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.


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.


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’


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.


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.


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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Interested in Forecasting Design Trends for Interiors? Hurry they’re coming to an End …..

At this year’s Decor + Design Show the Scarlet Opus lead team provided several show features for visitors that centered around Trends. Future Design Trends for Interiors, a translation of Consumer desires into Retail outlet design, tours of 15 exhibiting companies with products that reflected elements of design trends for 2016 into 2017 and more.

As a part of our involvement with the show this year (which also incorporated the Australian International Furniture Fair) Victoria was invited by a ‘Business Journalist’ and DJ (Michael Williams) onto his show airing on national radio station ABC. In our experience, when a radio or TV show host asks for an interview to be pre-recorded, it’s usually so that they can edit it in such a way as to provide an entertainment factor, rather than a factual, fair or even interesting business report of a chosen subject.

During the interview Victoria was asked some great questions by Michael and yet he also made some ‘just for comic effect’ comments that could have been used to deride the subject of Trend Forecasting. To some, even me at times, it can be the butt of a few comical (some might say sarcastic) comments “where did you buy your crystal ball” hahahaha …… We have been expecting an edited version of this interview to follow the format of our previous experiences. Experiences I hasten to add that have been associated with ‘some’ instances where we have worked with the ‘consumer/public facing’ media. It is not something we have experienced when working with media in the ‘trade’.

Imagine our surprise and delight when discovering that in fact, Michael Williams & ABC Radio had aired a really good edition of the interview. One that allowed him to provide some of the humour that has made him so popular, and yet provide an interview for his listeners to tune into, on the subject of ‘Design Trends for Interiors’ that was informative and interesting. Anyone working in the field of Interior Design, Architecture or in the manufacture and retail of interior products that listened will have been not only entertained by a local DJ but encouraged to tune into his show again. We were!

Of course, you are justified in thinking that I am biased in my view; no-one looks forward to the prospect of colleagues, or their company being the subject of someone else’s humour or feeling their work is being ridiculed. But, this short posting is made with the sole intent of acknowledging the unbiased view and professionalism of one DJ/Journalist down in Melbourne, Australia called Michael Williams; he has somewhat restored our faith in the broadcasting media – Thank you Michael and ABC Radio of Australia.

It’s a 12 minute  covering stuff such as how do you get to be a Trend Forecaster; what’s the connection between fashion and interior trends; how does it help business and what does it give the consumer. It also touches on current trends perhaps leading to the ‘demise of Trend Forecasting’!

But as always the team at Scarlet Opus is most interested in what YOU think of the interview? I’d be delighted to hear your opinion and to answer any questions you may have after listening to it………………

Not clicked on a ‘Link’ to listen to Victoria’s interview yet? Do it here, do it now :-) …..


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Trendbook Offer: Visually Stunning 2015 Design Trends – Interiors

2015 Design Trendbook for Everything Interiors  

For a special price of just £60 you can get all the inspiration you’ll need to support your creativity this year. Purchase our 2015 Design Trends report.

This 75 page document includes 4 different design trends applicable to anything ‘interiors’ and outlines our background research including fashion and architecture, as well as a guide to material, shape, pattern, texture, and surface effects. Each trend includes a colour palette with Pantone Fashion + Home and Formula Guide Coated/Uncoated references. A perfect source of inspiration for product designers, marketing teams, interior designers, retailers for merchandising and window dressing – absolutely perfect. See the wealth of visually stunning inspiration below:

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Materials shapefashion colourpattern

BUY IT NOW – feel supported, inspired, renewed and have your own ideas confirmed

Got a question? call phil / Victoria or Laura +44 (0)1482 870360

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LIVE from The International Surface Event Vegas

This week we have been at The International Surface Event in Vegas hanging out in our luxury chalet…

Lots of hard work went into the design and curation of the trend hub, first we had to come up with the creative ideas and inspiration mood boards before beginning to draw and design the specifics of the hub. We worked with a very talented team of builders to bring the whole idea to life!

image image


Welcome to the Trend Hub… A space to be inspired, gather information on colour, textures and materials. Be interactive with our wool colour palette and play around creating your very own surface mood board, designing your own style and theme with our interesting and unusual surface textures and materials, a source of inspiration and design style trends. We have wallpaper, fabric, wood, tiles, leather and resin samples from Alex Turco, ARTO Brick, Campioni, KAZA Concrete, Carina Sohl, BedrosiansTownsend Leathers as well as fish skin leathers from Decorum Est along with many more interesting samples.


The chalet is a beautiful mix of natural elements; drift wood, shells, agate, faux fur and antlers alongside details of style and glamour, gold and glitter. It allows time and space to appreciate both the rawness and the refinement. With key interior features from Michael Aram and fantastic moose and deer heads from WallCharmers. Thank you to Quickstep for supplying our Dark Tudor Oak Brown floor from their Reclaime Collection.


The tree table of surface samples attracted lots of people, inviting people to be tactile and hands on with the products added an interactive element, you could also create your own wool colour palette to take home with you for your own reference, one from each of our 4 key trends. Thank you to Camira for supplying the wool it was a fantastic feature that everyone enjoyed.


Our international knitting project went down well with many people, mostly women, adding more and more rows. The special opal yarn creates a self stripe pattern, it’s fantastic!


Oh and here’s me giving one of many trend talks on the Hub…


Next week we will take you on our Trend Tour with images and information about the top ten exhibitors we spotted at the show.

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From Clicks to Bricks; why e-Tail is moving into Retail

Hi, I’m Laura the Trend Forecaster here at Scarlet Opus and I’m going to give you a little explanation about our hot topic ‘Clicks to Bricks’.

First of all, what does it mean? Well, ‘click to bricks’ is a term given to renowned online retailers moving into physical spaces on our high street. Traditionally it has been known for retail brands to succeed in store first before establishing an online presence however the growing trend of ‘clicks to bricks’ demonstrates that well-known online retailers are now becoming more experimental and toying with the two concepts of online and offline.

Creating a virtual presence before moving into a physical space is becoming a more recognisable transition; moving away from the web is not a step backwards but is about adapting to consumer needs. The brands that do create multiple channels of distribution are offering a variety of shopping experiences to suit individual consumer lifestyles.

A couple of examples of this movement include US online accessories brand Bauble Bar, online eyewear brand Warby Parker and online menswear retailers Bonobos.

These brands are less concerned with the traffic that ground level high street shops provide and more interested in the consumer experience, which can inform later decisions made regarding the future of the store.

No doubt you’ll all be familiar with the ongoing rise of the pop-up shop in recent years; which could be seen as another form of the ‘clicks to bricks’ model. This allows online retailers to ‘test the water’ before moving permanently into a physical space. This has been happening more and more as we see e-tailers take over high street stores on a short term basis or even set up their own physical space to attract consumers to take a look. With the majority of the products showcased online, small retail outlets can merely be a way of showcasing these products in real life, giving customers a chance to look and touch before they buy (showrooming).This is also a great way to boost the brand recognition.

Image courtesy of – Image courtesy of

Ebay pop up shop in Covent Garden London – Image courtesy of Ebay store in New York – Image courtesy of

We are also seeing retail brands moving into a more digital way of thinking and creating methods that mimic the online shopping experience. By blurring the lines between the digital online platform and the physical in store experience; retailers are creating a multichannel presence to expand the brand and enhance the consumer shopping experience. For example more brands are using digital services in store such as touchscreens, interactive displays and tools to enable customers to creatively customise their products, this offers a unique, quality experience to the customer, as well as making it convenient and hassle free for anybody to purchase the products.

The window below includes a huge touchscreen that’s ready to take your order and deliver your goods in less than an hour:

Image courtesy of

Image courtesy of

Amazon locker installations are being set up in many densely populated locations around the world. For the urban dwellers it is a great way to collect items at a precise location rather than worry about deliveries being left unattended on the doorstep.

js1600_Amazon-LockerSo why is this happening you ask… well, online shopping is becoming easier than ever before with laptops, tablets and smart phones all at our fingertips, with one click to buy and one touch of a button is all you need to purchase items online however; consumers are in search of that unique shopping experience with that personalised touch.

Not only is it important to physically feel the connection with a product but also to have the personal customer service in store. Consumers want to touch, feel and engage before they buy, to be able to have the tactile aspect with the convenience of online options such as home delivery or collection while interaction with digital devices enrich the shopping experience.

The convenience of shopping from the comfort of your own home is obviously beneficial in many ways, particularly for those who work 9-to-5 or those without transport to reach shops and not forgetting those (like myself) who sometimes like to indulge in a late night ASOS shopping spree, yet to be able to physically see and feel what you’re buying adds a completely different dynamic to the whole experience.

js1600_scarlet opus edit‘Clicks to Bricks’ describes the online retailers that are setting up space in physical stores, these retailers are adapting to consumer needs by creating unique shopping experiences.

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