April 14, 2020 • Sarah Schwartz
“Today’s parents are looking for a more simplified life than even just a few years ago,” emphasized Ellen Gillespie, owner, Little Lamb Design. “Their buying habits include products that will serve multiple purposes in order to keep their homes less cluttered. With an eye on this trend, the baby stationery I have designed lately has included lots of white space, simple type styles and muted colors.”
With a more fluid approach to gender, the idea of pink for girls and blue for boys is history. Colors on the whole are more muted and dusty. Meanwhile, Rachel Quinn, graphic designer, PrintsWell, described a continuation of animal themes, with everything from safari lions to elephants, woodland rabbits to deer playing starring roles in announcements, baby shower invitations and thank-yous.
Also Look For
The idea of a narrative, be it through stationery or gift. “We are seeing an increase in sculpted plush,” said Peter Friedmann, vice president of product and marketing for Demdaco. “Sculpted plush is more artisan and less cuddly. Many items have a nostalgic look and work with mid-century modern aesthetics. Colors are dusty, but rich in tone. The product does best when it has a story. A story can be a traditional storybook direction or story about how the makers manufactured the product. If you don’t have a story, your product doesn’t break through the clutter.”
Tried & True
Perhaps because this market deals with young individuals, the individual touch is incredibly important here, continued Friedmann. “Consumers want to see the hand-of-artist or maker. There is an authenticity to that and it’s a perennial direction. If you have clean or contemporary aesthetics, you still need to showcase how it’s designed or made. Everything needs to be authentic.”
Perhaps more than any other, this is an icon-driven market, so imagery like baby carriages, soft florals and nursery toys are always compelling when presented in contemporary treatments.
“As I create items for the baby market, I am inspired by those early days of parenting. The anxious anticipation of baby’s arrival, then those sleepless but head-over-heels-in-love long nights. When I think of what new parents are looking for in their stationery, (I) close my eyes and remember those exciting feelings and what led me to begin this business in the first place: a gap in the market that I sought to fill with my own aesthetic.” — Ellen Gillespie, Little Lamb Design
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