Latest trends in fine stationery, custom invitations and announcements from the Stationers Guild

Sarah Schwartz, the talented editor of Stationery Trends magazine, gave two standing-room only presentations at the National Stationery Show last week.  The topic was Stationery Trends for 2009.  There was so much useful and practical information crammed into Sarah’s colorful presentation that it was sometimes difficult to keep pace with her rapid-fire overview of 2009 stationery trends.  With apologies to Sarah for missing something significant, I would like to comment briefly on the six key themes highlighted in her presentation.  I am doing so without graphics since I don’t want to overload the server.

Trend 1 – The Value Proposition:  Clearly, the economic recession has had a marked impact on consumer purchasing decisions.  There were numerous examples of companies offering different printing alternatives (flat-printing or lithography vs. letterpress) to provide more affordable options for the consumer.  Along that same line, several companies were offering less expensive substitutes.  For instance, Demby and Solomon have an attractive line of return address stickers rather than the generally more expensive printed envelope.

Trend 2 – Colors to Covet:  Purple is emerging as a “hot” new color.  Orange and yellow have been around for several years and both remain popular choices for today’s young consumer.  Gray features in many upscale designs.

Trend 3 – New vs. Old Patterns:  Several companies have created a modern twist on old patterns.  For instance, Elum Designs has created some truly contemporary stationery letterpress designs using old patterns.  Lucky Onion is another company that comes to mind that is producing some “hip” invitations using traditional designs.

Trend 4 – The Perfect Green Storm:  Many companies are offering Eco-friendly stationery or invitation papers.  Playing the “green” card has become quite fashionable.  I did give the papers made from elephant dung a pass, but Night Owl Paper Goods has some attractive greeting cards and invitations made from wood.

Trend 5 – Designer Cachet:  A number of fashion trend-setters have added their name to stationery and invitation lines.  Vera Wang branches into new territory with the debut of Wedding Invitations II in June.  This follows Vera’s very successful Wedding Invitations I with William Arthur in 2005.  Martha Stewart has partnered with Crane & Co. to produced a line of 24 wedding invitation styles.  Lilly Pulitzer, MOMA and several others are adding their own distinctive touch to new stationery and invitation lines.

Trend 6 – Design Trends:  Sarah cited so many design trends that I will only highlight a few.  Animal prints (particularly wild animals), birds and butterflies are popular across many invitation lines.  Cityscape patterns found in Lallie and Faux Designs are also proving to be quite popular.  For me, the most distinctive trend was the introduction of texture into the design process.  Lattice, lace, damask and toile were evident across may lines and in some cases, like the new Vera Wang wedding invitation line, were the most riveting feature of the stationery ensemble.   Personalization, through monograms or names, continues to a growing trend in stationery.

Sarah seminar is clearly a must-see for those who are looking for something new and distinctive.  While the National Stationery Show was somewhat smaller this year, I did manage to discover 10 new companies that were not on my initial target list.  Thanks Sarah for a great introduction to this year’s National Stationery Show.

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