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visual design trends research collection on Cronycle board

Unite market research and visual design trends with Cronycle boards

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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.

An image can be worth a thousand words

Describing an emerging phenomenon, a trend or even a product or brand update can sometimes be done more easily and effectively with a visual than with long words. For example, a graph might illustrate your point to your stakeholders better than a long PDF report would. Or, another example –  a newly launched product shot from an emerging competitor might make it clear, at a glance, what they’ll be 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.

Silos continue to be a real challenge in many organizations which 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 using different tools. While it is expected that information comes in different shapes and from different sources, and requires a different set of perspectives, 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? Besides a few breaking news stories making it to Teams or Slack, there is a lack of shared perspectives, leading to disconnects between teams, misunderstandings and, unavoidably, inconsistencies in customer experience.

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 and it has opened the doors to design inspirations. Visual assets can be collected and organized in the same workspace as 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.

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 screenshot is saved 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 on File, then on the text box inviting you to paste or drop files, and finally, paste using the keyboard shortcut (command or control + V).

paste images in Cronycle Board / file to collect and organize design trend assets and other visual information

4- Add metadata

A window opens to let you add information to the image. 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.

Adding metadata to an image pasted onto a board

5- View & modify any time

After a few seconds, the image appears on the board. 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.

Board showing visual design trends research including images

How does Cronycle compare to Pinterest when it comes to design inspirations?

Pinterest

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 can make you think 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 and industrial design.

Cronycle

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. You will not be confined 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!

Cronycle's AI-powered Topic graph with the example of industrial design

Combine both for your trend work!

Because Cronycle and Pinterest are different, each bringing value to visual design trends research, you can also combine these powerful tools. Create or identify Pinterest boards or user profiles you want to monitor. Next, generate an RSS feed from each, and 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 to the other industry-leading functionalities offered within Cronycle for product managers, designers, content managers, market 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.

Discover the power of Cronycle for Teams

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