Staying competitive in today’s marketplace means making a concerted effort to stay up on the latest trends. That means knowing what’s in, what’s out — and perhaps more importantly, what’s coming next. Make no mistake, it takes work to keep up with the design Joneses. This type of self-education should be a part of your ongoing strategy and long-term business plan. As you plan out your week (because of course you do this every week, right?), build these tips into your weekly or daily schedule.
- Join Groups — on and offline. Technology makes it easy for us creative types to shut ourselves off from the outside world and actually (gulp) talk to people. But networking with other designers both online and in the real world is one of the most effective ways to stay up on the latest trends and find work. Use the internet to find local meetup groups, then shut down your computer, get out of your jammies and open your front door. Find designers who do the same type of work you do, but don’t shy away from exploring different types of design as well.
- Study the web. Search the internet for blogs and websites that speak to your particular niche, whether your specialty is graphic design, textiles or photography. Once you find a site you love, subscribe to it. This way, you’ll get email notifications when new posts publish. You can also subscribe to RSS feeds and have design news sent straight to your inbox.
- Browse design galleries. Including your competition. Sites like Hubspot and Pinterest are excellent ways to see what’s out there and get inspiration for your next great design. Take some time to browse other Zazzle stores and Etsy shops to see what other designers are featuring.
- Take webinars, workshops and classes. Learning a new skill, software or technique is an excellent way to grow your product offerings and make yourself more competitive. It’s also a good networking tool. Explore what’s available to you by doing a quick Google search or calling local universities, art galleries and community centers.
We’d love to hear how you stay “fresh” when it comes to the latest trends. Share your tips in the comments below!