique something.

    I believe this trend will also impact dare I say, on the Museum Industry. Quite often programming has reflected an aspect of social concern, popular culture (e.g. Spinning Around or Cars and Culture @ the Powerhouse Museum) and museum collections. This is indeed a way of displaying the ‘property’ of the state with the addition of collection objects but does not always guarantee an audience. The trend has now grown to the extent that fewer objects appear from the collection in order to attract the interest of the audience – be it blockbuster mentality or a survival tactic. I guess this begs the question of the future of exhibition scheduling and public programming. Will the industry keep up to date with the changes taking place and how will this impact on the industry? You may have a few thoughts on this.

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