Taste vs. Trend

I personally hold that there are four factors in design:

  1. Time - The sheer number of moments you have to channel inspiration
  2. Technique - The skills you bring into the project
  3. Tools - The implements you shape reality into vision
  4. Taste - Your ability to distinguish good from bad

I will get around to posting on all 4, but for now I will settle on what I think is the most pernicious: taste.

Today's Web is Tomorrow's Bad Decade Cliche

There was a point in human history where colored clothing, not even to say elaborate printing, and visual art were possessed by only the rich.  Mud farmers wore sacks and their only color was brown.  Nowadays, printing and digital technology has enabled us to turn our chests into billboards, our cities into magazines, and truly any work on the web into a palm-sized buffet of art.  So, why do we still fall prey, after millions of years of evolution and thousands of years of graphic design, into vicious fads like Neon?

Because we most often rely not on Taste, but on Trend.

Trend is the artificial sweetener of culture, feeling the same on first impression, but giving you cancer if you put it in coffee (NOTE: Do not put graphic design in coffee, it make the design soggy and the coffee unfashionable).  It often holds a spark of inspiration that may thunder into the future, but most often, it's something we'll regret later.  I don't think a single blog post could hope to innoculate you against Trend, since even if we see it coming, often customers demand Taste comes wrapped in Trend.  You know it when you see it and you need to listen to that voice that says: maybe this is the next mullet.

So, since we're halfway through the year, let's see what's trending in web design...

http://webdesignledger.com/tips/web-design-trends-in-2011

So, what's here to stay and what's just a trend?