This product update and tutorial describes the reason and ways to collect visual inspirations to either unite market and visual design trends research. Or simply collect snippets of information that come in visual form. A Cronycle board is a good option as a collaborative image repository for market intelligence.
An image can be worth a thousand words
A visual often makes it easier to describe an emerging phenomenon, a trend or even a product or brand update, compared to long words. For example, a graph might illustrate your point to your stakeholders better than a long PDF report would. Or a newly launched product shot from an emerging competitor makes it clear what they’re releasing.
However, relying only on visuals can easily be misleading, resulting in a variety of interpretations. As a result, we believe that market research, horizon scanning, research for product innovation and even competitor monitoring all benefit from the combination of text and visual content.
The problem with disconnection between visual design trends and market research
Silos continue to be a real challenge in many organizations. This impacts many daily activities, leading to both inefficiencies and compromises. Market and visual design trends research are usually disconnected – done by different teams, with different methods and tools. It is expected that information comes in various shapes, from a diversity of sources, and requiring a different set of perspectives. But it is worrying that little to nothing is done to unite market and visual design trends research during the analysis and synthesis phases. How commonly do designers, product managers and marketers share regular updates with their findings and inspirations? Collaborative image repositories are extremely rare. Besides a few breaking news stories making it to Teams or Slack, there is a lack of shared perspectives. This leads to disconnects between teams, misunderstandings and, unavoidably, inconsistencies in customer experience.
How to use a Cronycle board as a collaborative image repository for visual design trends research?
Many product marketing managers, product and innovation professionals, market researchers and content marketeers have adopted Cronycle. Recently, we’ve added the ability to easily collect and organize images on Cronycle boards. This make a board an ideal collaborative image repository. This alone has opened the doors to design inspirations. But there is more! You can collect and organize visual assets in the same repository as other forms of market intelligence, competitor monitoring and horizon scanning.
This is a game changer for hybrid teams or those who want to collaborate and build a stronger mindshare. It is also extremely useful for marketing and product teams working in industries where visual design trends are critical – such as furnishings, fashion, packaging and manufacturing. And for any other instance when an image is indeed worth a thousand words and a collaborative image repository highly valuable.
You can truly collect images from anywhere on your computer to your boards. This makes Cronycle an extremely versatile market research software solution for collecting visual design trends that inspire you from an infinite amount of sources. Here are the simple steps:
1- Display the visual
Zoom in or out to view what you want to capture on your screen. A 4K monitor or retina display will give you better results thanks to higher pixel density, but aren’t necessary.
2- Capture and copy
Use a screen capture tool that allows you to take a screenshot and copy it directly to your computer’s clipboard. Built-in options work as follows:
- On Mac, the shortcut is command + control + shift + 4 to specify the area to capture, or command + control + shift + 3 to capture the entire screen. In both cases, the computer saves the screenshot to the clipboard.
- On Windows, press Windows + Shift + S. This brings up a Windows app called Snip & Sketch, also accessible from your Windows app menu. Your cursor turns into a plus sign, and you get a small toolbar at the top of the screen to select a rectangular clip, a freeform clip, or just take a shot of the entire screen. The clip is saved to the clipboard.
If you want to take a section of a web page longer than what you can display or add visual annotations right away, you can also use Edge Web Capture.
3- Paste into Cronycle
Open the Cronycle board where you want to collect the image. Click once on the light grey zone and use control+V to paste the image in your clipboard.
4- Add metadata
A window opens to let you add information to the image before saving it to the board. For example provide context to the visual design trend via a title, summary and/or tags. All these are optional, but whether you use them or not, you’ll need to confirm the image upload with the blue button. You can also paste more images, one by one, in the box to paste or drop files. This makes batch additions easy – the resulting images will have the same title, summary and/or tags.
5- View & modify any time
After a few seconds, the image appears on the board – the collaborative image repository. You can modify its title, summary and tags at any time. You can also communicate and discuss design trends with your board collaborators with comments (use mentions to trigger notifications) and votes. Finally, the original file is visible from the content reader.
How does Cronycle compare to Pinterest when it comes to design inspirations?
Pinterest is a great tool to quickly discover inspiration, save images found on the web and keep them organized. Its suggestion algorithm is extremely powerful… But it can make you think that all bedrooms are green if you happen to pin a few green bedrooms!
Like any tool, it has limitations that are particularly problematic in a professional context, including the following:
- Unable to save images found elsewhere than on a compatible web browser (think of any visual you could view from all your native apps, email attachments, messaging apps, etc).
- Impossible to easily capture video frames.
- Incompatible with many websites that block saving images, including online presentations and e-magazines. This is actually a growing problem for anybody doing visual design trends research. While the Pinterest workaround to find a similar image works nicely with well-shared interior or graphic design inspirations, it’s not as effective with freshly published images, niche inspirations and areas where Pinterest is less commonly used such as UX, industrial design and market diagrams.
Cronycle is very different when it comes to suggestions: it lacks algorithms to analyze visuals so it won’t suggest images at all. Its discovery engine is based on semantics mentioned in textual content, and an expertise network made of nearly 3 millions entities. The benefit of this approach is that it is user-agnostic. Cronycle will not confine you to a rabbit hole of green bedrooms and you’ll avoid many blindspots. Instead, you’ll be able to discover what bedroom design experts share and discuss that match filters you configure and control, without having to worry about past actions. Finally, the simplicity of pasting images captured as screenshots makes it work universally on any visual that your computer can display – and that’s a lot! And finally, Cronycle boards are made for collaboration, so this is truly a collaborative image repository.
Combine both for your trend work!
Cronycle and Pinterest are truly different. Each brings value to visual design trends research, so why not combining them? Create or identify Pinterest boards or user profiles you want to monitor. Next, generate an RSS feed from each. Monitor these sources in Cronycle feeds where you can aggregate, filter and combine with other sources. Check our dedicated step-by-step guide here.
Sometimes images can tell a richer story than just words alone can. That’s why we’ve added visual design trend research support and collaborative image repository to the functionalities offered within Cronycle for product managers, designers, content managers and competitive researchers and analysts. If incorporating visual trends research into your workflow would help you increase your collaboration, clarity, and influence with your team and stakeholders, let us show you Cronycle. We’re confident you’ll quickly see how integral to your work our tool can become. Just like storing and sharing images, seeing Cronycle in action will make it clear how powerful this tool can be.