September 27, 2019 • Sarah Schwartz
Our annual design abecedary delves deep into the stationery status quo
Let’s face it, Americans love stuff. According to the LA Times, there are 300,000 items in the average U.S. home, and we don’t have the space for it; our 50,000-plus storage facilities number over five times the amount of Starbucks, notes the Self Storage Association. And www.thestoryofstuff.com research indicates that the amount of goods each individual consumes has doubled in the last 50 years.
But the pendulum always swings sooner or later, and consumers are starting to be more discerning about their acquisitions. So what are we craving exactly, other than novelty? When it comes to stationery, authenticity immediately sets offerings apart. Clean designs echo our desire for organized spaces, yet the air of retro still exhibits appeal. Keep reading for more design insights into the current consumer mindset.
I regard this as more of a millennial trend that thankfully caught on! It’s no wonder that in our era of “fake news” accusations, the genuine is elevated and appreciated.
B. Black and White.
I’m hopeful that this trend mirrors the unity within America’s diverse melting pot, not an inability to question one’s beliefs.
With all our clutter, there’s a fresh appreciation for simple lines and scaled-back styling.
Combine the clean trend with attention on organic shape and material, and the effect is absolutely artful!
E. Extreme Situations.
With authenticity, we reexamine what was previously considered an “ugly truth” — and we can even make it beautiful!
F. Fantastic Planet.
That which simultaneously celebrates the earth in both design and manufacturing practices finds a most captive audience. G. Gold. This precious metal continues to exhibit mass appeal and form the framework of many a best-seller!
This precious metal continues to exhibit mass appeal and form the framework of many a best-seller!
This trend has overlapped into the DIY niche — and offers manifold opportunities for savvy retailers.
Overlooked for years — just as they would prefer! — this personality type is literally all around you just waiting to find merchandise that speaks to just them.
J. Just like a Painting.
The touch of a painterly hand infuses merchandise with an artful vibe.
K. Kaleidoscope of Collage.
Forget grade school scissors and jagged edges! In the hands of today’s makers, these assemblages infuse stationery with precise and very pleasing presentations.
L. Letterpress Packaging.
Getting into different gift categories is natural and expansion for the letterpresser, and one for which they are perfectly suited!
The 1970s and 1960s are impacting fashion — so it wasn’t long before that design would impact our domain!
N. Not Your Mother’s Merchandise.
Profanity and vernacular are appealing due to their novelty and authenticity — just make sure the presentation is as smart as the language!
O. Office with Sass.
These look like regular office supplies at first, but they infuse work environments with levity and style!
Be they dated, undated, spanning the academic or calendar year, their increasing numbers each year is testament to the idea that some things are still best written down.
Authenticity brings with it an open embrace of our individualities — our passions, eccentricities and distinctive approaches to life.
These meteorological phenomena are visually appealing, but their meaning to and acceptance of the LBGBT population lends these designs a deeper dose of meaning.
Meet the next essential eco-friendly accessory — straws! These will be heading en masse to a cash register near you.
Dressing our electronics has become a bona fide industry niche!
Conversely, appreciating the stillness and wisdom that can arise from powering down is not without appeal.
V. Very Organized.
Thanks to all our clutter, the $8 billion home organization industry has more than doubled since the early 2000s and is growing at a staggering 10 percent each year, according to Uppercase. Claim your stake!
W. Watercolor Hits Home Décor.
Usually gift trends travel to stationery, not the other way around, but here is a merchandising-friendly crossover for the card and gift shop!
X. Xtreme Statements.
If jewelry is not to be streamlined and ultra-modern, it goes in the entirely opposite direction in this bifurcated market!
Y. Young Feminists.
Infusing young girls with pride in their personhood is a major, Mom-led movement.
Z. Zest for Color, Shape & Line.
In the end, stationery is a domain of design; those who cherish correspondence remain devoted to sharing what visually speaks to them along with their innermost thoughts.