There are two steps to determining a trend. The Analysis and the forecasting. Both these require a long-term commitment to the process, and a ‘natural flair’.
Trend Analysis is the process where information/data is collected over the period of analysis.
In order to find a trend (remember this is a pattern), the information must be collected over a wide range of sources, the larger the sampling and the broader the range, the more reliable the analysis will become. In the past, this was a hard task where the information had to be literally collected, not only from magazines but also newspapers, companies, consumers, exhibitions, designers and yes movies just to name a few. All this had to be placed into some ‘logical’ order and searched through to find a common thread. Imagine trying to determine colour trend patterns from all over the world, from notes, phone calls, and black and white photos! Image From MD. Ariful Haque et.al.
These days this information can be categorised and collated several times over (i.e. Say one image can be used in several files with no loss of quality). This collated information can then be recalled in a single format at once (don’t need a huge room with lots of wall space!).
However, today, the ease of information collection has resulted in more information, more widespread and faster. People from all over the world can work together without all the travelling, communication is faster, resulting in the analysis being on-time with the actual trends happening.
Trend Analysis does not just rely on collecting information on the shape and size of sofas for instance, but on other factors such as social attitude (eg sustainability), demographics, cultural influences, economics, climate, environmental awareness. The analyst must be able to find all these patterns.
Images from Morguefile