Features

November 9, 2020 •
A Thirst for Connection

Editor's Letter feature image of part of the Fall issue of Stationery Trends

It’s official, 2020 has left its ugly mark on all of us somewhere. So much, it seems, has been canceled, then rescheduled with lower expectations, only to be canceled yet again. It’s left us cynical and isolated, with only our masks and computer monitors for company. As tough as it has all been, for stationery, there has been one enormous silver lining — the artistry of our makers.

I can’t think of another industry so well-poised to respond to a national crisis and to help us collectively trudge through it. Yes, there is all the wonderful “We’re all in this together” messaging that Madison Avenue has treated us to to sell various goods and services, but it’s the far more authentic wisdom and humor emerging from card makers that is helping get me through this with, if not a smile, at least the shadow of one.

In fact, a brand new card category, Coronacards, has emerged from the dark recesses of the pandemic to keep us connected through time and space. “2020 could be worse,” reads one recent release from Wild Card Creations, “your name could be Karen.” I find it so interesting that our current circumstances have actually led us to take a step backward technologically speaking, back to snail mail, back to the USPS, back to basics, really.

And make no mistake about it, customers are sending cards out. The Las Vegas Market sent me the top searched stationery items in its exhibitor directory, and it is so telling that Emily McDowell & Friends Empathy Cards are smack at #2! Stickers, journals and gift tags were on its tail — so by this measure, the urge to reach out and touch someone is followed by the need to know oneself, which is immediately followed by the desire to reach out and gift someone!

Sarah Schwartze, editor-in-chief, Stationery TrendsSo for this, my favorite issue topic of the year — Design — I tried to present a lot of ways to help your clientele achieve these lofty, benevolent goals. Because the office has become portable, I kicked off the issue with a deep dive into what’s happening in that now-nomadic category. Then we dive headlong into our annual A to Z of Design guide, followed by my reporting on Black stationery makers. Diversity, inclusion and representation are the expectations of more and more customers; it should be your goal to help every last one of them connect with their loved ones with product that feels as though it speaks directly to them. No, it’s not a cure for what ails us, not yet, but this will help us lumber through this until brighter times appear.

Until next issue,

Sarah Schwartz




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