November 8, 2021 • Sarah Schwartz
Our annual abecedary revolves around solace, reinterpretation and connection.
In times like these, when there is no shortage of drama and dissent in the air, that which connects us is infused with renewed importance. That is definitely behind the resurgence of stationery categories, from journaling to DIY, and certainly the case with greeting cards.
During the 2020 holiday season, the Chicago Tribune reported that Paper Source saw a tenfold increase in online greeting card sales that year, while Hallmark’s Chief Marketing Officer, Lindsey Roy, reported a threefold increase on hallmark.com. Both referenced themes of connection, encouragement and gratitude as selling especially strong.
But that was nearly a year ago. Where is the American mindset these days? My gut tells me that consumers are responding to anything that feels authentic, artful and healing — and perhaps make us pause to consider our surroundings with fresh eyes. In some regards, the stationery and gift markets are as accessible as I’ve ever seen them, yet they still manage to be full of surprises, as you’ll see for yourself.
This fragrant practice is back, but it looks a little differently this go-round, with extra attention lavished on packaging and presentation.
B. Backs of Cards.
If this space is not being well-utilized, the design process is not yet done!
C. Calendars, Revisited.
The natural world impacts how we move through time — now it also impacts our stationery for tracking it.
D. Dressed-up DIY.
With so many mass-merchandised DIY offerings, seek that which differentiates itself with superior materials, design and styling.
Makers are finding opportunities to uplift the mood and self-confidence where ever they can.
F. Found Elements, Reconstructed.
In the hands of talented makers, that which we don’t typically look at twice is lavished with care and artistry to be appreciated anew.
These texture-rich backgrounds add just the right amount of pop to the message.
H. Hair Accessories.
Masks are a hot-button topic, so upscale finds to crown one’s locks provide a most welcome distraction.
I. Intra-Entrepreneurial Mail.
Here’s an idea whose time has come — greeting cards designed specifically to be exchanged founder to founder.
We have a new national holiday — which means a new card category as well!
When it comes to design, America is slowly turning Japanese, so don’t be surprised to get acquainted with a classic Japanese house of stationery or two!
L. Listen Up.
Great design should stimulate all the senses, so include that which delves into sound in your merchandise mix.
We can all use a bit of this — especially when sent from one person to another in letter form.
N. New Life to Old Games.
Revisiting and reinterpreting classic forms is happening throughout the gift and stationery markets. Childhood favorites are definitely not immune!
O. O Come All You Snarky.
Holiday humor has a definite and distinctive millennial edge to it.
These age-old Scottish patterns, originally called tartans, once denoted regional clans, but these days you’ll find them deconstructed and once again looking fresh.
Just the right witticism or tidbit of wisdom inspires the sale and sending of many a well-written card.
R. Really Cool Pet Accessories.
Our pets are often extensions of ourselves, and as such, their fittings should be appropriately brilliant!
While much of this is dispensed in snail mail form, makers are cleverly integrating it into our daily routines via stickers.
T. Tik Tok.
Thanks to a nonstop supply of would-be influencers, this social media app has turned the digital world on its ear — and it’s now even influencing stationery!
U. Ultra Carb Love.
It makes perfect sense that the baked goods trend comes on the heels of the taco trend.
Any controversy will eventually show its face on stationery; getting vaccinated is no different!
Fragrant bath and body finds will always be a strong customer draw; that draw strengthens when special attention is lavished on optics.
X. Xtra-saturated Pastels.
There is something dreamy, eternal and ethereal about this palette, so don’t be surprised when it sticks around for a while.
Y. Youthful Pursuits.
Once you hit 30 or so, your early years become the stuff of nostalgia, making it prime fodder for a savvy maker!
Z. Zeroing In.
A fresh perspective to the everyday is always welcome — you never know when a simple object may change how you see your world!