Born to Rebel: Jeremy Gutsche of Trend Hunter

Over the next few weeks, I’m doing a campaign for Gap that features profiles of other design bloggers. The interviews are an extension of Gap’s Born To… Campaign, which is about pursuing your passion. As you may have noticed, I’m into that. Find out more about the campaign on the Facebook page here. For completists, the whole set of interviews is over here.

This is Jeremy Gutsche, author of Exploiting Chaos (due out Sept. 1), and founder of Trend Hunter, which is why he can rock this Risky Business action:

I personally think the shot would have been better in tighty whities, but Jeremy has a professional image to maintain, and I guess that means pants. Fair enough.

Trendhunter is a social network for trend spotting and innovation, which means Jeremy is the kind of guy MTV calls when they want to know what’s hip with the kids these days. He grew up in Rural Alberta racing dirt bikes, and now heads up a team of editorial interns and programmers at the Trendhunting office in downtown Toronto.

“Sometimes I’m doing graphic design, other times I’m programming, and other times I’m off in another city doing a speaking gig,” Jeremy says. “I deliver keynote speeches about five to ten times a month, so I’m typically traveling somewhere new.”

The site’s goal is to outpace mainstream media, the idea being that by the time these trends reach the printed page, they’re not cool anymore. But do his eyes ever glaze over at all the hipness? Does everything start to look the same after a while?

“By definition, we’re looking for new things,” Jeremy says. “So they don’t look the same. However, after a week of looking at TrendHunter, everything in a traditional magazine does seem boring and outdated.”

After years of trend immersion, Jeremy has developed a pretty good eye for what will hit. Common themes are creativity, elements of shock or suprise, and of course, the naughty factor. “I’m more happy to see when I am wrong [about a trend],” he says. “We’re looking for all of the little sparks that could capture viral attention, and to be surprised is actually rewarding.”

What’s on Jeremy’s radar right now:

Stupidest Trends

Self-Mutilation as Art

Danger Foods

Spoiled Pet Mania

Most Original Trends

Faking Awesome

Becoming Superhero
[ed note: I’m way ahead of the curve on this.]