It’s easy to spot the big trends while walking the Creativation show floor. When there’s a unicorn or cactus in every booth you go into, it’s pretty apparent that is a headline trend. But one of the more important things you can take away from visiting the show floor is not the big billboard trends (although that is important too). Instead, assessing the micro trends of the industry is a task that should not be overlooked during busy show days.
[Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by AFCI and the Creativation show. Some links in this article may be affiliate links.]
Micro trends, like the micro in their name suggests, are small scale trends. They aren’t industry-consuming like macro trends are. They aren’t “in your face”. But they are noticeable little blips in the flow of the industry.
Why are micro trends important? For one, micro trends are usually cutting edge. Do you or your customer like to be on top of the latest colors or style icons? Micro trends are where you will find that, because the cutting edge comes and goes so quickly that its elements don’t have a chance to become macro trends. If they do stick around long enough to, then they are no longer really cutting edge.
The fact that some micro trends do become macro trends, becoming the next big thing, is another important reason to search down industry micro trends. What today is just an interesting thing being done by a handful of companies might tomorrow be the next industry saturation trend. Identifying that trend early helps you get on board with it- or carve out a position to counter it! Paint pouring, llamas, gold foil, succulents…they all started out as just an interesting product a few brands were doing. And then they took over everything!
Micro trends can be hard to spot because they aren’t at saturation level. At the show, immersed in the new product displays and the industry goings-on, is by far the most effective way to identify them. Reviewing products over a period of weeks, or months….they may not stand out. But at the show, when you realize that shade of yellow looks familiar from earlier in the day, or a discussion you are having is a repeat of one from this morning…you’ve possibly stumbled into a micro trend.
Here’s a few examples of some micro trends that I found at Creativation 2019:
Hero Arts has released a significant release of Art Deco style stamps and stencils recently, such as this 6″x6″ Deco in the City background stamp. But they aren’t the only ones to dabble in the retro style of Art Deco in the industry – it’s been lurking around for awhile. In 2017, Tim Holtz released an Art Deco styled alphabet as part of his Sizzix line of dies. At the same show, Graphic 45 debuted a heavily Art Deco collection called Vintage Hollywood. (While their lines frequently allude to that period, this particular collection was very up front with classic signature elements of the period.) Both of these brands are known for vintage products however and so it’s not entirely surprising to see the style from them.
Then in late 2018, we saw Art Deco start to show up from companies that didn’t specialize in hardcore vintage. BoBunny released the Something Splendid collection. And then at Creativation we got the new Hero Arts stamps and also a paper collection from Lawn Fawn with Art Deco style scallops. Given that it has escaped its vintage roots and is showing up elsewhere now, it will be interesting to see if Art Deco continues to grow as a design presence in the industry.
Whether it was the total eclipse in 2017, America’s impending return to manned space flight, or the raft of recent space themed movies…space seems to be on the mind of a significant number of product designers. Photo Play Paper did an entire space themed collection in December called To The Moon and Back. Meanwhile, other brands like Hero Arts and Doodlebug are doing moon and space themed stamps, and Sizzix has a new set of space themed dies.
The release of the spring lines is usually the time that we see yellow shades turn lemony after having been more brown in the fall lines. Instead, some of the spring lines are showing more mustard tones of yellow. Companies such as Paper House, Simple Stories, BoBunny, Authentique, and Photo Play all showed at least one line that used a more mustard tone of yellow. This micro trend is definitely approaching enough saturation to be called a macro trend!
And in a hint that they think it may stay for awhile, Lawn Fawn has released a cardstock pack they are calling “no. 2 pencil“. Is mustard no longer just a fall seaonal color? The fashion world seems to think so, and now it appears that scrapbooking is following suit.
Another micro trend that jumped out while walking the show floor was the number of stamp companies releasing sentiment-only stamp sets. Hero Arts refreshed their line with multiple new staple sets. Stampendous, Altenew, Heffydoodle, Honey Bee, Spellbinders, BoBunny and several others all have released or upcoming sentiment only stamps. While these are an industry staple, the volume of releases at once is perhaps an indicator of stamp companies shifting their sole focus back to card making as scrapbooking and planner stamp sales both decline.
What micro trends did you detect at Creativation? Tell us in the comments!