April 13, 2010 • Sarah Schwartz
10 Designers to Watch in 2010
How well do you know your favorite style maker?
It’s been said that clothes make the man. If that’s so, then stationery makes the designer. And if that’s the case, examining 10 top stationery designers may reveal quite a bit about what’s coming down the design pike. Knowing how a popular line performs sheds light on consumer preferences, while getting a sense of a designer’s inspirations and indulgences adds meaning to existing product.
To that end, Stationery Trends picked 10 designers who can be defined as trendsetters as opposed to trend followers. Some are well-known and longtime strong performers, while others are new to the game.
Bella Ink Designs
Aesthetic of the Line: Inspired by the latest fashion and color trends, it’s (both) playful and chic.
Current Best-Seller: Our stationery sets are a huge hit!
Personal Favorite: Our new line of two-sided writing paper.
Surprise Hit: We can’t keep our Crazy Margarita Couple in stock!
Iconic Selection: Our classic “Bella Ink Girl” is the star of many wedding, baby and party invites; the girl really gets around.
Favorite Color: Pantone 518; it’s black with a twist.
Current Design Obsession: Hand drawing and painting my own patterns.
Favorite Flower: Orchids.
Favorite Indulgence: Wine and cheese.
Aesthetic of the Line: A modern re-interpretation of classic children’s motifs and designs that still retain a timeless quality.
Current Best-Seller: The Binth Baby Book.
Personal Favorite: The “Joker” Playing Card Deck
Surprise Hit: The Single Letter Alphabet Prints. The fact that they come pre-framed, ready to hang or stand has really helped their success.
Iconic Selection: Binth Matching Game.
Favorite Color: It’s hard to have one favorite, as I believe a color’s beauty and importance is in relation to the context of its environment. So mine is whatever color I happen to be hand mixing for a print run.
Favorite Design Obsession: I think I am finally getting over my obsession with vintage European playing card decks and moving on to vintage chess sets from the mid 1800s to1900. They’re really beautiful little sculptures.
Favorite Flower: Antique Sweet Pea.
Favorite Indulgence: Belgian Trappiste beer.
Dabney Lee Woglom
dabney lee stationery & AT HOME
Aesthetic of the Line: Dabney lee is modern + fresh stationery + gifts adding style + glamour to your everyday life.
Current Best-Seller: Our recipe box.
Personal Favorite: The stationery box set.
Surprise Hit: Our salt and pepper shakers.
Iconic Selection: Our Lucite tray.
Favorite Color: Pantone 361 green has always been my favorite, but I must admit I am really into tangerine right now; I love how bold it is, and I think it’s a great color for all seasons. Plus it goes with great colors like fuchsia, ocean blue and yellow.
Favorite Design Obsession: I am obsessed with J. Crew and Jenna Lyons (their creative director). Jenna seems to ooze sophisticated casual chicness, and she has an amazing eye for color trends. I love her fresh approach on mixing old and new and not being afraid to wear COLOR!
Favorite Flower: I really love fuchsia peonies — not pink, but really bold fuchsia.
Favorite Indulgence: A really hot bath on a cold night or a fabulous pair of shoes.
Aesthetic of the Line: Organic and geometric patterns combined with beautiful artwork and type for sometimes modern, sometimes classic, but always timeless designs.
Current Best-Seller: Graceful Orchid.
Personal Favorite: Lucinda, featuring wood grain and lovebirds.
Surprise Hit: Margaret.
Iconic Selection: Get Well Soon Henry.
Favorite Color: Moss or PMS 578.
Current Design Obsession: CB2.
Favorite Flower: Pale green cymbidium orchid.
Favorite Indulgence: Aveda hair products and Laura Mercier makeup.
Dutch Door Press
Aesthetic of the Line: Our designs blend modern design with patterns
and icons inspired by traditional folk art of Northern Europe.
Current Best-Seller: Our Birds and Blooms of the 50 states prints.
We have designed and printed six states so far, with more to come.
Personal Favorite: I am really loving our new 2010 calendar. The colors
we choose feel a little vintage and are different from the combos we
Surprise Hit: As funny as it is, our “Dad, you rock” card has sold so well, even not specifically for Father’s Day.
Iconic Selection: Our windmill print really says, “Dutch Door Press.”
Favorite Color: RED! Not too pink, with a touch of orange.
Favorite Designer: I love the prints and dishcloths (from) Atelier LZC. Favorite Flower: The California poppy.
Favorite Indulgence: Paper! I honestly can’t resist cute stationery, wrapping paper and prints. I have stacks and rolls of it at home and at our studio.
Anna Griffin Inc.
Aesthetic of the Line: Beautiful old world floral patterns, romantic ribbons, luxurious details, extravagant layers and elegant sophistication set our line apart.
Current Best-Seller: A die-cut, vellum-wrapped wedding invitation with intricate lace detailing and signature hand-tied ribbon.
Personal Favorite: From the hand-folded vellum fan to the intricate scroll patterns paired with glitter and ribbon accents, my favorite invitation makes you want to celebrate!
Surprise Hit: Animal prints are so different from the florals I’ve done in the past. So when several of the items in the collection turned into best-sellers, it was definitely a surprise.
Iconic Selection: The sage green toile antique jacket invitation captures the signature Anna Griffin look. It has the all the elements that make up an Anna Griffin product: pattern driven, 3-D, amazing color, embellished and, above all, beautiful.
Favorite Color: Shell pink. I am constantly reinventing (it) within my lines. I love (its) subtle elegance.
Favorite Designer: Dorothy Draper. We share that same love of larger-than-life scale and vivid color. Although she was an interior designer, I can relate to her in my work because I create pattern collections much like you would decorate a room. I call myself an interior decorator for paper.
Favorite Flower: Pink peonies.
Favorite Indulgence: Reality TV, I can’t get enough of it. From “The Bachelorette” and “Big Brother” to “Project Runway,” it is my guiltiest pleasure!
Whitney English Kolb
Aesthetic of the Line: Whitney English collections have a classic aesthetic, with a modern interpretation. It’s recognized for its constant reinvention of current trends.
Current Best-Seller: This design was an accident — I was working with several files and dropped a bright colored dot onto a zebra print, and instantly fell in love.
Personal Favorite: “Bird on Branch.” We used the blue Bird on Branch for one of my baby showers.
Surprise Hit: Our personalized candle originated out of several requests from customers, after they experienced our signature “classic” scent. Customers were inspired by our monogram, and asked for candles with personalizable options.
Iconic Selection: Our Acrylic Clipboards are recognized as the industry’s “original.”
Favorite Color: Aqua. The French invented it, now seen in flaky gray shades on fabulous antiques. Tiffany made it classic. It works for boys or girls, weddings or babies, birthdays or cocktail parties. In decor, it’s as a soothing neutral.
Design Obsession: Black and white. It’s a trend, but a classic at the same time. It will always go with everything, and can change from modern to classic and back again.
Favorite Flower: Roses. Gobs and gobs of roses. Throw in an occasional lily, and you have a fragrance fit for royalty.
Favorite Indulgence: Chocolate? Six-hundred thread-count sheets? Prada shoes? Back rubs? Actually, as a new mom, I’d say my current favorite is sleep. And being able to help others achieve their dreams.
Prentiss Douthit LLC
Aesthetic of the Line: Simply elegant and playfully
Current Best-Seller: A birth announcement that frames the baby’s information in a cloud of pink or blue flourish.
Personal Favorite: The flower’s petals on this invitation are like a couture gown. Maybe it will match some stylish bride’s dress.
Surprise Hit: This simple, yet striking, floral correspondence card.
Iconic Selection: Simple designs that are quietly stylish.
Favorite Color: On my cards I’m always reaching for a soft, dirty French blue; similarly when I’m shopping for shirts.
Current Design Obsession: All things home and garden.
Favorite Flower: Rose: “Mr. Lincoln” or “New Dawn;” spring brings crane’s bill geraniums, peonies and good gaudy irises. I love late summer/autumn blooms of Mexican sage paired with old-fashioned Ryan’s pink mums.
Favorite Indulgence: Estate sales. It’s all about getting up early, standing in line and laughing with friends. Oh, and of course all the fun junk!
TamTam Design Studio
Aesthetic of the Line: A sweet, simple mix of childhood nostalgia, a bit of whimsy and a kaleidoscope of color! I’m inspired by the sweetest and smallest details in everyday life.
Current Best-Seller: “Sweet Birthday Wishes,” the 2008 Louie Award Winner for Card of the Year, Above $3.
Personal Favorite: “Folksy Congrats.”
Surprise Hit: “Thanks So Very Much.” This was the last card that I designed while planning our first collection, and it took me a long time to get right. It’s now our third best-selling card!
Iconic Selection: My “Merry and Bright” Christmas card was my first design and the one that set the tone for what I wanted the whole line to convey.
Favorite Color: Fuchsia with a touch more purple than pink. It’s in the center of the TamTam logo!
Current Design Obsession: Reworking vintage patterns and motifs into modern designs. The patterns on old Pyrex are an obsession, as is the art of paper quilling.
Favorite Flower: Lilacs! The smell, the shape and especially the color.
Favorite Indulgence: Waking up to a warm chai latte and taking the time to truly enjoy it before the day gets crazy.
Vera Wang Fine Papers through William Arthur
Aesthetic of the line: Vera Wang Papers are distinctive because they have the same sense of whimsy and detailing my clothing does.
Current Best-Seller: One is our Laser-Cut Notes.
Personal Favorite: Designs that feature deep embossing. I’m always amazed by the dimension and texture that can be created on a simple sheet of paper.
Surprise Hit: Our Bold Embossed Notes. They feature embossed designs from my apparel collection. I think (their) success is due to the scale of the prints and the bold colors.
Iconic Selections: The ones that are based off of my china patterns like Grosgrain and Vera Lace. They translate beautifully to paper and are timeless.
Favorite Color: One of my favorites is navy blue. It’s my personal black.
Favorite Designer: There’s no piece that I treasure above all else. I adore a twisted T-shirt from Margiela as much as Junya Watanabe’s “conceptual wearable works of art,” a Prada wrinkled gold metallic mid-calf skirt as well as a Simply Vera top.
Favorite Flower: Brown roses.
Favorite Indulgence: Dunkin’ Donuts. It’s one of life’s guilty pleasures.