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The 5 Key Influencers Driving Global Design Trends


We are all aware that consumers are influenced by trend. Trends allow us as marketers, to create freshness within our offer and drive aspiration for our clients. With an ever-increasing focus on home lifestyle both in social media and television, the management of trend within a product offer is more difficult and crucial than ever. There are so many trends to consider.

With markets becoming increasingly dynamic and hyper-competitive, businesses in many cases don’t have the time to study nor manage trend as part of a commercial differentiation strategy. Although most businesses accept the critical nature of managing trends and aligning them to their product development, brand values, and customer, the reality is there is just not enough time and too many trends to interpret and understand.

At MC&Co. we are passionate about trend interpretation and how to successfully and efficiently manage trend into a profitable result. Consequently, we study home lifestyle trend globally from both a social and product perspective. In 2018, we identify 23 important trends being exposed to consumers. From an anthropological perspective, there are 5 key influencers that are reflected in these trends.

The 5 Conceptual Elements are:

1. Nostalgia

Mid-century & 80s re-imagined

“Finding comfort in the past.”

  • Hollywood Brights – With elements of the 20th Century, Nostalgic elements include strong blocks of colour.
  • Mid-Century Mod – An extremely popular trend which includes elements of functionality, uncluttered and minimal organisation. It is also inspired by mid 20th-century design.
  • Memphis – A third trend in the Nostalgic concept. This trend originated in the 1980’s and is having a resurgence. Bold colours, cartoonish shapes, and patterns which leap out at you are at the heart of this movement.

2. Opulence

Luxe Living

“The renewed interest in luxury and prestige.”

Grand spaces and elegant intentions are what this concept is all about. A look back at times past when bigger was better.
There are three trends influenced by the theme of opulence;

  • Emerald City – Rich green colours, luxurious materials and decorative patterns define this style.
  • The Club – Built from symmetry, in pattern and layout, with Deco motifs and gold highlights.
  • Parisian Angel – A softer, more feminine trend invoking a romantic ideal, with soft pastel colours and a feeling of comfort and intimacy.

3. Grounded

Rich, handmade and “of the earth”

“A desire to reconnect with spiritual values and unplug from the digital world.”

This is one of the most influential concepts in design trends today. It is aspiring to be authentic and real.
Trends influenced by a grounded ideal include;

  • Boho – A free-spirited mixture of bohemian cultures and designs. Boho might be boldly colourful or naturals but maintains a sense of structural protest.
  • Tribal – Inspired by predominately African motifs and handicrafts however, it marries strong contemporary elements providing a sophisticated expression.
  • Modern Industrial – Influenced by masculine warehouse and loft environments. It includes rustic leather treatments, metal surfaces, recycled wood and spacious relaxation.

4. Escape

“The fantasy of bringing your vacation home.”

“I want to live my vacation every day” is the driving emotional force behind the escape influence.

  • Resort Living – A trend of grand proportions and 5-star hotel aspiration. Natural elements combine in both matt and high gloss surfaces.
  • Island Life – A more relaxed trend which is dominated by indigo and white, mixed with jute and natural grasses. It is highly commercial.
  • Exotic Traveller – A darker more masculine concept of rich, hand-worked woods and exotic artifacts.
  • Tropical – This trend has many and varied interpretations from bold botanicals to soft fern motifs. Natural materials and steel may combine. Be on the alert for this trend as it is in constant change.

5. Playfull

“A focus on frivolity over substance. A rebellion against seriousness in design.”

  • Modern Whimsy – A Millennials dream. Graphic statements and mixed palettes emerge.
  • Kaleidoscopic Living – Emerges from Spanish and Italian designers. Transparent and translucent materials overlay contemporary shapes.
  • Fancy Splendour – A sophisticated approach to eclectic modernism and is highly influenced by Hollywood and Palm Springs.
  • WOW Future – Playful futuristic elements in monochromatic white are re-emerging as a response to maximalism and over decoration.

We are confident that our knowledge of trend and our approach to commercial trend interpretation can help any business to increase sales and profit through increased customer engagement. We work with our clients to interpret the most relevant trends for their market position and customer.

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