One of the most useful things I learned in school was the process of forecasting. Most designers in the fashion and home business use some forecasting, whether it be colors, actual styles, or overall moods. Informat, Inc. sells forecasting materials and has a great website where you can view what is for sale. For example, the picture above comes from Design Options and predicts the home trends for spring/summer 2008. The website includes brief descriptions of the trends. Another one of my favorites for apparel, from The Style Council, is the theme of Balmy Days for spring/summer 2008, which is pictured below. Looking at forecasting materials has always helped me find great deals and spend wisely. If something appears in the report for next year, you know that you can purchase it and still use it for another season.