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Pressing designs

● AVANTI Press were

celebrating after picking up the Louie Award in the Get Well/ Feel Better category for cards over $3.50, havinging been honoured with no less than four nominations. Katie Edelstein from the sales department is pictured with the trophy.

● THE V&A Museum were fi rst-time exhibitors at Surtex where they had some very interesting leads, as Director of Business Development & Licensing Lauren Sizeland explained: “There was a wide variety of manufacturers, publishers and retailers. Most were US based, although there were several from Australia and the Far East also.

It’s a long time since stationery expert Henri Davis last visited the National Stationery Show, here she reports from the show in the Big Apple on may 18-21.


AVING been at PG Live, heading out to New York just two days later to visit the National Stationery Show was sure to provide an interesting comparison.

I hadn’t been to the US show for 20 years and last time I visited I wasn’t involved with cards so I had no idea what to expect.

The show includes stationery, gifts and craft along with the

cards which are then supplemented by the adjoining surface pattern and art licensing show Surtex, which is a great design source for publishers as well as a showcase for designers and illustrators – it’s a good combination. A major focus for the card publishers is the Louie Awards

presented by the US Greeting Card Association on the opening day, Sunday. The display boards in the Crystal Palace area in the entrance show the entrants and the winners and are a great PR opportunity for them all. Cards are displayed in a focused area of the show, though many of those with coordinating products decided to exhibit in the stationery area so I found I needed to walk the whole show to make sure I didn’t miss anything. The dominant design trend was

● CUP CAKES from TV’s Cake Boss bakery were the order of the day for Soula Zavacopoulos as her fi rst time exhibiting at the NSS coincided with the fi fth anniversary of her company the London Studio. “I hadn’t planned it,” said Soula, pictured above with

“Some were very familiar with the V&A, which is very positive for brand licensing prospects and there were many others which are more likely to provide us with new opportunities for image licensing.

“Overall I was very

happy with the quality of the enquiries, which were generally relevant and worthy of follow up.”

Vigo Productions Harry Knight who licences two of her ranges, “I managed to get a late stand at the show and it just so happened – it was my fi rst time in New York and my fi rst time at the NSS. “A trend I noticed was letterpress,

it’s clearly very popular in the USA as many of the US publishers had them. “I’d been concerned that perhaps the humour would be

different and, as many of our cards are humour, I was relieved to fi nd they translated really well, and buyers were chuckling and laughing – phew!

“I also found that buyers liked our more unusual ranges – our new Scratch and Reveal range was ordered repeatedly and our new Coaster Cards were also a favourite. “I learned a lot and also walked the licensing show, Surtex, and had several meetings as licensing is now a fast growing part of my business and an area I am expanding.”


letterpress with over 100 exhibitors using this print method that’s one of the oldest around. It’s usually on beautiful cotton papers and has a nostalgic simplicity that has broad appeal with many of the designs here much more colourful and complex than we’re used to seeing in the UK. Cards and personalised stationery in the US seem very ornate, either with a lot of detail or strong colours often with gold to add opulence, while cards for children’s events like Halloween are just fun. Most exhibitors were smaller publishers and designers all looking to make their mark on the industry and, with letterpress such a dominant trend, many needed to set themselves apart in other ways with humour being one. Even with the amount of American TV and fi lms we see, some still just doesn’t translate, but there are others that would work well in the UK, like the Old Tomfoolery products. As I worked my way around the show, it was clear that many new cards I’ve seen in the UK in recent years are likely to have been sourced by here at the NSS and there were also a number of British publishers exhibiting looking to sell their own product directly to US retailers and also to fi nd reps. It’s also apparent that where larger companies have distributors in the UK the product offer we see is heavily edited as it wouldn’t be practical to stock this breadth in the UK. With the internet, and increased internal fl ight costs, I believe the dynamic in the US is changing with shows tending to become more local in focus so, while exhibitors saw good- quality visitors from the New York area, some commented there were fewer than they’d hoped from further afi eld. But many still felt they’d had a worthwhile trip and exhibitors told me a number of UK retailers had visited – so I look forward to seeing some more US-inspired ranges in the UK shortly, and would defi nitely visit the show again.

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