Top Drawer - January 2013

I popped along to Top Drawer yesterday to have a little nosey at the world of stationery and gifts. For those not in the know, Top Drawer is a trade show held twice yearly in London where small to medium sized brands launch their new collections, and buyers from independents through to department stores can select new ranges and brands.

I've been to many trade shows and fabric fairs in my time working in buying so it wasn't an unusual thing, just funny to be thinking maybe that soon this could be me! I attended one of the seminars and chatted to lots of folk too so I'm inspired and raring to go for 2013!

In terms of trends, I found it much harder than at a fashion event, particularly as most brands have continuity lines which they continue to show. I'm hot on my research and know ranges rather well (definitely past the point of geekdom) so I was quick to spot what was new and what was not.

So! My top ten trends for stationery and design-led gifts based on Top Drawer Jan 13:

1. Typography and monograms are still huge. Good news for me as these are something I work with a lot. Fonts are getting cleaner and definitely appealing to a more broad market (not gender specific). Well bloody love typewriters, still. Me too though!

2. The "animal thing" is still knocking about for sure. We seem to be getting less exotic and more close to home though, with plenty of chickens, dogs and woodland animals around *cough* squirrels *cough*

3. Emphera is not going anywhere, but the execution is a lot cleaner and less contrived. This makes me happy.

4. Laser cutting of anything is massive. Card, paper, Perspex, wood... The lot! Top tip if you have a big pile of money burning a hole in your pocket is to buy one! Then let me come for a borrow please.

5. Comedy is overruling soppy wording in cards, again - hooray!

6. Saturated colours and brights are really popular. So much colour!

7. People still like sparkly things. Oh well!

8. One and two colour prints were popular, more so then digital prints with lots of colours in. We discussed that this might be due to budget constraints, but I think it may also be because folk love the line quality and texture of screen printing, and this is much easier to do with a more limited palette.

9. Dinosaurs and robots aren't just for boys, brilliant!

10. Hand drawn prints are having a renaissance. There was plenty of graphic printing around, but what really stood out were the delicate and somewhat naive line qualities of the prints. Really special and lovely.

What I didn't see, which I thought I would, was more of a thing on recycled/reused items. I understand when mass producing this is difficult, but only a few designers seemed to be doing this. It's good news for me!

It's overwhelming to see people who are doing amazingly well and the scale of the exhibition, but I'm pleased because I had a great day, and I do see a Katie shaped space in the market so it's all ever so exciting!

Here are few of the amazing folk I discovered:

Fracas Studios
It's pretty obvious to see why I like this chap!

Ros Shiers
A lovely illustrator

Amy Allwright
Gorgeous prints from a gorgeous (& very helpful) lass

Did you go to Top Drawer? What trends did you see?

Katie x

PS - the photographs are from the displays at the front of the exhibition, I didn't take photographs of any individual/companies work as I didn't want to unfairly distribute. It's nice to be nice in this business!

PPS - all opinions are my own and not of top drawer or the amazing folk there :-)