Trade Show News Trends

April 4, 2018 •
Always on Trend: the National Stationery Show to showcase latest trends in the industry

{Sponsored} It’s no surprise that the trends designers establish in the stationery industry are similarly reflected in fashion. Just after London Fashion Week, the bouquets of color designed on paper by stationery artists the previous season are visible everywhere in Paris, London and New York. Women wear wool coats in a blush pink much like the Ash Rose.

“We’re already seeing the Pantone palette in fashion, but in a way that is reminiscent of the 1990s. The combinations are interesting! Palace Blue is paired with Ultraviolet or Cherry Tomato with Rapture Rose — all for a colorful pop,” said Kelly Bristol, show director for the National Stationery Show.

The Pantone Spring 2018 palette combines muted with cheery, serenity with brilliant pops from our gardens and green of foliage. These shades are already making an appearance in new designs in stationery. This past fall’s popular goldenrod has transformed into an almost buttery Meadowlark. The erstwhile jewel tones are transmuted into more brilliant or muted tones in the sapphire tone of Palace Blue, the garnet of Spiced Apple and the ruby of Cherry Tomato. Together, they’re a symphony of the new growth of spring, the shades of new buds and classic tones.

In the stationery world there are both continuing trends and new emerging ideas being seen. At this year’s National Stationery Show, florals will still dominate and cascades of watercolor permeate many designs. “Rather than white or ecru, invitations are being done in rich Sailor Blue, dark, moody charcoal gray or Harbor Mist and Spiced Apple with metallic ink — soft penny, shiny copper, rose gold, gold. Foils are like the Blooming Dahlia and Ash Rose of this palette,” said Bristol.

Envelope liners in bright shades might match inks or pops of color on the invitations. Bridal designs will feature florals in blush tones such as Blooming Dahlia, Pink Lavender, Almost Mauve and Rapture Rose and succulents in Nile Green and touches of Warm Sand with the occasional Lime Punch or Pink Lavender accent making an appearance. These colors work well for the current design trends which include florals, botanicals, palms, garlands and succulents. Look to companies such as Stationery Works, Printswell, Smitten on Paper, Smudge Ink and Rosanne Beck Collection for the newest and freshest designs.

Ribbon is back with InQBrands and May Arts with lines showcasing checks, patterns, holiday prints and all sizes — even ribbon tape. Stickers from Love & Lemon are in the Spring 2018 Pantone palette, especially in jewel tones, blues

Love and lemon-jewel stickers
Love and Lemon Jewel Stickers

and Ultraviolet. Design is cyclical, and elements such as color pairings and ribbon that were popular decades ago are back again this year.

Since stationery store buyers are always looking for items to help diversify their collections, independent makers such as Crazy Aaron’s Putty World will also make an appearance at the NSS. Bristol noted: “Our show is a celebration of independent makers and established market staples. All designers have a chance to showcase what makes their brand and vision special.”

In addition to items reflecting key general trends, the NSS will feature new Kids products. LikeOMG! will introduce a new line of jewelry, pencils, puzzles, hair twists in every color of the rainbow, as well as coloring materials, with designs featuring unicorns, birds and ice cream cones. OOLY will be showing their new, award-winning 3D colorables at the NSS. In addition, they will show products

OOLY 3D Colorables, Magical Unicorn

that teach young people to use writing instruments and about the importance of handwriting. The company offers fountain pens for youth, which pair nicely with the adult lines from companies like Monteverde, distributed by Yafa, which feature fountain pens and inks in a multitude of colors.

“There’s a concern in the industry that in a few years the art of penmanship could virtually disappear. Public schools in the U.S. stopped teaching it in 2013. It’s a lost art, and my fear is that in 20 years, adults may not be able to read handwritten letters from their grandparents unless they are specialists,” said Bristol.

The NSS will feature a talk by a representative from the volunteer organization “Campaign for Cursive” this year. The presentation will address the importance of handwriting in art and life. Calligraphy demonstrations will be given at the Show, as well.

Calligraphy and cursive handwriting are uniquely celebrated in the industry, and Bristol is thrilled to have exhibitors who are bringing calligraphy pens to the marketplace. Inks follow the same color trends as other products in the industry, so designers who use calligraphy or handwriting via fountain pens in their designs will always be able to get the latest on-trend colors, even in metallics and shimmer. Monteverde USA takes the jewel tones of the previous season to the next level with fountain pens mimicking the look of a beetle with iridescent

Nebula pen from Monteverde USA

shimmering in blue and green at the same time. Since Ultraviolet is the color of the year, Bristol predicted that the next iridescent combination we will see is a green to purple iridescent — likely in foil as well.

More seminars are available this year, offering enhancements to the original schedule as this is the only chance for buyers to participate in this type of programming. “We know that buyers and exhibitors alike have invested in their participation in the NSS. We appreciate this, and are offering them the opportunity to attend more seminars this May, so that they can get the most information possible during their time at our Show,” added Bristol. To show our gratitude, we are offering the chance for them to dive into more seminars than ever before so that they can get everything they want and need out of our show,” said Bristol.

Bristol acknowledged that one of the most unique parts of the industry is that every person has his or her own exquisite vision. “We all understand each other because we take the utmost care and consideration in how we show our personal brands.”

And Here We Are booth
And Here We Are booth

Many designers have told Bristol that the NSS is the prettiest show, and Bristol credits the exhibitors for making that happen. “One of the most exciting things about the show for me is to see how our exhibitors translate their whole philosophy onto their amazing booth displays. Last year, I received an invitation to the show from ilootpaperie that looked like a slice of cake, and I was thrilled to see how their booth actually looked like a slice of cake!”

What’s the bottom line? If you’re reading this, you should be at the NSS. Bristol calculates that the show is open 1,620 minutes this year. “A buyer may spend 30 minutes with an exhibitor when writing an order. But that only gets the buyer to 54 exhibitors. Since a buyer’s job is to find that item that is really different, unbelievably beautiful and special that his or her customers are going to love, one person can’t do it alone. This means that if your store needs to see everything the show has to offer, you need more than one set of eyes, because each person walks and views the show differently,” Bristol said.

According to Bristol, it’s ultimately on all of us to share ideas, support one another and continually take this industry to the next level. “The entire industry cares tremendously about creating the best card, the best invitation, the best show, the best store, the best order. When we join together, it is a huge celebration — a happy coming-together of the industry. You need to be here!”

The National Stationery Show runs May 20-23, 2018. Read more here.

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