Back to School: 2016 Stationery Trends for Retailers and Manufacturers

It’s that time of year again where we revamp our stationery collection. New notepads, pens and accessories ready to start back at school, college or University. Or, if like me, you just love nothing more than purchasing new inspiring patterns and colours to brighten up your desk space! So, for all the stationery retailers and manufacturers out there, we have put together 3 key trend directions for 2016. Each trend combines pattern, material, colour and product guidance to keep you ahead of the curve and prepared for next year. Of course it’s not just about what you design or buy in, but also how you share this with your customers. Product placement and the visual advertising of stationery collections should be creative, inspiring an enticing. So, we have also included ideas for retailers on how to merchandise and style product.

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Wild Urbanism

This trend is about our basic human desire to reconnect with nature. We seek out reassuring, comforting and grounded elements within a modern life of constant change. Our ecological and environmental awareness increases as we adapt our hybrid environment, fusing nature and architecture together creating a cultural and natural balance.

There is a wide acceptance of greens in all shades emerging but particularly earthy greens. These ripened greens and crisp mint shades look great with linen tones and sun warmed neutrals. Patterns include gardening motifs, botanical, illustrative style: flowers, plants, vegetables and herbs often with a nostalgic retro look. They connect strongly with garden to table trends and promotes the ‘grow your own‘ phenomenon which continues to become more widespread.

The emphasis on materials is a slightly rustic style and often includes raw textures or re-cycled elements. We begin to see raw linens and eco cottons, plywood and chipboard which shows its layering. Cork, bark, natural woods and concrete along with quirky gritty textures. Stationery holders or desktop products that include plants or living greenery giving a ‘wild’ aesthetic.

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1. Pattern Design by Levgeniia Lytvynovych 2. Desk Caddy by Oniroteo 3. Tomato Salad Memo Set by Boyeon Oh 4. Grass Pen Holder by Max Battaglia & Matteo Mocchi 5. Recycled Newspaper Pencils by TreeSmart 6. Pattern Design by Anna Emilia Laitinen 7. Colouring Book by Johanna Basford 8. Postcard Design Bottle Terrarium by Quill & Fox on Etsy 

Visual Merchandising and Styling

  • To achieve this trends aesthetic an outdoor, summer garden theme is key
  • Materials to incorporate in window displays could include; raw and reclaimed wood, concrete, chipboard and plywood for decoration
  • Why not add repurposed products and furniture or incorporate real soil /grass/living wall/plants as a feature points of sale
  • Use garden products such as wheel barrows, plant pots and watering cans to display products
  • Create an inspiring ‘allotment look’

Play

This trend relates to the yearning for freedom, a desire for community, a longing to build a more sharing society and for life to be more fun! It is interactive and inclusive, energetic and chaotic as well as demonstrating elements of optimism and collaboration.

Patterns in this trend have a real Memphis style but worked in a more modern context. We see patterns that have rhythm, wiggle, dimension and a retro dynamism. Bold patterns will sit well together and can be mixed up, providing an interesting collaboration of clashing arrangements within one collection, (ideal for notebooks). Colour block is important here, including strong graphic and typography designs within shape. The palette is playful and interactive, it includes pops of pastel brights that have a modern simplicity and crisp sophistication to them.

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1. Livework Block Colour Pens available at Fox and Star 2. Box Design by Hay Studio at Really Well made 3. Babylon Stationery for Lexon by Samuel Wilkinson 4. Pattern Design by Hanna Konola 5. Resin Table Top by Chen Chen & Kai Williams 6. Stationery by Oelwein / Atelier parisien 7. Burgerdoodles Colour-In Wallpaper

Visual Merchandising and Styling

  • Merchandising in store should have a space to promote the role of play
  • Walls with patterns for colouring-in or white board walls to encourage people to interact and experiment through drawing (as well as testing product)
  • Its not just about fun and creative stimulation of scribbling  but is also promotes the communication with a stranger or employer in store; it allows two unacquainted people to connect
  • 3D colour blocks with bold striking shapes can be used to display stationery product

Edited Luxury

This trend takes a focused look at the future of smart, flexible and compact lifestyles of urban citizens. It explores an exotic glamour that is strict and serious with tribal undertones. It’s deeply luxurious with an ultra-modern aesthetic yet edited down to essentials presenting a mix of beautifully engineered natural materials and high tech innovations.

This is a serious and dependable colour palette. The technical Black anchors the solid metallics while the intense, darkened Klein Blue is inky, exotic, and seductive. Brass, bronze and copper tones warm the palette and work nicely alongside striking animal skin patterns and glamorously stylish geometrics.

Materials are about unconventional pairings, solid dark woods are polished to a high shine glossy finish whereas blonder woods are sanded to a matte finish demonstrating the contrast of luxury with raw essentials. Walnut being a key material. Reptile and animal skin patterns are laced with metallic finishes, dressed with studs, spiked textures and black marble creating a sexy but masculine industrial edge.

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1. Notepad by Tom Pigeon 2. Hörst Identity by lg2boutique 3. Desk Styling  4. Minimal Pen by Minimalux 5. Wooden Mesh Fabric by Diego Vencato

Keep up to date with the latest stationery products and styling on our Pinterest Board!

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5 thoughts on “Back to School: 2016 Stationery Trends for Retailers and Manufacturers

  1. What a fantastic article, Laura! Your trend insights are incredibly interesting, but I especially appreciate your advice on visual merchandising and styling. Thanks so much for this post.

  2. LOVE this posting, I’ve never seen anyone covering stationery trends before, super insightful. Adore the recycled newspaper pencils x

  3. Thanks for the trend! Finally I’ve found something useful for my assignment!

  4. Thanks for this article. I found it interesting and full of great information! I especially liked the visual display ideas.

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