October 20, 2016 •
Design from A to Z

Having observed design trends in gifts and stationery for nearly two decades, I can definitely state that there is no logic behind them. They may take a cue from the past and reinterpret it — just witness, for example, the larger-than-life rebirth of the once-innocuous enamel pin — or strike out in an new direction with fresh jargon — “adulting,” anyone? — leading the charge.

Some of the strongest trends are responses to the climate around us. Lately women have been asserting themselves in the workplace, the presidential campaign trail and the Olympic stadium, as reflected in ultra-empowering “boss” and “girl” verbiage. At the same time, there’s a cultural craving for the simple, the honest, the straightforward and, even, the old-fashioned. So look for product saluting everything from manners to libraries, introverts to undisguised feelings. Meanwhile, some things are eternal. People are drawn to unexpected luxury. That drives posh touches like fabric-lined envelopes and upscale partyware.

As a rule however, compelling design trends are driven by new perspectives — which in turn give life to dazzling product that differentiates your shop as your customers swoon.

Clockwise from top left: A. Adulting. Maybe we owe this term to the latest group of millennials who have realized that, yes, being an adult is indeed challenging — but like age, it’s sticking around. kiss and punch designs B. Boss. Be it a boss lady, boss mom or girl boss, this design element boosts fortitude to tackle the next task on the to-do list. Studio Oh! C. Coloring! New formats within the adult coloring category keep it trending up; this runner is a godsend for a hostess wanting to set her next shindig apart. Hester & Cook Design Group D. Dynamic Die-cuts. Look for product that ventures far outside the box to dress up the everyday. Elum E. Emojis. These icons jump off digital devices as the perfect starting point for an old-fashioned analog message. Modern Lore
Clockwise from top left: F. Fabric. Tactile textiles add a lush, posh touch to stationery — whether peeking out of envelopes or adorning notebook and journal covers. MARCH Paper & Design G. Girl Power. An offshoot of the encouragement category, reminding women and girls that they are enough just as they are today is always appreciated. Constellation & Co. H. Horsey Love. Equestrians and spectators alike are drawn to this hunt club theme that feels simultaneously traditional, sporting and oh-so-luxurious. Revel & Co. I. Introverts. Extroverts are recharged by people, while introverts crave time alone. Once shunned for this, the latter group is declaring their preference loud and proud! Papa llama J. Just Being Honest. Saccharine sentiments are a thing of the past — instead, look for greeting cards that authentically express your clientele with humor and charm. UWP Luxe K. Kindness. This virtue never really goes out of style — but the market continually comes up with fresh ways to express it. Shifting Status Kuo
Clockwise from top right: L. Literary & Libraries. You don’t have to a cerebral bibliophile to read up on this trend — but it sure helps! theBird+theBeard M. Manners. In these often-acrimonious times, civility is welcome — anytime, anywhere! Paper Hammer N. Notebook Sets. Because it’s so much more fun with two, design-driven pairs make journaling and sketching twice as fun. eeBoo O. Old School. Lovers of stationery never tire of cleverly reminding others that their media requires no internet connection. Night Owl Paper Goods
P. Pins. Zany and very cute, no outfit or accessory is complete without a bit of flair! ilootpaperie Q. Quintessentially Retro. Twentieth century imagery presented with twenty-first century snark is always compelling! Ümlaut Brooklyn R. Rainbow Foil. Metallic foils continue to add dimension to stationery, but rainbow foil takes the design trend to colorful heights. Warren Tales. S. State of Mind. The 50 states have become artistic fodder as they salute sentimental attachments to hometown locales and favorite destination spots. Kai Lyn Co. T. Triumphant Tabletop. Use standout pieces to dress up your displays, and customers will find long-time utility in displaying them again and again at family celebrations. Prissy Plates
U. Upscale Party. Speaking of parties, seek supplies that diverge from the mass-merchandised party store route to distinguish gatherings large and small. Pences V. Very Sweet. Sugary confections express loving sentiments with charm, without that pesky calorie intake no less! Mudsplash Studios W. Way Cool Extras. DIY continues to surge, so kits to infuse stationery with unexpected flair make a great pastime as they create one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Wants and Wishes
X. Xtremely Iconic, Updated. Even familiar brands should take a sharp design turn now and then, adding fresh dimension to both the brand and their fans’ accessories. Vera Bradley Y. Yards (or panels) of Card. Expect accordian folds to make a comeback as they make sentiments conveyed in cards that much more poignant. Oblation Papers & Press Z. Zeal for the Unexpected. Make visiting your store an experience, and use stand-out product to bring it to life in a way a screen never will! Meri Meri


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