January 10, 2011 • Sarah Schwartz
10 Designers to Watch in 2011
The stationery industry is rife with distinctive points of view. And behind every amazing release, there exists an even more amazing personality who brought that special vision to life. It’s these trendsetters who keep our industry alive, exciting and eternally dynamic.
While these talented 10 are by no means the only designers to watch, getting a better sense of their output, from current best-sellers to surprise hits, not only illuminates their lines but the consumer landscape as a whole. Meanwhile, getting a glimpse of designers’ usually hidden passions adds dimension to their output – and hints at what we might expect next.
Ashley Woodman | Simplyput by Ashley Woodman
Aesthetic of the Line: Our line is a hybrid of modern and traditional influences, fresh enough to excite but timeless enough to archive. Our goal is to win the praise of the bride and her mother as well as the grandmother, best friend and flower girl.
Current Best-seller: Announcements and stationery from our Sibling line.
Personal Favorite: Poppies Save-the-Date.
Surprise Hit: Pear holiday card. Sometimes the cards that take the least amount of time to design are the biggest sellers.
Iconic Selection: Silhouettes.
Favorite color: Benjamin Moore’s “Quiet Moments.” It is pale pale blue mixed with a tiny bit of celery. It’s the color of my kitchen and inspires a majority of our designs as my kitchen is always my last stop before heading to work.
Current Design Obsession: Too many obsessions to count. I am across the board. I am obsessed with anything that surprises me. I am just as happy discovering something on Etsy as I am at the shoe department at Barneys.
Favorite Flower: White anemones with black centers.
Favorite Indulgences: Girls’ trips.
Jonathan Adler | Jonathan Adler through Lifeguard Press
Aesthetic of the Line: Jonathan Adler is known for a design aesthetic that pairs modernist forms with bold colors and groovy graphics.
Current Best-Seller: Calendars.
Personal Favorite: Too many to pick!
Surprise Hit: Water bottles
Iconic Selection: Letterpressed notes
Favorite Color: Orange
Current Design Obsession: Batik and block prints.
Favorite Flower: Ranunculus.
Favorite Indulgence: Vacations to Capri.
Sara Hicks Malone | Hicks Paper Goods
Aesthetic of the Line: Hicks Paper Goods are urban in feel, fun and designed for the modern consumer with discriminating taste.
Current Best-Seller: The Engaged Swanky invitation has been a best-seller since its January ’09 release. People love it for its modern, yet elegant design and color scheme.
Personal Favorite: Hicks personalized favor boxes have a huge amount of uses – popcorn boxes, flower “vases,” party favor boxes, etc.
Surprise Hit: Melamine plate and laminated placemat combination.
Iconic Selection: Personalized Cupcake Flags.
Favorite color: Pink!
Current Design Obsession: All things party-based: Confetti System, alternate wrapping papers, super huge balloons, garlands of all sorts.
Favorite Flower: Peonies, ranunculus, and any flower-y branch like Dogwood or Forsythia.
Favorite Indulgence: Sleep (!) and hot stone massages
Erika Firm | Delphine Press
Aesthetic of the Line: Delphine designs are clean, timeless and decidedly elegant.
Current Best-Seller: Our Rixi design — it’s super simple yet elegant, and works for casual or black tie events.
Personal Favorite: Darlington — part modern, part vintage and a little quirky.
Surprise Hit: Arizona Cactus. Who knew so many people were into succulents?
Iconic Selection: Amelie. It’s our signature pattern.
Favorite Color: A limey yellow-green. I love it so much that my friends and family now call it “Erika Green.” In stationery, I’m loving melon right now, especially when paired with retro aqua and antiqued golds.
Current Design Obsession: Juxtaposing industrial chic and romantic 18th century French patterns.
Favorite Flower: Mimosas, which grow wild in my back yard. And dahlias. And jasmine. And peonies. And tulips. And poppies. And hydrangeas. This question is hard!
Favorite Indulgence: Time unplugged, naps on the beach and visiting “junk” shops.
Julie Schaffroth | Vanilla Print
Aesthetic of the Line: Sophisticated typography and vibrant colors with a fresh twist of posh.
Current Best-Seller: Our Peace Love Joy holiday design.
Personal Favorite: The “Believe Angel” from our Autism charity collection, I Want Cookies. My daughter contributed by drawing a lovely angel in memory of her grandmother. Sweet and gorgeous, bright and happy — everyone loves this card, and I couldn’t be prouder!
Surprise Hit: A personalized notecard with colorful butterflies.
Iconic Selection: Sophisticated typography is our iconic look. Combining fonts and colors is like a gourmet recipe — it’s a delicate mix that all love without realizing all the secret ingredients.
Favorite Color: All colors are gorgeous in the right combination; however, our current favorite is any and all shades of magenta. It is our signature color.
Current Design Obsession: This one is simple: amazing typography.
Favorite Flower: Happy, fresh bright pink Gerber daisies. There’s nothing better!
Favorite Indulgence: Spending time with my beautiful daughter. Her happiness is contagious.
Shannon Martin | Girl Designer
Aesthetic of the Line: A collection of comfort and cheer, designed with vintage photographs of family and friends (and lots of love). As I always say, “My mother is such a card! Along with my father, sisters, uncles, cousins …”
Current Best-Seller: Our card with a photo of my beaux Bill, taken when he was about 21. Did I mention how he loves being #1?)
Personal Favorite: I’m crazy over our Retro Button Mirrors, each with the meaningful message “For the Fairest Of Them All.”
Surprise Hit: Our Shannon Martin | Feel Goods Bath Salts were an instant splash! (Just add water to soothe your soul.)
Iconic Selection: Cheers to our witty, whimsical wine collection, including napkins, coasters, wine tags, bottle bags and more in store.
Favorite Color: A deep burnished plum, berry with a just a hint o’ brown. No wait, a true turquoise, like something you would see on an exotic vacation. Or maybe it’s that lovely leafy green. You’re not really going to make me pick just one, are you?
Current Design Obsession: Vintage pottery: McCoy, Hall, Bauer, Fiestaware, Rookwood, Homer Laughlin, Weller. I’ve been collecting these vases, platters and bowls for years, and now find the colors the perfect complement to the rich Sepia tones in our photographs.
Favorite Flower: The ones given to me. Right now my house is filled with sunflowers — how cheerful can one thing get? — as well as dahlias, you have to love how generous they are, blooming far into fall. Each bouquet reminds me of someone dear.
Favorite Indulgence: It would have to be community. Slowing down long enough to take time for neighbors that have become friends (that have become family). People dropping by, my front porch filled with pals and pooches. Impromptu picnics at the corner park. It’s the little things that are so big.
Margot Hallac | Atelier Isabey
Aesthetic of the Line: Luxurious glamour and high fashion inspired design with strong attention to quality materials and craftsmanship. Our innovative, elegant style fuses classic with contemporary.
Current Best-Seller: For couples looking for traditional with a twist, the Traviata design has a very classic wedding feel but still manages to generate impact and glamour via dramatic color contrasts, calligraphy and an opulent damask pattern.
Personal Favorite: New York City is a constant source of inspiration for me, and our Gotham design really embodies that Old World New York feel.
Surprise Hit: Sultan was initially designed as an Indian wedding invitation but surprisingly, we have had a lot of requests for this particular set for non-Indian and destination weddings. This bold, unexpected design can easily be transformed with colors, fonts and monograms to look completely different and I think that’s what has made it such a hit.
Iconic Selection: Our Romance design is very soft and romantic and has that ‘white wedding’ feel without looking stuffy or expected.
Favorite Color: Metallics! I really love pairing accents of vivid metallic inks and foils onto neutral colors. The result is unique and has a lot of visual depth.
Current Design Obsession: Right now I’m really into mixing different textures and materials like paper, metal, wood or fabric, to create a sense of the unexpected. We recently created a custom invitation suite (that) utilized seven different but coordinating papers from around the world.
Favorite Flower: It’s always changing but at the moment, it’s parrot tulips. I would wear them if they were large enough to make into clothes.
Favorite Indulgence: Staying in on a Friday night and watching a movie with my husband after a busy week. Others are shopping, yoga and Hermès scarves.
Saima Khan | Saima Says Design
Aesthetic of the Line: High-style design inspired by textiles, architecture, color and ornate motifs. Each piece in the line has been thoughtfully designed to complement the next, but has its own story to tell, making it a true work of art.
Current Best-Seller: Ballroom
Personal Favorite: Cosmopolitan
Surprise Hit: Tropical Escape
Iconic Selection: Versailles
Favorite Color: I love yellow, especially when coupled with grey.
Current Design Obsession: I wish I could own every at home product by Dwell Studio. Love their sense of design and color.
Favorite Flower: I’m not much of a flower kind-of-person, but if I had to pick it would be orchids. I like their minimal simplicity.
Favorite Indulgence: Jewelry. A girl can never have enough!
Sarah Nusken | donovandesigns
Aesthetic of the line: Simple, classic and colorful.
Current Best-Seller: Personalized notepads – handy to have and great to give.
Personal Favorite: Personalized recipe box and cards.
Surprise Hit: Zip Code Notepads. Very, very simple … but people can’t get enough of them!
Iconic Selection: Family stationery — one of our originals.
Current Design Obsession: Right now I am loving intricate wallpaper patterns in bright colors.
Favorite Color: Shocking pink, Pantone 225, which always pairs perfectly with Pantone 368.
Favorite Flower: Stargazer Lily
Favorite Indulgence: A good chocolate chip cookie and a nice pair of designer sunglasses.
Anahata Katkin | PaPaYa! Creative Abandon
Aesthetic of the Line: At PaPaYa! you’ll find an exciting spectrum of fine lifestyle, stationery, and gift items where urban boho chic meets art as inspiration.
Current Best-Seller: Asian Peony
Personal Favorite: Happy Birthday Fabulous card.
Surprise Hit: Fearless card.
Iconic Selection: I don’t create so much in collections. I prefer to work spontaneously. And in fact have a serious pet peeve about things being too matchy matchy. But naturally themes emerge based on a time period.
Favorite Color: This batch of recent designs seems to be in a very peachy, pink family. Warm but with sprinkles of lavender and turquoise.
Current Design Obsession: Flowers. Always flowers. Chinese watercolors and Victorian prints. I’m also challenging myself back to basics, working with acrylics, watercolors and pencil.
Favorite Flower: White, Asiatic Lilies, hibiscus and garden roses.
Favorite Indulgence: Pure neroli oil, eggplant parmesan, vodka tonic, premium skin care products and Quinacridone paints!