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Editorial blog

What were the trends at the National Stationery Show in New York City

12 Jul 2018

It was fascinating to see a different side of the paper industry, both in old trends and new trends, and it was particularly interesting to see ideas that could transition into papercrafting. The stationary show is hosted by Emerald Expositions and is run alongside the SURTEX design show which is full of artists wanting to sell or license their designs. Both shows were joined at the hip and well attended by a great mix of artists, small companies and larger distributors. There are also international manufacturing areas as well as a new exhibitor arena.

Llamas and laughs

At one end of the spectrum it’s clear Llamas, Unicorns and Rainbows are here to stay, while at the other end geometric designs along with the clean simple look have remained popular. Puns are going up in the world, so to speak, a particular favourite of mine was the ‘famous animals’ series from Nanu Illustration, featuring Woodchuck Berry hangin’ out with Ziggy Starfish and MC HammerHead. Rock on!

Empowerment and memories

Women’s empowerment was big throughout the show in many forms, from reflective journals that had pieces to fill out and write on, such as those from Please Notes. Charity products have grown in popularity particularly those that give a proportion of proceeds to charity. This has developed to where the charity leads the theme of the product design, such as a great range of planners from Infiniti Planner. In fact, journaling and memory keeping are still strong throughout the industry. I particularly loved a new idea from Lily & Val who have a Kitchen Diary which not only documents recipes but also the memories behind them. Whether that’s your Mum’s story of how your Grandma used to make it or the first time you made it for a baby shower, or in my husband’s case, when he burnt it to cinders and we all ate fine wine and fast food.


Interactive cards are on the rise, such as the flip, pop or slide ones along with some innovative ideas from companies who want their cards to become more than a temporary piece. I just loved Paper Pop’s village who created pop outs in their cards that are removable to keep as an ornament or keepsake. There were some very talented artists in attendance. I really appreciate those who have a unique style such as Marini Ferlazzo, who’s animal illustrations are made from lots of florals grouped together. Absolutely amazing with incredible talent.


Some older themes are making a revival such as handmade paper and creative gift wrapping. I was excited for the huge variety of high-quality gift wraps that are going to be available, along with beautiful accents and ribbons from companies such as Studio Carter. I love wrapping, so this is particularly exciting for me.


Bling and all things shiny are developing more into the Hallmark style mass produced cards, puns feature here as well and they are becoming more sarcastic and risqué. Some other trends that are already carrying over into the papercrafting industry are the enamel pins and patches, these are available in every size, colour and expression. As are new ‘adulting ribbons’ such as “I got dressed today”.


Product ranges are becoming far more co-ordinated and wider reaching, such as from Rifle Paper Co, where your water bottle, shoes, stationery and planner can all have the same co-ordinating patterns and colours. Similarly, party décor and place settings are on the rise, with beautiful paper placemats that co-ordinate with disposable plates, cups, table runners etc. I particularly liked the re-usable acrylic candle holders from Eleanor Moss Studio, these were a top pick for something a little different. Disposable table décor now comes in every shape and style imaginable, driven by millennials who want style and convenience; I see this trend extending into far more products soon.


Following on from women’s empowerment is a strong LGBT theme with colourful rainbows everywhere featured on cards, journals and planners, covering every occasion and sentiment. I think this is an area where papercrafting is still catching up with other areas.

Use the post

I was great to see companies encouraging more letter and card sending, Hallmark had a mailbox on their stand where you could choose a card from their range, write it and then they sent all the cards out. I also enjoyed the Secret Society of Letter Writers from Mr Boddington’s Studio which encourages children to write more letters and even going back to having a pen pal. This is something my ten year old is already excited about.


Creative lettering is still strong across both the stationery and papercrafting industries.

American Crafts range from Kelly Klapstein offers lettering practice books with parchment pages for easy tracing; or, if you are a calligraphy fan looking for beautiful pens and inks, a particular favourite was the Conklin Pen from Yafa Brands which was Mark Twains’ pen of choice and has wonderful heritage and quality. So, I’m pleased to say the art of writing is here to stay. Also, if you’re keen to learn calligraphy I’d recommend Paul Antonio, he was at the show and has an extensive collection of instruction videos available online.


I loved seeing neon coming back in so many ways. A modern era of neon decorative lights, printed neon effects and more are on their way! There was a very cool 1980s vibe throughout the show from companies such as Boss Dotty and Pinky & Webber. As well as recording ‘the adventure we call life’, whether it’s friends, fond memories, or places we’ve lived etc. my favourites here was Paperfinch and iLikeMaps.

Overall papercrafting and stationery are juxtaposed with many continuing themes but it was also noticeable how in different areas each one seems to leap ahead. The stationery industry is far more bold and modern but I feel that papercrafting is further ahead in diversity, storage and tools. It’s always fascinating to watch how fashions change and how the industries react. I, for one, can’t wait to get back next year to see what’s new.

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