Joanna Feeley is the managing director and founder of Trend Bible, her trend forecasting business. Joanna and her team have worked with a number of prestigious home interior, electronics and fashion companies providing brand strategies for future seasons. She has worked as head of trends at Tesco, and as a trend advisor at Nokia and New Look. She has also been cited in the Independent, the Financial Times and Radio 4. So we are proud to bring you the Designer Insights of Joanna Feeley.
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1) In your own words describe your unique style and creative aesthetic?
As a trend forecaster this is not something I have the luxury of exhibiting! Usually we’re looking for trends that will work for individual brands so personal style doesn’t come into it. I would say that I’m drawn to very classic design and materials for my own home, perhaps because I’m involved so much in the business of change.
2) When starting a new project, what is your creative process?
I begin every season with a Trend Panel which we host 4 times a year. We invite interesting, inspiring thinkers – anthropologists, architects, behavioural psychologists, academics, designers – to share their research and opinions with us about 27 months ahead of the season. The ideas explored and shared in these sessions underpin most of our forecasting work and are so inspiring. We then cluster and distill this research into meaningful insights for our clients.
3) Out of the creative people you have worked with, who is it that you respect and admire the most?
This has to be my amazing team! They are just so inspiring to work with, we end up having the most unusual conversations in the studio when we’re brainstorming trend ideas!
4) When looking for inspiration is there a particular thing you do to get inspired?
I’ve been inspired by art a lot over the past couple of years, particularly painting and collage. Part of our research as trend analysts is to build a calendar of cultural events for the coming two years so we always have exhibitions and films lined up to see. Once in a while there will be a really interesting film that will influence design, I’m a huge Wes Anderson fan so his most recent movie The Grand Budapest Hotel was a real visual treat – each scene was almost like a mini mood-board. (Related Article: The six stylistic themes of Wes Anderson in 45 gifs)
5) What has brought you to this point in your career? And what is your advice for people looking to follow in your footsteps?
I have always had an equal interest in creativity and commercialism which is ideal for the trend forecasting industry. I worked as a designer before I got involved with forecasting and it took me a while to figure out that I was a creative thinker not a creative practitioner, I love to problem solve and share ideas but I’m not good at making things! However the experience I gained as a designer, including understanding the process and limitations of going from 2D to 3D means I am realistic and informed about manufacturing. I’d advise anyone thinking of a career in trend forecasting to gain experience of the field they are going into. As a young graduate I volunteered to take responsibility for the trend forecasting that happened in the business for no extra pay, this often saw me staying until 10pm to fit this extra work on top of my responsibilities as a design assistant but it meant I left that job with an additional portfolio in the field I wanted to specialize in.