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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Huddersfield University Graduate Show Review

Last week I visited the Huddersfield University Textile Practice Graduate Show to check out new and emerging talent. I always enjoy returning to the place where I studied and it is great to see the fantastic work displayed by the students. Here is a round up of some of my favourite designs…

Laura Ensinger

‘Poetic Profusion’ provides a print collection that’s bursting with artistic integrity, challenging fast paced and impersonal digitally generated design. This project is truly commercial with a quality made, ‘mix and match’ collection that has a beautiful painterly hand drawn aesthetic. 2016-06-11 13.14.56

Jordan Evans

‘Priceless Possessions’ is a project created for the luxury menswear market, these highly intricate and beautiful embroidered fabrics bring a unique and stylish element to detailing on fashion items. In particular this idea relates to the growing desire for handcrafted and to a greater extent personalisation.

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Becca Buttons 

Scandi Stitch offers a combination of traditional 50’s Scandinavian design with a contemporary, colourful twist showcasing a range of playful embroidery designs into hard materials and fabric. These pieces are intriguing and unique; a perfect addition to a modern interior.

Becca Buttons offers a bespoke made to order service. Each piece is beautifully handcrafted and made from laser cut Perspex which is then slowly hand embroidered into.

Becca Buttond

Gemma Blackwell

I love how experimental and playful this project is, ‘Oddity’ adopts a curious approach to exploring the use of materials in relation to embroidery. This project investigates a combination of traditional techniques such as print and embriodery with unconventional material use and embellishment. The outcome inspired sample development for wearable luxury fashion fabrics. This project relates to our ‘Play’ trend which embraces materials such as foam, neoprene, silicone and plastics.

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Sophie Lee Wilkinson

Inspired by the traditional methods of craftsmanship, this project incorporates hand-dyed British Wool and hand-woven fabrics to create a unique collection that celebrates the integrity and skills required during the making process. Indigo is a key colour for 2016 and this technique allows us to fully appreciate it’s dynamic and pleasing application to textiles.

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Jessica Moor

The ‘Honesty’ collection embraces the delicacy of nature with the peeling back of layers through time. It is designed to explore the hidden beauty of nature through print techniques on transparent flowing fabrics. I think it works beautifully as a collection, where the intensity of the colour palette creates an intriguing dark atmosphere, perfectly in-keeping with our Autumn/Winter trends of re-establishing our relationship with nature.

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To see more projects please visit the Textiles Practice Blog.

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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
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This month I have been chatting to YanYan Evan-Jones, a surface pattern illustrator currently based in Sussex, England. At the moment YanYan designs and illustrates adult colouring books, which are becoming increasingly popular world wide. I love that YanYan has such a daring approach to design in that she works directly in ink on to blank paper, being confident and fully committed to her creative vision. I hope you will be able to appreciate and enjoy her work as much as I do.

Tell us a little bit about yourself…

IMG_7714My name is YanYan Evan-Jones. I’m originally from Guangzhou, China but emigrated to England to live with my husband in September 2014. I’m fluent in English, Cantonese and Mandarin and have primarily spent my professional career working as a language teacher for over 5 years in China.


  1. Where do you gather inspiration for your designs?

Most of my inspiration comes from nature, so I would describe my style as a simple but highly abstract interpretation of the natural beauty that surrounds me, and indeed all of us, on a daily basis.


  1. What is your creative process?

When I first started to draw in April 2015, I would draft my work in pencil before going over it with a pen. At this time I didn’t really have my own style and doodling was just an enjoyable way to kill time. The first time I worked directly on paper with pen was in July, after returning from trip to France – I remember picking up a black pen and casually drawing on a piece of paper. There wasn’t a specific object in my mind at that moment, I just followed my heart, an overall idea forming bit by bit with each additional line. Eventually, my first featured work was born, an intricate black and white drawing of some flowers. I shared this piece with my friends in various social media circles, and to my delight, it seemed as though many people loved it! The positive way my work was received was a great source of inspiration, and since then, I primarily let my heart take the lead and work directly with pen and paper.  I love the fact that working this way means that there are no second chances; for better or worse you have to be confident and fully commit to your creative vision!


  1. What is your favourite piece of work that you have created? 

My favorite piece has no specific name,  it is a thought from an English phrase “the apple of one’s eyes”, but I changed the last word into “heart” , so it is “the apple of one’s heart”. If you could try to look into the details of it, it is an abstract object mixed with an apple and a heart within, the leaves surrounding, which represents nature. 


  1. What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently designing a number of commissioned black and white illustrations for an adult colouring book-Mindful Colour and teaching Chinese (Mandarin).


  1. What are you doing when you are not creating? 

Apart from my newfound love for, and potentially blossoming career in design, I also have real passion for healthy living and fitness – working out every day keeps me sane, energetic and positive!

  1. Do you have any tips or inspiring words for others?

“In the darkness, only ambition will guide you.”

Keep doing what you love, and never shy away from showing your work to others – so long as we’re prepared to listen, all feedback is good feedback and you never know what might result from meeting the right person at the right time!


     8. Where can we find you? 

Facebook Instagram or email;

YanYan welcomes commissions and is perfectly able to adapt her style to any particular subject matter. Please feel free to contact her on the above.

I would like to say a huge thank you to YanYan for allowing us a sneak peek into her creative world. Make sure you check out her wonderfully inspiring instagram and expect to see a lot more of Yanyans beautiful surface pattern designs!



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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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