Following trends is a part of many creators in all creative mediums: design, fashion, music, film, whatever. It’s only natural: you see what people want, then you give it to them. What’s the problem, you might ask?
Well, that system, while fine for short-term gains and immediate profits, is fundamentally broken. In fact, there are 5 reasons why you shouldn’t create ‘flavor-of-the-week’ designs.
By choosing to instead hone in on and dominate your own style – even while following trends – you’ll set yourself up for long-term benefits:
- More profit
- Less unnecessary work
- An identifiable brand
- Clients coming to you
- A more meaningful impact to the world
Again, you could even be following trends, as long as you’re conscious that it isn’t the most viable long-term strategy for your design career and instead focus on honing in and dominating your own style. You get your needed short-term benefits while building your foundation for a butt-kicking and long-lasting design career.
So read on to find out 5 reasons why you shouldn’t create trendy designs:
Top 5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Create Trendy Designs
1. Your work will become dated
This one is pretty obvious. Trends come and go, so any work you create that follows a trend will automatically become dated years later. That glossy, reflective web 2.0-style website? Dated years later. An Apple-aping mobile app interface? Dated years later. You get the picture.
Now granted, this isn’t as critical for client-based work, where they specifically request a style and the work would’ve been one-off anyway. But for passive income generators – selling themes, icons, graphics, creating a store, and so forth – this is a problem, because…
2. You’ll make unnecessary work for yourself
This is an extension of #1. Because your design work’s lifespan is automatically shortened due to it being of the time and not timeless, you’ll have to constantly follow trends, see what’s hot, reinvent your style, learn new techniques that you may not be into, and on top of that create new designs to replace the outdated unhip ones.
Plus, any themes, icons, and graphics that you designed for passive income selling will become outdated and unprofitable. So you’ll have to constantly design new of-the-moment stuff to replace your outdated designs – instead of adding to still-profitable timeless designs and increasing your long-term profits.
So basically: lots of busywork. Time that could otherwise be spent just creating new designs and further pushing your own style that you’re dominating.
Even for client work many of those tasks would apply. Rather than clients wanting your own style, you’ll need to constantly research the latest and trendiest styles – and then go and pursue clients.
3. Clients won’t necessarily come to you
As mentioned, since you don’t have your own desirable style but instead are creating in whatever the current trendy style is, you’ll have to do more work finding clients. Clients won’t come to you since you won’t have as unique and desirable a style and ethos.
After all, if you’re creating designs that are in the same current style as every other designer out there, what separates you from them? Why would a client choose you over them, much less independently seek out your non-existent unique style?
4. No identifiable brand will be established
These reasons just keep feeding into each other: this is an extension of #3. The reason why clients won’t come to you is that, by only creating trendy designs, you don’t have an identifiable brand. You are creating in the style that all the other designers are creating in, after all.
Not having an identifiable brand isn’t just a sexy thing. Sure, everyone wants to have their own brand and unique identity established – it’s cool and it attracts members of the opposite sex. No, having an identifiable brand established is also important from a business standpoint. Why would someone choose a Nike shoe over, say, a Reebok? Because the brand resonates with them more, or the Nike brand screams #1 and champion more than Reebok.
It’s no different for designers: the reason a client might choose designer A over designer B is because the brand is more attractive, more cool, more unique, and associated with the right clients. Just look at any of your favorite designers and design firms – web, visual, and otherwise. It’s very likely the reason you like them is because of their unique style and ethos, not because they create trendy designs just like everyone else.
So dominating your own style and establishing your unique identifiable brand is what gets clients finding and coming to you. And you don’t get that by only creating trendy designs and not separating yourself at all from other designers.
5. You won’t make as world-changing of an impact
This is less tangible a reason but perhaps the most important one. By simply following trends, what kind of a impact are you creating in the world? Forget the design community and clients, think bigger: are you making as world-changing a dent in this world as you can by limiting yourself to creating trendy designs? In the style that all the other designers are also creating in.
The world doesn’t need more me-too’s. People want something fresh, unique, positive, life-improving. A design can do that for a client, if it’s fresh, unique, positive, and life-improving enough. And you get that by dominating your own style and then offering your unique contribution to them – not by simply creating a trendy design that other designers are also offering.
Why You Shouldn’t Create Trendy Designs
Yes, creating trendy designs can get you short-term benefits: clients, sales, profits. But as these 5 reasons have hopefully shown, it’s not the best long-term strategy. A much more viable path is to hone in on and dominate your own style. You could even be doing that while creating trendy designs – hey, we all have to pay the bills after all. As long as you remain conscious of the fact that it’s not as viable long-term as dominating your own style and creating more profit, getting clients to come to you, and making a more meaningful impact to the world.
Your Turn To Talk
Do you create in your own style rather than only creating in the latest and trendiest styles? Share your favorite reasons for dominating your own style – and real-world benefits that resulted because of that. Of course if you disagree, we wanna hear about it, too. Take a minute to chime in and leave a comment below.