This week I’m really excited to launch a special new column for the summer. Now that the bulk of our crazy season has passed (see you next year, ICFF, NSS, Surtex and offsite shows), we’ve had more time to sit and talk around our communal desk, talking about everything and anything. Some days I wish I could record the conversations that take place in our office, because they raise some really interesting topics and always make me want to open them up to a wider audience. I thought about trying to turn them into a round table radio show, but I thought it would be fun to try them as an open-post format, where everyone reading could comment. So once a week we’ll share the biggest issue or topic we’re talking about and give you the chance to chime in to share your opinions, ideas, thoughts and suggestions. Discussions will range from trade issues and design-world thoughts to more personal conversations and life questions. Today we’re tackling something inspired by last month’s trade shows: the challenge of pushing trends forward while meeting real world demands.
I’ve often left trade shows disappointed by the lack of “new”-ness. The feeling of seeing more of the same was one of the main reasons we didn’t cover the Stationery Show as intensely this year and rather than stay disappointed, I thought we should talk about what the reasons for that might have been. My concern has always been wondering what the real challenges are facing an indie paper-goods designer. Do the trends we love, consume and then move on from not move as quickly in the retail world? For example, if everyone’s tired of chevron and ombre, does that mean that those cards aren’t selling anymore? My hunch is that retail moves more slowly that the trend and taste-demands of the online community. So while we’re ready to see something new and fresh, the buying market is still demanding more of the past year’s trends.
What do think? As designers, what are the real challenges when it comes to making new work on a timely basis. Is it costly? Not time effective, or is it something you DO do regularly and find a way to fit into your collections? I’m really curious to learn more about the realities of being an independent designer (paper or otherwise) and how you balance those with the demands of an online audience that always wants to see MORE and NEW as soon as possible. xo, grace