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Computer Arts Collections

At the beginning of the year I wrote about a new series that Computer Arts started entitled ‘Collection’. Now half way through the first six-part volume, seems like a good time to give a brief review of the series so far.

Computer Arts have brought this series together to present a definitive guide to the core creative fields of: graphic design, typography, illustration, branding so far with photography and advertising still to follow.

Over the weekend I had a chance to read through issues 3 (Illustration) & 4 (Branding) which include in-depth special projects that show the work involved from start to finish. The illustration issue was guest-edited by Vault49 who were tasked to create two illustrations for a double-sided poster.

For Issue 4 on Branding Computer Arts invited Studio Output to build a brand for new youth organisation ‘State of Mind’, revealing their entire working process on a projekt of that scale.

The special project reports are a great insight and will be interesting for anyone that’s interested in getting into that specific field. Each issue is also filled with interviews and showcases of some rather talented people in each field with some well known faces (often featured on FFF) and some great new talents that I hadn’t come across yet.

The only part I wasn’t quite convinced by was the latest trends and movements report, produced exclusively for Computer Arts Collection by a ‘leading trend forecasting agency’. I think it would be more interesting to get different opinions from a variety of sources rather than hiring one expert to determine which trends might be popular in the following months. Which opens up an entirely different question which we should probably discuss in a separate post, how important/reliable/useful are trend reports actually? Personally I almost see trend-reports as a ‘What you shouldn’t be doing in the next 12 months’ list. What do you think?

Overall the magazines are incredible well produced and are more a substantial reference book than your standard issue graphics mag. I recommend you get your hands on a copy and see for yourself. You’ll find them in good newsagents in the UK (£15), Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million in the USA ($25), and around the world via the CA Shop.

If you do buy a copy (or have you’ve already read CA Collection) do let us know what you think.

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Have your say

    Nick Carson
    9th Jul 2012
    9:59 am
  1. Many thanks for the post, Glenn.

    The value of trend forecasting is certainly a debate that’ll run and run – and as we make clear in the Trend Report introduction, this particular section is very much about larger movements than have longevity and broader relevance, rather than flash-in-the-pan, imitation-led ‘trends’ as they’re sometimes identified.

    I’d argue that using an impartial agency that speaks to multiple voices in the industry as part of its process, and then makes an expert, informed judgment on what’s a genuine movement (and why) has more value than a collection of disparate, isolated opinions with no context – which was our thinking when we hired FranklinTill, whose founders have worked on trend reports for the likes of Louis Vuitton, Samsung, Gucci, the V&A and the Design Council.

    It would be great to hear what FFF readers think on this point, however. as we’re more than aware how controversial ‘trend forecasting’ can be!

    All the best
    Nick Carson (editor, CA Collection)

  2. Luke TongeLuke Tonge
    10th Jul 2012
    11:11 am
  3. Thanks for responding Nick, great to hear the editors point of view! Trend reports are indeed a mixed bag and controversial. I have found some very valuable when looking for examples of innovation or new technology in use across the world – but far less so in terms of pure graphic design. They are always feel too backwards looking and are usually near-identical to the previous years, covering off every potential category that could be labelled a trend. A necessary part of the marketing and design ecosystem I guess. I’d much rather see a piece of research that evaluates or traces back the rise and fall of visual trends.

  4. GlennGlenn
    10th Jul 2012
    1:55 pm
  5. A report on recycled trends and the whole retro generation would actually be quite interesting Luke.

  6. Nick Carson
    10th Jul 2012
    7:55 pm
  7. Thanks Luke

    It’s a sound point in terms of technological innovation vs graphic design – certainly the definition of a ‘trend’ is very different between those two fields – and it’s always interesting to hear how readers respond to our treatment and analysis of them. Have you read any of our issues so far?

    Due to the nature of the series, over the course of the year our trend reports are sub-divided according to the cover topics (graphic design, typography, illustration, branding, photography and advertising).

    We cover one broader ‘macro’ trend, which has impact on the whole creative spectrum, and a series of smaller, more visually-driven ‘micro’ trends that are more focussed. These cross-reference each other across the series, and as part of the next series, we plan to reflect back on how they’ve evolved and developed, as well as looking further forward again.

    We have actually touched on the retro / recycled theme a few times in our reports so far, it’s an interesting topic for sure. Would be great to hear any further feedback from the FFF community.


  8. Sam MallettSam Mallett
    12th Jul 2012
    12:51 pm
  9. I’ve got little time for this so-called ‘Trend Forecasting’. I’d agree with you, Glenn — they’re often just a list of things to avoid doing.

    Sometimes they seem to render themselves useless by covering everything that could be seen as a ‘trend’ and not really saying anything, other than here’s a lot of work split into groups containing pieces that look a bit the same.

    One example here:

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