Inside Redbubble

Identifying Trends with Katie Crumpton

By Katie Crumpton, Artist in Residence

Art school has taught me loads about creating art, but I learned way more than just drawing skills.  Other than spending most of our time drawing awesome stuff, artists also need to know the business side of the industry.  We have to market ourselves, do research, manage our own business and stay relevant.  Which brings me to the topic I’m focusing on; how to keep up with trends, and apply them to your portfolio.

"Super Cute Unicorn" by Katie Crumpton

What it means to be “trending”?

Trends are popular topics or themes that are getting major attention at the present time.  When most people think of trends they usually think about pop culture and the latest celebrity gossip.

Here I’ll be focusing more on trends in the art scene such as colors, patterns, shapes, and even animal designs.  These themes may show up quite frequently while you’re shopping or browsing the internet.

Why are trends important to artists?

As artists uploading work to Redbubble, you’re designing for the public.  You’re making designs that will go on products that everyday people can buy to express themselves and their interests.  Paying attention to themes the public is really hooked on can help your sales, or at least get more traffic to your profile. As an artist it’s important to stay relevant. Trends are always changing so it’s good to keep up, because the public is your audience and the people who purchase your art.

Where to go and what to look for?

Go window shopping.  Go to big name stores and pay attention to colors and patterns that may be repeating on clothing, furniture, or bed sheets. Pay attention to certain animals or flowers that may pop up frequently. Look in kitchenware and bathroom decor. Shower curtains usually have some sort of pattern or floral design on them. Kid’s clothing and bedding is great for finding patterns and popular animal themes. Right now it seems like owls, foxes, elephants, whales, bunnies, and dinosaurs are quite popular. Also pay attention to simple things such as colors. Turquoise is quite popular as of late too, especially in jewellery.

Look through art on Redbubble, and ask yourself if you see any popular animals or themes?  I’ve noticed sloths, unicorns, and pandas are quite popular on the internet in general.  Make a list of things you find and if you can, make sure you take photos of interesting designs you find for inspiration.  Looking through magazines and catalogs is helpful too.

How to apply it to your art?  

When creating your design, consider what you would like to see on a product. Don’t worry about being a small sheep in a herd. Look at it as a fun challenge by asking yourself, “what can I do to add my own personal twist to this trend and stand out from the crowd?”. Think of trends as a starting point, like a prompt for your creations. Remember to have fun and still be original with your artwork. Don’t feel like you have to draw something solely because it’s popular. It’s important to draw what you like because your followers can sense when you’re doing something you don’t want to. It’s easy to tell whether or not an artist genuinely had fun or forced their designs.

Go out into the world and see what you can find. Make a mental note to keep an eye out for cool stuff next time you go to your favorite store.  Write down a list of things that inspired you, or recurring themes you saw.  Take photos of these things if you can.  Put these photos in a folder or inside a sketchbook to come back to for inspiration.  Also keep in mind these photos are just to spark creative ideas for your own original work.

Happy designing!

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