July 23, 2016 • Sam Ujvary
Putting the ‘B’ in CeleBrations
By Keith Loria, Special to Stationery Trends
Things can sometimes change fast in the stationery world, as new trends develop and new generations of party planners start shopping for invitations and announcements for their events.
Over the past few years, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, baby and bridal invitations and announcements have all gone through style transformations, and it’s important that retailers stay with what their customers are craving.
When it comes to stationery geared toward a Jewish child’s ascension to adulthood in the eyes of the religion — be it by Bar or Bat Mitzvah — every celebrant wants to show his or her personality.
“We find that today’s teens have a very defined sense of self. They know what they like, where they are going and what they are all about,” observed Kerry Amidon, product manager, Checkerboard. “They can convey this verbally and visually, and they want it reflected into their theme. Celebrants are looking for their invitation to show who they are to friends and family.”
So while party planning for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs used to be about simply picking a color scheme, now it is about building a brand for the celebrant and tying that branding through the entire event, from the save-the-date to the final thank-you note and everything in between.
Ramon Gomez, creative director, Envelopments, echoed that non-traditional B’nai Mitzvah invitations embrace bold color, striking graphic design and tend to revolve around themes that showcase the individual personalities and interests of the celebrants.
Otherwise, the company puts a modern twist on traditional Mitzvah elements like the Star of David, Torahs and Tallits. “When themes aren’t established, geometric patterns, color palette or eclectic typography lead the visual dance,” he noted. “Unlike wedding invitations, which tend to appear more serious while blending two distinct personalities, the whimsy of Mitzvah invitations is that they have the opportunity to go for it, in any direction.”
Whether it’s an invitation to baby shower, an announcement of a new arrival or a thank-you note for a gracious baby gift, stationery in the baby category has seen some changes over the last year.
“While photo cards as birth announcements will always be in style, designs that use multiple photos that highlight features like hands, toes, etc., are becoming more popular,” said Gomez. “Couples are getting more creative with baby names, and festive typography or hand-lettering is the best way to show it off. The best birth announcements start with a captivating photo, and while it’s not difficult to capture an adorable snapshot, the latest trend is incorporating props into flat lay photos.”
As for baby showers, Gomez sees a few trends in party types that can be reflected upon the invitations. “Gender-reveal parties build anticipation for the celebration and are the perfect excuse for modern, gender-neutral color palettes,” he said. “Sip-and-sees are the perfect blend of being baby-centric, while giving adults permission to let loose over cocktails and finally, baby sprinkles are for showers that carry through a theme with donuts, ice cream or any dessert. Envelopments offers designs in all of these themes.”
Here come the brides
Foil continues to dominate wedding invitations and announcements, emphasized Karla Cushman, creative director, Kleinfeld Paper. “It’s used on typography, embellishment, even envelope linings. It’s used in classic designs, romantic designs, and of course modern designs. Once just gold and silver, other foil colors like rose gold, metallic blue, and even black are being used (with) stunning effect.”
Foil stamping pairs well with other processes, too. For example, save-the-dates with a couple’s photo paired with foil accents are popular in the Kleinfeld Paper line, and Cushman pointed out the contrast of shiny foil with traditional letterpress is always a successful coupling.
Another popular trend Cushman sees are accents and artwork that show the artist’s hand, such as watercolor brush strokes, dip-dye washes, sketched motifs and loose calligraphy — all showcasing craft, love and authenticity.
Luxurious details such as painted edges and super-thick, flush-mounted papers are also in demand with the Kleinfeld Paper clientele.
“While all shades of grey are a classic choice for wedding, metallics are all the rage,” Cushman explained. “Gold, silver, rose gold, or copper in foil, thermography or engraving all add a little bling to our invitations. Other popular colors include navy and purple.”
An emerging element that Cushman sees, especially with millennials, is social media cards. Including a hashtag for the wedding is a must here.
But overall, timeless, text-oriented designs remain Kleinfeld’s best-sellers. “Brides are proving that when it comes to wedding, classic design is always a great choice,” Cushman described. “I think brides of all ages are going with classics: simple type base and some sort of little elements to incorporate their personalities.”
Amidon revealed that the exciting events in wedding are actually not new processes, but a new combination of existing processes. “We have seen edge painting, foil stamping and tableting (creating very thick invitation) be popular for years, but what is new for us is the combination of these all in one design,” she agreed. “We see more and more extra thick invitations with personalized foil finished off with a pop of color on the edge.”
In his experience, Gomez sees two types of wedding customers: ones who prefer the layered look of pocket enclosures, and others who gravitate to the sleek look of a few impactful cards. “We’ve designed new products for both,” he underlined.
In the end, beauty is always in the eye of the beholder — in this case the client. Your job is finding what appeals to them, and then creating designs sure to knock their socks off!