Inspired by the Barnes Collection in Pennsylvania, where objects are curated by their common theme rather than a period in time or nationality, AWOL Trends functions as a curated database made by designers, for designers by unifying and organizing CMF and design trends throughout the creative world.
The trends within the site have been curated and organized over time with new trend reports being released weekly. With a wide breadth of design disciplines such as Architecture, Transportation, Furniture, Fashion, Product, Graphic, Digital, and Fine Art, among others being researched, the site offers a wide variety of info splashed across various inspirational trend reports. Similar to how the culinary industry has recipe books, and languages have dictionaries, AWOL Trends is essentially in the process of building an open source ‘dictionary of styles’ for designers to reference. Considering that it’s free, what’s not to love?
“Working in consultancies, we’ve been exposed to many different types of aesthetics. Over time, this pool of stylistic themes becomes enormous. We thought it would be useful to compile and track them. But while there are countless design sites out there, creating a constant feed of new visuals, no one was making sense of the broader movements, the interconnections, and the deeper currents running through our aesthetic landscape. Currently, we’re tracking over 150 trends, but we know the world-wide creative community knows even more. So we created AWOL Trends as a resource for designers to share our knowledge, and also to provide a venue for members of the community to share their own.”
For designers and teams on a limited project budget, researching CMF and design trends on trend forecasting service sites can be an extremely expensive burden, especially when tasked to come up with something ‘fresh and new’ for a unique client. While certain trend forecasting sites can pay off in the long run (such as WGSN, among others) AWOL Trends has some valuable info for those on a budget (students! freelancers!) and is definitely worth a peek for some sweet inspiration.
Using AWOL Trends
For designers: Use them as inspiration in your design process, combining them in novel ways to spark new aesthetic directions.
For creative directors: Use these trends as tools to focus and guide your team’s explorations.
For design managers: Use them to educate your internal project teams and other internal stakeholders as to the current state of design in order to better inform their decision making.
With clients: Use these as an initial temperature-taking exercise to determine their general aesthetic preferences or visions for the project. Knowing the general stylistic direction for a project before concept exploration begins will allow you to use your time more efficiently, and focus your concepts more effectively.
For Educators: Use this database to quickly familiarize your students with the world of contemporary visual design.
via AWOL Trends