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The new vanilla (or 'How Trends Work')

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Well, there’s a thing. A few articles up (the one about yellow) I made a rather tongue-in-check prediction about ‘next years colour’ and yesterday afternoon what drops into my inbox? 

“Colour of the Year 2023 - Wild Wonder’ Yep. Yellow.

Well, yellow-ish - it’s a sort-of straw colour (or hue?) - but what the heck. I’d call that.

So now I’m a (self-appointed) bona-fide Trend Spotter, perhaps it’s time to take a look a few other things that caught my eye and make some more prognostications.

Let’s have another pick at what AI is doing (or going to do. Possibly) to the creative arts. 

With releases of algorithmic updates coming faster than MSN patches for Office, now we can enjoy(! Or very shortly) the same instantness for video (or b-reel as the kids style it), on-demand custom product production, web-site asset delivery, sales automation, and possibly the Best Thing Ever - automated Excel spreadsheets.

I don’t doubt that some of these things will become actual things. They will damage the livelihoods of many - but it’s not a zero sum game where other businesses will pick up where the ones that fail to adapt (or fast enough.) 

Here’s why. 

“The most significant consequence of the internet was that it pushed distribution costs to zero. The most significant consequence of AI is that it will push creation costs to zero.”

But this simply isn’t true. The cost is there but it’s ‘hidden’. Online shopping might be killing high streets but we’re now paying for delivery - and clogging up the streets with vans.

While invoices and purchase orders aren’t being exchanged, it does cost to generate this stuff. And the more we (and by we I mean the new business models that will emerge to serve the need) punt the idea of this being ‘net-zero’ the more we’ll drive potential clients to it. 

So here’s the prediction - that these new applications won’t kill design agency, but rather that they will be neatly folded into the agency toolkit (and yes, billable) and in a while, just another fad that came to change the world and then got forgot. 

Just like picking next year’s colour.


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