All things Stationery…

5 Stationery Brands to Love Right Now

As a passionate stationery enthusiast I love nothing more than scouting trade shows and events for new, up and coming designers and scoping out the fresh product launches from some of my favourite brands. Although technology sometimes takes over our lives, it is clear the love for all things stationery has not subsided as consumers continue to seek fashion-led paper products that we see constantly being blogged or instagrammed.

Here are 5 stationery brands and designers to watch out for…

1.Message Earth

This beautiful collection of greeting cards combines the stunning photo art created by Helena Christensen with an environmentally friendly philosophy. The cards are created with 100% recycled paper, printed using only vegetable ink and packaged in 100% bio-degradable plastic wrapping. A great combination of Danish design, sustainability and heartfelt messages. The unusual but intriguing mix of rusticity with pretty florals is perfect for this coming season!



2. Studio Sweet and Sour

Studio Sweet and Sour is a Dutch design studio who create wonderful stationery and gifts that are out of the ordinary. Their aim is to make things fun and to put a smile on your face (it definitely worked for me). They have a big love for detail and pay as much attention to the inside as they do the outside including interesting metallic foiling and neon edging. With contemporary colour combinations and exciting surface finishes; this is a product collection your don’t want to miss!

11224123_710628455741297_8356482309376643333_nimg_46843. Men’s Society

I love this award winning brand… Men’s society is your one stop shop for stylish and quality gifts designed specifically for men. They source unusual, quirky and classic items that will never date but rather improve with age and use. Many of their products are handmade using only the finest tools; this connects perfectly with our Analogue Workshop Trend for 2017. I will no longer struggle to buy presents for the men in my family!

img_4669 img_4668

4. Ohh Deer

Launched in 2011, this brand aims to bring quirky illustrated products to the mass market. This modern collective is made up of many unique illustrators who create anything from homeware to stationery and everything in-between. I particularly loved the dark floral notebooks designed by Susan Castillo, it fits perfect with our Heathland Trend for this coming winter.

img_4639 img_4692

5. Katie Leamon

Katie Leamon is a luxury card and stationery brand based in London, their family run production studio is based in the English Countryside where they design, create and deliver beautiful, hand finished collections of original paper products. The collection can be found at Selfridges, Anthropologie and Harrods.

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-18-11-29 screen-shot-2016-10-13-at-16-52-45

Top 5 Tips for Stationery Product Photography for your social media

  1. Lighting – Get the light right and you’re nearly there, it doesn’t need to be sunny you can set your scene near a window and create softness with a curtain or a sheet.
  2. Set the Scene – To shoot lifestyle, shoot detail, shoot wide – make sure you shoot a mix of ways to capture the scene adding some lifestyle elements that compliement your asethetic.
  3. Details – It’s all in the detail, look at the scene you’ve set – does it work? If not tweak.
  4. Edit – Use free editing software to edit pictures.
  5. Be Consistent – Get yourself a trademark style.

(Tips curtesy of Paperfest London as seen at Top Drawer)

For further stationery inspiration see our 2017 Stationery Trend Report; includes great ideas and inspiration for stationery designers and manufacturers, whilst also being superb stock purchase & merchandising guidance for retailers. Don’t forget to follow our ‘All Things Stationery‘ Pinterest board for the latest trend direction.

Most Voted this post Inspiring
We want to hear your voice ... place your Votes NOW
  • More Like This (2)
  • Inspiring (2)
  • Fabulous (2)
  • Interesting (1)

‘Themed’ Interior Design can go horribly wrong…..

…  but it hasn’t in this case, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

The Potting Shed is Beverley’s newest bistro bar serving the very best in homemade food and offering a wide selection of beers, cocktails and wine. Yesterday we decided on a work-lunch and had our own garden party to check-out the interior design!

IMG_4591What a great experience it was. The sun was shining, it was warm and the Potting Shed was busy as people enjoyed the last week of the UK’s summer holiday period. The newly established bistro bar is a transformation of the landmark Hodgsons pub and is located close to the recently developed Flemingate Centre where many fashion stores, coffee shops, a hotel and cinema can be found. Here is a team snap (left) … a rose between two thorns (some may say).


I dug up a little information about the Potting Shed brand, launched in Bingley, Yorkshire last year. It’s a contemporary bar and restaurant concept with an exceptional ‘garden‘ theme. They have a big emphasis on food, including a wood-fired pizza oven and also host live music acts each weekend. The quirky little areas of the place are also available for private parties.IMG_4589

14115506_1771258006477685_642002851573770072_o  On arrival the creativity & ingenuity of the interior decor is obvious, all fitting in beautifully of course with the bistro’s theme. Garden tools including spades, forks, and shovels were all displayed as if they were precious heirlooms. Watering cans and buckets were used as lighting features and wooden logs covered walls to create an authentic and grounded ‘garden’ feel. It was surprising how well a bucket can reflect the light, not to mention a cheap way to update the lighting features in your own home! Blooming brilliant! (OK! We’ve all noticed the ‘dad jokes’ here, in abundance; Laura Greenwood!) IMG_4579


I particularly liked this reclaimed chandelier centre-piece. Items hanging included old beer jugs, metal watering cans, glass jars and small garden trowels and tools. Although it appears to be old junk hanging from the ceiling it actually portrays a very genuine and accurate design element that adds a focal point to the room. I am always rooting for more reclaimed and recycled products!


The bar area incorporated reclaimed wooden planks across the front surface of the bar and mix’n match patterned tiles on the floor which really caught our eye! The ‘mix’n match’ approach to developing customisable patterned tiles is something we have talked lots about in Trend Presentations and it is nice to see how they have been embraced to fit in with this theme.

IMG_4582We finally planted (please!) ourselves down on a table made from reclaimed wood and old metal piping with and worn-look leather stools. For our lunch we ordered a selection of ‘Shed bites’ including pulled pork nachos, garlic dough balls, battered chicken goujons, crispy crab cakes and a selection of cold meats and bread served on a rustic wooden board… we definitely decided to go big and not go gnome (Any more of this Laura and we’ll actually ‘tell your dad’). The food was delicious, it really filled a hole and helped the work go down!


14066366_1771257736477712_6100505241297751287_oThe tableware also had a very rustic quality to it with a wonderful surface texture and aesthetic, it was unusually shaped, simple yet stylish.

As we weedled our way upstairs we found a room full of natural greenery, with a giant tree in the middle and a wall filled with thriving foliage. You don’t need green fingers to fill your home with lush leaves.

We took a look outside to grass-p the concept more. The astro-turf used on the terrace is a stroke of genius, a very simple, but very effective idea that pulls together the indoors and outdoors design beautifully. It will be easy to maintain and won’t ruin your heels ladies. The terrace and very large beer garden have unusually good quality furniture to sit on and it’s unusually comfortable. Water you waiting for? Go check it out! (Doh!)

And for the winter months…


You can grab your own plot and eat outside in one of the brightly colored sheds; each one a sheltered, private area in which to have your own exclusive garden party. I was extremely re-leafed to see that they have outdoor heaters for colder times; enabling everyone to stay cosy until turf-ed out!

14124358_1771257769811042_8918966620010400923_oWe had a very garden-inspired lunch at The Potting Shed, there is no worming your way out of trying this place out for great food and drinks, we predict it will grow extremely popular! It is an ideal spot for a relaxed dining experience, suitable for all. The ‘themed interior/exterior’ has been done in a very adult way and not in the least cheesey, it created the right amount of interest to become a talking point for all the right reasons…. so lettuce dance like no-one is watching and turnip that beet loud!  

Have you designed a hospitality interior that enables a good customer experience? Then let us know. If oyu would like some guidance, inspiration to create one we’d be delighted to help.

Happy Dining People!

And for those of you who don’t know about the location of Scarlet Opus HQ… we are based in the Town of Beverley in East Yorkshire, England. Beverley is described as the ‘Jewel of East Yorkshire‘ and renowned for its exquisite 13th Century Minster. The town is home to a lively market, a thriving music scene, excellent flat racing and a medieval skyline that remains refreshingly unspoilt… For more information visit

1271-Scotts - The Hall, Beverley 1

Most Voted this post Fabulous
We want to hear your voice ... place your Votes NOW
  • Fabulous (4)
  • Interesting (2)
  • Inspiring (2)
  • More Like This (1)

Scarlet Opus Team Update

We have been working very hard here at the Scarlet Opus Studio so we thought it would be a good idea to update you on what we have planned throughout the summer; including our International Trend Seminars, Exhibition Trend Hubs and more!

DESSO Talk.001Index Dubai

Next month we are at the International Design Exhibition Index in Dubai. We will be giving a Trend Seminar; (schedule TBC) and Trend tours; which showcase some of the best creative and contemporary products at the exhibition.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 16.45.33

You will also be able to experience our Trend Hub (visual below by Rebecca Shipham) to be inspired by information, trend stories and interactive features including innovative surfaces and material samples, representing future design trends.


You can also learn more about Visual Merchandising by attending our inspirational Window Display Workshop. The hands-on course will teach you how to inspire consumers through trend-led displays, it is intended to help attendees make a connection between store design and consumer experience; connecting businesses to communities through merchandising. Sign up Here.

Screen Shot 2016-04-27 at 16.40.01

For more information about the show please see the Official Preview Magazine. If you are planning to visit the event you can pre-register here.

Clerkenwell Design Week

And if you can’t make it to Dubai you can find us speaking at Clerkenwell Design Week in London. Sally Angharad will be presenting at Desso on the 24th May. The topic will cover Interior Design trends with translation into workplace design with a focus on personalisation.

Book your place here.

Exclusively Housewares London

We will be back again this year at Exclusively Housewares on 14-15 June. Our trend seminar will include trend confirmations as well as future trend information for housewares product. We will also be awarding our ‘#SOcool’ badges to products we feel consumers are looking for.

You can register for the show here. Find out what we got up to last year...


Decor and Design Melbourne

On the 21-24 July you will find us at Decor and Design in Melbourne, Australia.   We will be taking you on Trend Tours to showcase the key products that just can’t be missed at the show! Victoria will also be giving a Trend Seminar (schedule TBC).

Register to visit here. Find out what we got up to last year

UK Flooring Show 2016

The Trends Hub will be back at the UK Flooring Show in September, plans are well underway…xBUpJ2GpSQbiEEs2o3C-yhyVi29YL-SEvAzJ_WgQu0g[1] Find out what we got up to last year

If you have any questions about any of the events please get in touch!

Most Voted this post Fabulous
We want to hear your voice ... place your Votes NOW
  • Fabulous (2)
  • Interesting (1)
  • Inspiring (1)
  • More Like This (0)

Ocean Waste inspiring #BeautifulDesign

Tackling our ocean waste is a growing concern which we see many innovative designers addressing through modern practices. Considered design is now essential to product development, from the recycling of materials to the impact it has on the environment; in particular the damage it does to our already polluted oceans. Designers have to re-think, re-invent and re-evaluate ways to prevent waste and sustain our natural resources.


Scientists estimate that about 8 million tons of plastic debris such as food packaging and plastic bottles are being washed into the oceans each year. With this in mind, we have put together a selection of our favorite designers that aspire to raise awareness of protecting and preserving our oceans. From fashion lines to interior product, here are 6 interesting projects that demonstrate the beauty in ocean waste.

  1. Sportswear brand Adidas with British Designer Alexander Taylor launched a prototype shoe with an upper made entirely from yarns and filaments produced using plastic salvaged from the ocean.Adidas
  2. Studio Swine have created a collection called Gyrecraft which includes five pieces that incorporate plastic trawled from the oceans. This piece is named North Pacific Gyre and is made from brass, sea plastic, green abalone shell, rope and shackle.Studio swine
  3. Interface have developed a collection named Net Effect™, a product range inspired by a project called Net-Works™ which collects discarded fishing nets and recycles them into yarn for carpet tiles. The Net Effect™ design is offered in beautiful textures and color reflective of the Ocean.interface
  4. Studio Nienke Hoogvliet is a textile, product and concept design studio based in the Netherlands. RE-SEA ME is a project aiming to ‘raise awareness of the waste issues we have in the oceans’. It aspires to show the beauty of materials we find in the sea in the hope to inspire people to work with them more often. Nienke creates beautiful leather out of fish skins which are a common waste product of the fishing industry. Studio Nienke Hoogvliet
  5. Pharrell Williams launched a collection with G-star Raw. “RAW for the Oceans” is a collaborative project retrieving plastic from the ocean and transforming it into denim. A step-by step-explanation of how they transform the waste plastic from the ocean can be found on their website.  g star raw
  6. Bureo creative skateboards from recycled plastic fishing nets found on the coastlines of Chile. Each skateboard prevents more than 30 square feet of harmful plastic fishnets from entering the ocean while providing support to local Chilean fishing communities. The company succeeds in demonstrating a positive, educational and creative way of addressing the growing problem of ocean plastic pollution. bureo
Most Voted this post Fabulous
We want to hear your voice ... place your Votes NOW
  • Fabulous (6)
  • Interesting (4)
  • Inspiring (4)
  • More Like This (2)

KEY TRENDS at the Surface Design Show, London

Last week we headed down to London for the Surface Design Show at the Business Design Centre in Islington.  On the train journey there I decided to write a post based around my 6 favourite finds at the show that connected with current trends, but on arrival it was obvious that 6 was not going to be enough.  This boutique-scale show was full of fascinating surface products and so here are all my favourite finds from across the show:

pic 1 - leather

I spotted this amazing leather panel (above left) on the Pintark by LOCO Design booth. Based in India, they describe themselves as “Specialising in advanced surface treatment and crafted material application”.  Their booth was filled with a diverse range of surface designs attached to their modular panel system.  This particular 3D leather panel reminded me of mushrooms or dried flowers … stunning!

pic lace

I was fascinated to discover the Metalier booth displaying panels that showcased how their product can turn virtually any surface into real metal!  Basically if you can apply paint to a material, either by spraying or brushing, you can apply Metalier to it … from cloth to polished concrete! It’s an ingenious product comprised of 95% pure metal and will last 20-25 years! This lace surface (above left) was getting all the attention on their booth.  Lace has been a big trend again since the royal wedding, and has even pushed through into makeup trends.  Now we’re seeing a host of products in stores that mimic lace patterns and textures, from tableware to wallpaper … and even baking products!


It’s always exciting and inspiring to see the booth put together by The University of Huddersfield (above). For several years, design students whose work is a direct result of industry collaboration have been selected to exhibit at the show.  Although it’s been a great showcase for the students work, and has often resulted in placements and sponsored projects, it’s been a challenge to directly convert their ideas into commissions and cash!  So a Senior Lecturer at the University, Joanne Harris, launched IDEAShaus – a commercial enterprise working to help students gain commissions or sell their work to companies. 4 students brought the booth alive with their work this year … let’s take a closer look:

pic Alice montage

Alice McBride showcased the work from her final major project at University, which was one of my favourite projects when we attended the opening night last summer.  Her work is inspired by the relationship between nature and industrialism, and she uses a fusion of Gothic architecture and “free living botanicals” to create intricate patterns. Layers of soft paint strokes and strict geometrics are joined together to create unique wall panels. Some of this collection was a collaboration with Daedalian Glass Studios and experimented with how laser cut materials reacted to being trapped in glass. Alice’s latest project ‘ORIGIN’ was also displayed and was really extraordinary work. It has an ordered calmness that I absolutely loved and it was so easy to envision this work as intricate privacy screens/space dividers in a chic bar or hotel in the likes of Dubai; backlit as a wall panel in a retail department; or as table tops in a restaurant!

pic samantha stewart

Samantha Stewart recently completed an MA Textiles at the University of Huddersfield.  She uses a variety of weaving looms to create fabric structures that effectively “trap ephemera from social waste” (such as zips and nails) to make a creative connection with the textile traditions of the people of Kohistan, who use redundant objects to decorate textiles. From these unusual woven pieces Samantha produces digital imagery to decorate fabrics, and then upholsters seating pieces with these fabrics.

Over the past few years we’ve been exploring Glitch Art in our trend reports and Samantha’s work was strangely reminiscent of this aesthetic … disrupted patterns that have the appearance of electrical interference and contained energy.  Look out for more of these types of mis-registered, glitch patterns over the next year.

pic Emma Linney

Emma Linney displayed her final major project from her Honors Degree show.  Entitled ‘Surface Tactility’ it explored 4 main techniques for creating imagery, which comprised of CNC routing, laser-cutting, UV printing and screen printing. These techniques were combined to create surfaces that have both visually and tactile appeal. Emma’s work is ideal for large wall panels and I’d love to see her commissioned to create pieces for a hotel lobby, a fashion accessories or jewelery store, or even an independent coffee shop.

It’s interesting that we’ve seen laser-cutting techniques trending strongly in product design at shows around the world, but I haven’t seen printed pattern used to forge such a close relationship with laser-cut pattern before.  It’s something I’ll be keeping a look out for in other Designer’s work because my trend senses are tingling!

pic Rebekah Hutchinson

Rebekah Hutchinson recently gained a BA Honors Degree in Surface Design for Fashion and Interiors.  Her ‘Endless Abstraction’ collection comprised a series of unique wall coverings created using screen printing, hand printing, laser-etching and UV printing.  The resulting intricately multi-layered abstract patterns blend and bleed into one another and the surface of the plywood base material.  The finished panels seemed to me to have both botanical and industrial qualities, and it’s a mix I really like – the natural textures and motif are so intermixed with the raw, crumbling, weathered surfaces that it’s hard to tell which is which.  And this whole concept of developing a new relationship with nature in our urban environment is essential to current future design trends.

Rebekah Hutchinson insitu

Rebekah’s designs are begging to be blown-up to become large-scale wall panels and, as you can see above, they would provide a very contemporary, gritty/botanical backdrop to a coffee shop, bistro or restaurant.

green wall

On our travels to exhibitions, from Décor + Design in Melbourne to Index in Dubai, we get to see a lot of products that enable nature to be brought indoors – whether it’s a commercial, retail, hospitality or residential setting. Caged plant pot privacy screens; felt plant pocket walls; ceramic planter wall tiles … we’ve seen them all! But Bright Green brought something to the show the likes of which we hadn’t seen before. They call it Vertical Pod. It’s a system that can be used with live or artificial plants, inside or outside, and it can be used against a wall or as free standing screening. And as you can see from the photo above, a row of Vertical Pods can work brilliantly as an unusual space divider or privacy screen, and is a great alternative to a traditional green wall.

Look out for the whole issue of Privacy being addressed by product designers in a big way over the next few years. It’s a hot topic in design circles at the moment as people begin to seek out greater privacy in all areas of their lives, including of course their online presence.

pic caroline hough

I was delighted to see Caroline Hough Design exhibiting again this year and I finally got to meet the lady herself. Caroline produces interior and exterior surfaces using bio resins, Jesmonite and native timbers like Elm. Her work is both texturally raw, often exploiting the natural forms of the weathered timbers, and minimalist in its smooth simplicity. To me it epitomises a new design trend relating to ‘controlled rusticity’ (something we explore in detail in our Spring/Summer 2017 trend report). Put simply, I love Caroline’s work – the marriage of materials and the complimentary contrasts that exist between textures and colours. Everything about the surfaces she creates is deeply considered and precise, and yet she seems to leave space for natural processes and chance. It’s a way of working that requires confidence and experience, as well as respect for the materials she works with. My favourite surface on her modest booth brought together bio resin and pieces of hexagonal timber … everything about it was right.

pic pladec

Pladec is a Portuguese manufacture of architectural decorative high-end panels for wall coverings and furniture applications. Their product development work is fantastic and they have a keen on current and future trends. We’ve showcased several of their panels on our Trends Hubs including at TISE in Las Vegas.
When it comes to innovative, on-trend metal or wood panels I think their range is second to none.

At the show this year they exhibited several ultra-oxidized metal effects that really caught my eye, as well as tessellated tile formations and blue-toned wood panels … if you were at my seminar or Trend Tours at TISE this year then you’ll remember that blue-toned wood was one of my top tips for flooring in 2017.

(For UK enquiries contact Kolourful Creative Solutions)



Most Voted this post Inspiring
We want to hear your voice ... place your Votes NOW
  • Inspiring (5)
  • Fabulous (2)
  • More Like This (2)
  • Interesting (1)