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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Decor + Design Show 2015 Trend Tour

The Scarlet Opus team have travelled all the way to Melbourne Australia for the Decor + Design Show. We have been giving seminars and trend tours, providing visitors with information on the products we picked out that relate specifically to current and future trends. These products have specific relevance to our 2016 trends (outlined by Victoria in her seminar). For those of you who didn’t get chance to visit, here is a snap shot of some of the exhibitors included on the trend tour for our readers to enjoy.

Stephanie NG Design

Stephanie offers a range of lighting solutions for residential & commercial projects, as well as a custom design service. We love how Stephanie incorporates a sense of craft into her work, it has a very personal, handmade aesthetic whilst also retaining its functional edge. She uses a combination of color, form and texture to create her lights. These are named ‘Luna Lana’ and made from 100% Merino Wool. We see handcrafted knit products continue to strengthen internationally, even knitted ceramics! We feel that these light would look especially effective clustered together creating a striking feature in an interior setting.



Fiona McDonald created exquisite hand crafted porcelain bowls, vessels and lighting pieces which each are completely unique. These bowls are beautifully imperfect. No fuss, no frills, they are modest not boastful and visually quiet. Their uneven, hand-formed textured are pleasing to interact with, comforting to hold, and create a direct dialogue between the user and the maker.


MRD Homes

MRD are award-winning designers and manufacturers of homewares, furniture and lighting, supplying many of Australia’s leading furniture retailers and designers. Their exclusive trend-focused interior ranged are careful co-ordinated so that the pieces complement each other. this makes is easier from a merchandising perspective if you’re a retailer, and makes it a one-stop shop for Interior Designers. This colour palette relates specifically to our privacy trend, the reduced pastels have a unisex appeal, they are slightly infected with a grey tone. There is an industrial influence communicated via the use of grey, with concrete lighting and grey felt upholstery with a concrete aesthetic. There is a tactile softeness of faux furs as well as the visuals of softness represented by the muted blush, diffused corals, warm cosmetic tones and crisp mint greens.


Take your seat

This is a family company run by Suzanne. Whether you have a separate office in your home or work within an open plan space, these chairs are a fantastic addition to your working environment. Sometimes it’s not ideal to have a big black leather swivel chair in a home office but options are generally quite limited. These chairs on the other hand introduce something stylish rather than ugly. It relates to the emerging trend seen in commercial workplaces about making the office more homely. Through choice of furniture, layout and styling, this trend aims to encourage employees to be relaxed and their ‘true self’ rather than work versions of themselves.


Artista Style

We loved Rebecca’s paintings and illustrations. Her work focuses on coastal illustrations inspired by the vastness of ocean realms. Her sumptuous, submerged style connects beautifully with our 2016 Fantastical Nature trend relating to underwater influences that we expect to emerge. We have been talking for some time about the developing interest in water effects and intense blues. Expect gradient ombres, colour effects that merge or bleed into each other as well as Japanese Shibori dye techniques with Indigo blue being an important colour for 2016.


UTE Design

‘UTE’ is an abbreviation of the word ‘utilitarian’ or ‘utility’, which captures the focus of the company on simple functionality and refined design. The products are honest, simple modern, clever and well made. The ‘Lanna Garden Screen’ is a unique screening device for both indoor and outdoor use. It can be fixed to a wall or floor and the mesh base is filled with polished river pebbles which helps to anchor it if used as a privacy space divider. The product relates to the ‘urban farming’ phenomenon where the ‘grow your own’ movement continues to strengthen. It is driving more product developments that enable people to grow your own produce indoors as well as outdoors, it is particularly good for people with limited outdoor space. We’re also seeing a trend emerging for introducing living green features into our interiors, particular kitchen and dining areas. It essentially relates to the popularity of Green Walls or Vertical Gardens and Biophillic design. Therefore this product is a great way to introduce lush nature into interior schemes.


Bisque Interiors

Bisque Interiors are a wholesale company catering to retail shops and interior decorators. Bisque import their hand-selected products from around the world, as well as offering products that are designed in-house by Kathy and Ralph. The product we have picked relates specifically to our forecast for spring/summer 2017 – ‘the unstructured sofa’. We begin to see slouchy, unstructured seating shapes emerge. It is made from Linen and is a wonderful warm neutral tone, it is all about casual, laid back comfort; an ultra-informal approach to form and a care-free attitude to styling. Unpretentious and honest.


Uniqwa Furniture Imports

And last but not least Uniqwa Furniture Imports. This whole booth in many ways fits perfects with out Nature Luxe trend. It is filled with products that represent a laid back luxury inspired by nature’s treasures. Across their product range there is a respect for natural materials, a raw, grounding earthiness, the skill of handmade products, soothing, calming, pure colors with a sumptuous, luxurious element introduced via soft accessories. Charl, who founded the company, is originally from Cape Town and studied furniture design in Melbourne. He is a firm believer that outdoor furniture should be equally stylish and of equal quality to interior furniture. We are forecasting a strong shift in outdoor living (over the next 5 years) towards outdoor spaces being treated much more as multi-functional outdoor rooms that have a greater sense of permanence. It’s all about bringing the inside outside.


Other companies included Havwoods (Herringbone and Parquet collection) Adobe Furniture & Homewares (Chicago Range) Boyd Blue (Travertine Table) Sounds like Home (Roadie Mini bar) Deziner Panels (Reclaimed wooden panels) Globe West (Beehive Lights)

We would like to thank all of the exhibitors who were part of the tour and all of the visitors who gave up their time to come along. We hope you enjoyed it! If you need any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch –

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Decor + Design Melbourne 2015

The Scarlet Opus team have travelled all the way to Melbourne in Australia for the Decor + Design Show. This show is Australia’s premier Interior event, showcasing the latest interior products and furnishings from leading companies. We have an action packed week giving seminars and trend tours, providing visitors with information on products we picked that relate specifically to current and future trends. If you are attending the show over the next couple of days here is the seminar schedule, make sure you arrive early to get a seat.


Victoria had a stacked out audience for her seminar with many individuals eager to learn about future trends for 2016 and beyond. The trend boards are available to view and take pictures of in the champagne bar at the beginning of each trend tour. The retail and designer trend tour includes 15 products displayed around the exhibition that relate to the key 2016 trends. For those of you who didn’t manage to make the event, we will be posting a virtual trend tour of the exhibition on our blog next week!

IMG_0192Here is Victoria presenting the Trend Tour…


VIVID (Vibrant Visions in Design) is Australia’s longest running design competition which showcases some of the most dynamic emerging Australian designers. Our very own Victoria was asked to be part of the judging panel for the furniture category of the competition. The standard was exceptionally high and it was great to see some creative and innovative design concepts emerging in the world of interiors.


We would like to congratulate all of the winners and in particular Richard Greenacre for his Credenza furniture piece. Richard chose to look beyond traditional veneers and considered how a system of 3D tiles could conceal a surface. The Credenza is constructed from solid European Beech and fronts a textural armoured facade of hand cast acrylic tiles.


Here are five of my personal highlights from the show so far…

Bambambu Homewares

Bambambu is a 100% Australian eco cushion company based in Brisbane. Their cushions are designed, printed and manufactured locally using cutting edge technology onto ancient fibres. They are digitally printed using water based inks on the finest quality organic cotton and hemp fabric. These bright, bold shades and wonderful patterns take inspiration from many different areas including cultural influences as well as Japanese Shibori which also relates to our 2016 trends.


Rika Herbst Bohlokoa Studio

Bohlokoa Studio opened in September 2003 as a ceramic studio teaching ceramics to adults and children. It has work available at various galleries in South Africa and now proudly exhibits the wonderful pieces here at Decor + Design in Melbourne. I love the intricate detail of each porcelain art piece by Rika Herbst. Each has a crafted and handmade, dripping textural aesthetic but with an element of luxury displayed in the gold rim. The contrast between the back, white and gold porcelain bowl proved a popular favourite at the show.



Milk and Sugar

Milk and Sugar are a Melbourne based brand that aims to provide well designed, simple yet beautiful things for the home without the hefty price tag. I love the simplicity of shape and form within this collection. The muted pastels are injected with a grey tone making them unisex colors rather than feminine. The contrast between these block colors and the mono chrome prints create a modern and contemporary aesthetic that I would especially love to incorporate into a bedroom space.


Alexander Brown

I loved this amazing beaded sculptural piece by Alexander Brown. In addition to utilising discarded construction material, he has introduced semi-precious stones into current sculpture works. The Amethyst Textile sculpture blends precious stones and metals to create a jewelled textile which is a development of other sculptural textiles he has made using beads. This is a luxurious piece that works especially nice with our Nature Luxe trend.



Kirsten Jackson

Kirsten is a passionate Melbourne based professional artist who concentrates predominantly on abstraction. Her main motivation is to portray the inherent beauty and harmony that exists in the inter-relationship of color, composition and form. The process of her work involves building up layers of materials and textures. The initial layers are thin and fluid, inks and water-colors, as the paintings progress further she moves into thicker paints, acrylics, varnishes and glazes to achieve the end finalised piece. I chose to showcase Kirsten as I admire her use of color. It is dynamic, energetic but with a sense of harmony. The layering of color in relation to each other creates a visual delight for everyone to enjoy. Imagine this piece in a residential room scheme or hospitality project, it is a great way to introduce these daring brights into interior spaces.



A snap shot of our trend tour will be available to view on our blog after the show. For those of you who have attended our seminars and tours we hope you found them inspiring and enjoy the rest of your time at the Decor + Design Show!

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Design Trend Seminars – Why hold, or visit One?

A couple of weeks ago we were invited by Connection to give a talk, on their behalf, in their new London Showroom. They would invite the audience of Interior Designers, Architects and specifiers working in the commercial sector.

The Connection showroom is a special place, it’s design is all that you’d expect of a company actually ‘living what they preach’ about the agile workplace and employee wellbeing and freedom. The showroom is brand new designed to resemble an industrial loft apartment, an urban workspace and a home; it successfully achieves this. It’s what we would describe as #SOCool!

One special feature about the sharing attitude Connection has is remarkable, anyone can pop in and work there for a while. Stef Dickinson is the showroom manager and a really welcoming person so go say hello to her. Experience the really great product, use the free WiFi, have a tea, coffee or cold drink and they won’t charge you anything for this generous courtesy. Of course, the expectation (not obligation) is that you will sign up for a newsletter, or if you know a potential client for them that you’ll tell that person of your experience. It is in our view, a really fair swap, a central London hot-desk, meeting space or temporary office (only miles better than the corporate one’s available and sooooo much better than a hotel lounge) in return for you providing them some good PR with people they can trade with. It’s a nice way to do business a ‘swapping of kindnesses’.

Hi Level ' Farmhouse Kitchen' Meeting Table

Hi Level ‘ Farmhouse Kitchen’ Meeting Table

Of course, we are always very keen to work with such a company and we are hoping to be at the start of a long partnership with Kelvin and his team at Connection; so we took the assignment!

Below is a short blog that Niall – the Marketing Expert at Connection – wrote about the event that we thought would be nice to share with you.


The events are ‘no selling’ events, providing a very comfortable, safe networking opportunity in a lovely environment with truly mouth-watering finger food and several glasses of the drink of your choice. If you want to enquire about Connection product at the time then you’re free to, or you can follow-up at another time.

Anyway, this is what Niall wrote:

Scarlet Opus seminar in London 

We’d asked the Scarlet Opus team to author a seminar for us about the ‘agile’ workplace and about Key trends that are influencing workspace product design. At Connection we believe that being ‘agile’ isn’t about how high you can jump, it’s about creating a variety of work settings that deliver spatial efficiency, personal productivity and corporate expression. It’s about providing a high performing workspace that meets your business needs today and in the future. 

We recently opened our Clerkenwell showroom doors and in partnership with Scarlet Opus we delivered an evening dedicated to the key trends that are informing workplace and product design.

Stef Dickinson, Showroom Manager, greets guests

Stef Dickinson, Showroom Manager, greets guests

Scarlet Opus have given seminars for us previously and the standard is always very high (if you haven’t yet been to one of these seminars, do keep an eye out when we announce more!). And the bar was kept high again, courtesy of the very engaging Victoria Redshaw.

She loves a talk ... and a Prosecco!

She loves a talk … and a Prosecco!

Victoria brought a range of themes to life. These included agile working, ‘digital nomads’, the productivity ‘tension’ between social and focus spaces and collaborative learning. A wide-ranging but fascinating, interconnected set of ideas and conversation catalysts.

Scarlet Opus Seminar in London ROOM

It was good to see that we are in the right place with both our product R&D and existing portfolio. Products such as Hive Cubbi and Tryst ‘speak’ to the demands and needs of multi-use, agile spaces, something that Victoria discussed during her talk. And the fabrics we use are definitely on target in terms of surface design, colours and materials used.

Don’t take our word for it though, have a look around the website and get in touch with us. And if you missed this seminar then don’t worry: we’ll be running more with Scarlet Opus on a regional basis as well as in the London showroom. See you soon we hope!

From Team Opus, thank you for your kind words Niall and thank you for building Victoria up to such an extent we now have the week to hear all about it from her!!

If you’re interested in discovering more about how our Trend Seminars can work successfully for you as a PR or Prospecting event then email or give him a call to chat it through +44 7896 088 996

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