“Not Another” trend overload

Do we really need to see more pineapples, palm leaves and coloured foam? Have social media helped fire up creativity, or have they contributed to an incoming drought of genuinely new ideas? These and more are the questions that Sara Sturges and Daniella Treija address in their graduation project, Not Another magazine.

The repetition of themes in art and design is something I’ve found myself thinking about a lot lately, since I was assigned the task by my uni lecturers to identify, collate and categorise any recurring trends I was able to spot, using Pinterest as my chosen platform. In my case, these trends refer specifically to fashion image: anything related to art direction, locations, props, styling, casting and even post production can be affected by dominant trends, and my Pinterest account has been busier than ever because as it turns out, this activity can quickly become quite addictive.

However, trends have a sneaky tendency to seep through to a range of other sectors, and don’t limit themselves to just what we wear on a daily basis, like some might assume. If we look back to micro and macrotrends over the past century, it’s easy to see how every decade had a dominant character, a certain flow, a raison d’être of sorts, which encompassed not only clothes and accessories, but a much broader creative culture: architecture, interiors, product design, graphics and illustrations, advertisements, foods and, sometimes, the matrix of a whole new generation’s set of ideals.

“A trend can be emotional, intellectual and even spiritual. At its most basic, a trend can be defined as the direction in which something (and that something can be anything) tends to move and which has consequential impact on the culture, society or business sector through which it moves.”
—Martin Raymond, “The Trend forecaster’s handbook” (2010)

Sturges and Treija point out how the advent of image-sharing platforms such as Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram are responsible for shaping a ‘creative hive-mind mentality’ which has led to replication rather than innovation. This phenomenon of convergence of tastes and aesthethics has gotten creatives and designers stuck in a loop of regurgitation of trends, where the same motif or inspiration is reimagined, repackaged, recreated in a myriad of ways but so fast that it becomes difficult to stand out and not to drown in an ocean of design look-alike’s. “It’s absurd how repetitive design trends have become. […] Where did all the pineapples come from all of a sudden? Every photographer seems to use one for an exotic hint in pictures, but product design has also been infested with this tropical fruit. And what about all the products made from coloured foam or marble?”

These young designers’ project shines the spotlight to this phenomenon by dedicating each monthly edition to one ubiquitous design cliché, as voted by internet users on their social media. I find it a brilliant way to poke fun at these trends while at the same time remind us of the importance of finding truly original solutions and thinking outside the box (or, in this case, the black and white grid?) instead of keeping safely within the designer’s comfort zone of tried-and-tested trends.

photo credits:
WGSN blogs
Do Shop


Even though I have travelled to England many times (and even lived for about 10 months with a local family just south of London), Nottingham was never one of my destinations. As most other people (especially from out of the UK) I had of course heard of it as the land of Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham; but that’s really all I knew about it before I moved in.

So what better way of getting to know the city than to do a treasure hunt?

nottscollageDuring our first week we were split up in groups of five and sent off with nothing more than a map and a list of clues. Our lecturers seem to rather like the “small & independent” as opposed to the “big & mainstream” (which is great!), therefore most of the sites on our list were cool, sometimes proper hidden shops and cafés that just added to my already very positive impression of this city. I have no doubt that I will be going back to some of these places and actually spend some time to take it all in – especially around the Creative Quarter.

Alongside exploring and noting down the names of the shops, we were also meant to document our little adventure through photos and make a collage out of them. It wasn’t too easy to get properly organised with my group, especially since it was still Freshers’ Week and we were all busy buzzing around the campus to try new things and meet new people, but the collage up there is what we came up with in the end.

Here’s some more photos that weren’t included in the final collage (click to enlarge):