Where the winds blow this autumn
What's happening in the communications industry right now? And what does the future hold? Two icons in the industry respond to tricky questions regarding what's to come. Grab a cup of coffee, sit comfortably and read on about trends and tendencies for this fall!
Craig Johnson, USA
Vice President Global Marketing: Malibu and Kahlua at The Absolut Company.
What's happening within your line of business at the moment? What is the main topic you and your peers are talking about?
"The biggest discussion is how to generate consumer engagement as marketing channels fragment. Old business models are being disrupted across most categories, how do we disrupt our marketing model within a new and always changing paradigm."
What do you see as visual trends right now?
"Joy, happiness and freedom are paramount in visual trends. Brands, consumers and cultural signposts have been so pessimistic, serious and dark for the last many years- people are moving in contrast to those in a new contemporary way."

What are the challenges in your area of work at this time?

"Content demands are at an all-time high, but the old client/agency model is not designed to answer that demand. How do we create relationships with content producers and agencies that can create a new approach to meet the demand."

What do you think is important in order to you make visual content relevant and most of all coherent?

"Brand fit, consumer fit based on insights."
John Mellkvist
A recognized design and branding strategist, whose trend spotting insights can be found in the trade press and lifestyle publications. John is a popular inspirational speaker and often comments on new market trends and brand issues in various media. Read more about John on his website: www.mellkvist.com.
What do you see as visual trends right now?
"Sustainability is the single strongest global trend right now. It affects the design, which wants to work toward restrained, homegrown expression. Package design may well be modest and understated, for an honest experience and to shed even more light on the product and its characteristics. The same applies in architecture, where shacks, huts and barracks in the new updated vintage styles signal the desire for a smart, sustainable lifestyle."
"Also concepts like independence and freedom are increasingly important, especially for the younger generation. Other visual trends worth mentioning are geometric patterns and various visual tricks such as mirrors and optical illusions."
What are the challenges in your area of work at this time?
"In my role as a consultant I would like to get more companies to realize the inherent power of showing and utilizing their weaknesses. Everyone has flaws, not the least in the business world - and the now fully open consumer dialogue online - where followers can quickly launch an avalanche of bad will - has made ​​humility towards this fact important."

"The flaw in itself may be difficult to sell but is also a great starting point to move towards something better. And it is precisely such forward movements that create the attractiveness and loyalty that all companies seek."
"One example is the clothing company Patagonia. They have shown that it is possible to create sympathy by being open about their inevitable contribution to environmental degradation - as the company "which happens to manufacture clothes" in the next breath, in an effective and captivating way, show how they are struggling to minimize that very same impact. This insight is a reminder of what Avis showed in their classic ad from the 60's: "Avis needs YOU. You don't need Avis. Avis never forgets this." Immortally good communication."
How do you make your visual content follow a thread?
"The most important thing is that companies clearly articulate why they exist and for whom. Then it is easier to design the communication so that it strikes the right chord every time. What may sound obvious, but still worth mentioning every time, is how much more important it is that the expression supports company objectives rather than the current trend. And not least, let a competent person determine whether that is so. It is easier to see from the outside, and it is always worth the money."
Any advice for those who want to be in the visual forefront?
"Train your eye for images and acceptance of new expressions. A great way to sharpen this ability is to regularly visit new art exhibitions. The world is becoming increasingly more visual where new expressions rain on us every day at accelerating speed. All we can do is to acknowledge that social media plays an increasingly important role in the shaping of how we see the world, and these channels are becoming increasingly more image-driven."

"One of the clearest examples of this was when Facebook purchased Instagram for 1 billion US dollars, despite the fact that Facebook had its own good picture functionality. Generation Z - born after 1995 and the next major group of customers - have been trained since their early years to be intuitively driven image communicators. To bridge the generation gap it is important that older generations naturally understand how younger people communicate. So invest in images - you will not regret it!"
TIP New photos have poured in over the summer
Our photographers have not just been lounging around in the summer sunshine. We have received over 1,500 new images during the recent summer months!
Screensaver all dressed up for autumn
Johnér's answer to mindfulness! An inspirational screensaver in calendar form where images gently change. Free to download so you can enjoy a vivid picture selection when the computer is resting! The pictures are exchanged seasonally and right now there are especially lovely autumn feelings in the screen saver.