Brand Strategist

Curiosity Matters

An Exploration of Branding, Design and Cultural Trends

Recent Cultural Trends

I've recently piled all my stuff that was in a storage, into my parent's house in NJ as discussed in my other blog Wandering & Pondering here. The process of going through boxes I packed last August had me thinking about how my "stuff" plays a part in defining who I am. While I was in San Francisco, I felt weightless, flying across country with only 3 suitcases including a refined version of my wardrobe, a few books and of course my computer. There was the possibility of a new beginning. But as I leafed through my books after taking them out of their boxes a few weeks ago, I realized that the objects we collect have an imprint on us - there's a give and take. A quick scan through my bookshelf reminds me of different periods of my life and ongoing interests, from my obsession with Italian Renaissance history to non-fiction science and history. I was inspired to revise the plot to my novel in progress, delve into an old box full of one hundred year old family photos and newspaper articles, and even unload some books to de-clutter. A few times last week, I discussed wanting to have a huge, built in bookshelf in my future apartment when I finally decide to "settle," despite probably eventually getting a Kindle or iPad. I visited a friend who lives in a classic Upper West Side apartment with just that, passed down through her family. I scanned someone's bookshelf who had recently moved after living in one spot for nearly a decade. He declared that he would limit his book collection to this one shelf and would only keep books that were worthy enough for it. And then I met an incredibly interesting, intelligent philosophy teacher who declared that one should never throw a book away because you never know when you'll want to find a quote or read it again. Then ironically, yesterday, I opened the printed version of The New York Times to this article, about interior design firms that curate book collections for their clients. The Times points out that "as it happens, the-book-as-relic was forecasted by marketers. Ann Mack, director of trend-spotting for JWT New York, the marketing and advertising agency, noted in her trend report for the coming year that “objectifying objects,” she said, “would be a trend to watch.”

Quoting from her report, she added: “Here’s what we said: ‘The more that objects become replaced by digital virtual counterparts — from records and books to photo albums and even cash — watch for people to fetishize the physical object. Books are being turned into decorative accessories, for example, and records into art.’ ”

Maybe that's why Moleskin's have become so popular. Most of my thinking is done on a computer but I prefer to put my extra special, private thoughts in my Moleskin. Despite the convenience of digital, physical objects have a power and energy all their own.

For more interesting trend forecasting, you can check out this JWT Slideshare document here.

JWT: 100 Things to Watch in 2011

View more presentations from JWTIntelligence.