It was business as usual at the Jacob Javits Centre in New York City from 15 – 18 May, where the 70th National Stationery Show (NSS) treated retailers to a number of new products.
NSS has been held at the Javits Centre for almost 40 years, where it continued its focus on paper goods again this year, with gift items from candles to home goods also available to for retailers shopping the aisles. As stationery companies evolve, greeting cards and other paper products continue to showcase design, innovation and a personal quality designed to attract a wide range of retail buyers as well as consumers.
According to exhibitors and attendees, NSS showcased lots of new this year, with fresh exhibitors (#fresh) and lots of new noteworthy designs and products. According to exhibitors, traffic was strong and there was an optimistic vibe throughout the show. The NSS team had lots of fun events and promotions for its attendee audience as well.
Probably the most obvious trend at NSS this year was one that started here last May with a whisper and has grown exponentially throughout the year – colouring. From colouring books to gel pens to placemats and beyond, it was impossible to walk down an NSS aisle without seeing at least one exhibitor showcasing colouring products.
DCI introduced its Color Joy line-up, for example, with pillows, ceramics and even phone cases designed for colouring. International Arrivals expanded its line of colouring implements with watercolour pencils and chalk crayons, while companies such as KaiserCraft, Wellspring and Hester + Cook expanded their colouring collections as well, with table runners, calendars, pocket colouring books and posters.
This year’s show also presented trends that covered everything from pop culture and nature-inspired to social media-savvy and straight-up humorous selections, reflecting the opportunity to offer something for everyone.
For example, cards referencing the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” Snoop Dogg and Back to the Future were available at Meet Me in Shermer.
The (sometimes) darker humour of these cards is perfect for anyone who thinks their mom would “get” an Estelle Getty Golden Girls card for Mother’s Day. Tay Ham also returned to NSS this year with their quirky collection of personalities and sentiments with in-house, original illustration and a few characters like Miley Cyrus and Jon Snow.
Whether ornithology was their background or not, more birds flew in to NSS with classic black and white, water colour and illustrated designs of the feathery ones from Rally Culler, Elise Stadler and Susan LeVine.
Water colour was a theme seen throughout the show on greeting cards as well as journals and other paper products. The soft lines and colours of the medium continue to inspire designs that resonate with retailers and consumers.
From new designs to new products, inspiration was everywhere at NSS and exhibitors were rewarded with opportunities to flaunt their latest innovations.
Throughout the week, there were plenty of industry honours. NSS kicked off with the biggest one of all – the LOUIE Awards – on May 15. This year also marked the 75th anniversary of the Greeting Card Association’s premier awards event.
Among the winners in the 60 categories, two companies took top honours: Sunrise Greetings (Card of the Year, $4 and below category) and Rifle Paper Company (Card of the Year, $4 and above category).
This year’s 20th annual Best New Product Awards were also revealed and marked the first time that the NSS and the School of Art and Design at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), State University of New York (SUNY), collaborated on a special design for the Best New Product Awards display, located in the Crystal Palace at the Javits Centre throughout Show.
From nearly 600 eligible products, Printable Wisdom received the Best of Show award for The No Fuss Brush Calligraphy Starter Kit.
Next year, NSS will take place from 21 – 24 May.