We recently visited an exciting new Stationery Show launched in Manchester UK; a sister show to the successful London Stationery Show held at the Business Design Centre in April (check out our LSS blog post review from earlier in the year). This month we saw the second specialist paper and writing product show held in the beautiful Victoria Warehouse building in Old Trafford.
This brand new event was designed to attract more visitors closer to the North of England and compliment with the timing of its elder sister. The venue was intimate, it felt friendly and inviting; the Victoria Warehouse is a historic, solid Mancunian landmark which has been developed into a modern, industrial chic space. Its exposed brick walls and huge repurposed spool tables gave an interesting and unique backdrop to some amazing stationery product.
There was an array of guest speakers including seminars on; why & how handwriting is linked to wellbeing and mindfulness, key things for retailers and suppliers to capture in 2018 and of course our very own Phil Pond spoke about the key design trends driving stationery product over the next few years. We also focussed specifically on the importance of creating an exciting retail experience for the customer.; in particular we discussed how trend intelligence can inform store layout, branding design and merchandising ideas on the lead up to Christmas.
Other key features at the show included creative stationery workshops such as; an introduction to mindful ways of using color and how to create a beautiful envelope with a script pen and seal with wax.
I particularly liked the ‘color me in’ wall, this space encouraged visitors to get involved by adding their own splash of color to the line illustrations of popular the Manchester Scenes. This idea enabled visitors to acknowledge the evolving ‘adult coloring book’ trend which has been increasingly driving the sales of pens and pencils. It is also a great concept for retailers to try out in their own stores; focus on creating a unique and engaging experience for customers.
Here are a couple of the best stationery products seen at the show…
Paper furniture by Paper Lounge is innovative, sustainable and fun! Their furniture design introduces a new concept to urban life; with our living spaces becoming smaller and smaller it is vital we find modern designs that are functional yet practical. Products that are simple enough to set up straight away but also easy to take down and store. Products that are versatile and have a number of different uses, as well as portable and lightweight enough to be able to take with you wherever you go. The Paper Lounge brand seem to have covered all the desirable qualities of the modern urban nomad when it comes to furniture design.
No doubt you will all be aware of this iconic neon highlighter brand; this classic product is used on a daily basis and famous because of it’s bright injections of color. However they have now recently released a new collection for all those people who prefer to use more subtle colors. This essential tool just got even more fashionable; it has become a must have item to request in the Christmas stocking! These additional stylish shades include; creamy peach, hint of mint, pink blush, lilac haze, milky yellow and touch of turquoise.
Of course it is great to see new product launches from well established stationery brands, but even more so (especially in the business of trends) it is important for us to see fresh, up and coming designers and retailers exhibiting for the first time. We met a couple of competition winners who made up the ‘LaunchPad’ area at the show; this space is a very exciting selection of the most innovative, market-ready winners.
Here are three new and inspiring brands that we wanted to introduce on the blog and share with our readers…
This brand offers exciting, customisable ‘useful stationery’ with a quirky twist. They provide diet and fitness trackers, bloggers bibles, Christmas planners, knitting notebooks and make-up artist design books just to name a few. Most items include stickers to help with the organisation side of the stationery but also to make things a little bit more fun! Check out their website for some great christmas stocking filler ideas!
A new and unique product to the UK market, Paper Mirchi create beautiful gift wrap sheets handmade by skilled artisans in India. They use recycled cotton rags and textiles to create the handmade paper; making this brand both innovative and sustainable. By combining a passion for forward-thinking creativity with their knowledge of age-old paper making techniques; they are able to produce unique and striking design ideas.
This stylish luxury brand was launched this year when they saw a gap in the market for inclusive British design to celebrate non-mainstream festivals. Their product design is simple, meaningful and beautifully crafted in the UK. They use the finest materials selected specifically for their long-term sustainability credentials. This brand carries an ethos that reflects a commitment to ethical practice and social responsibility.
Our rekindled love affair with analogue writing tools and techniques will continue to grow in 2018 as consumers search for a digital detox; we find beauty in what is ordinary, satisfaction in the basic and we value simple pleasures with slowly acquired skills. For more information on Stationery Trends see our digital trend book download.
If you haven’t already… make sure you read online/pick up your copy of Stationery Matters magazine with an article explaining how the stationery industry can benefit from using trend intelligence.
The next stationery event will be held in London at the Business Design Centre on the 24th-25th April 2018 where there will be even more show features, workshops and new product launches! See you all there!