Future Proofing Stationery
Posted by Vanessa Fortnam
So how does the stationery industry stay ahead of the curve? The speakers at last month’s London Stationery Show had plenty to say on the matter.
We were delighted to hear keynote speaker Rebecca Saunders, head of development at online retailer notonthehighstreet.com, share her insights into the rapidly changing online retail space.
Her presentation, “Stationery, Anything But Stationary” explained how stationery fits the bill with NOTHS customers searching for bespoke, personalised and craft/design-led product. Stationery is an expanding sector for the retailer, and an intrinsic part of NOTHS’s new pop-up shop in Smithfield, London (their first bricks-and- mortar venture). Rebecca highlighted how fast the stationery market is evolving, and the importance of understanding customer needs to drive it forwards. Subscriptions and desk accessories are categories to watch.
She hit the nail on the head when describing how stationery is frequently a self-gifting purchase. We’re all guilty of buying that shiny new notebook to add to the others on the shelf. Why? Because stationery taps into our desire for a quick fashion fix, without the designer price tag.
Rebecca explained that stationery design represents the intersection of home and fashion, and this theme was picked up by our second speaker, Phil Pond from trend forecasting company Scarlet Opus. Phil suggested stationery retailers take a walk down their local high street and take note of fashion window displays to gain inspiration for styling their own stores. Fashion and stationery have always been happy bedfellows, but they are intertwining more closely than ever. Just as fashion designers use trend forecasting to create colour palettes that speak to their customers, so do cutting-edge stationery designers. The evidence is everywhere. Flamingos and pineapples aren’t just bedecking cushions and trousers right now, they’re all over notebooks, pencil cases and colouring books, too.
Phil highlighted the key trends that will have an impact on customer purchasing decisions for stationery for Christmas 2016 and beyond:
Heathland: inspired by the dark romanticism evoked by the Bronte sisters. Ghostly, mysterious and moody. Intense florals, lace, peeling and layering.
Tribe: focusing on the stronger, healthier modern-day female warrior. Think the reinvented Wonder Woman, vibrant ‘global folk’ colour choices and nomadic themes.
Analogue Workshop: The new retro – a style that embraces the hand-crafted, functional and made-to- last, with a muted colour palette of mustard, granite grey and brown and a nod to the look of the burgeoning male grooming industry. This look was manifested on the Castelli stand at the London Stationery Show. The lo-tech nature of stationery encapsulates this trend, helping buyers fulfil their need for digital detox. Notebooks will become increasingly appreciated as ‘timeless tools for creativity’.
Both Rebecca and Phil provided exciting insights into how and why the stationery industry is developing at breakneck speed. Thanks to their crystal ball-gazing, the audience left on a high, with game-changing ideas for the future of stationery.
This blog item was posted on Friday, May 13th, 2016.