I am fresh in from opening day of the National Stationery Show 2016. (My self-proclaimed “Super Bowl.”)

The NSS is the perfect place to spot trends in the world of paper, products, printing and beyond.

As noted in last year’s Stationery Show review, I have a few personal rules for spotting a trend. 1. If I noted something as a trend last year, then I would need good reason to recognize it yet again. 2. I have to see something repeat three times in order to crown it a “trend.” (Three is a lucky number for me. Hence, Three B’s Finderys.) 3. Should I have seen this trend plastered all over the place last year and again this year, then that trend has seen it's glory.

Those are my rules, folks!

Once mass media told the rest of the world that coloring was acceptable for adults as a source of therapy, adult coloring books popped up everywhere! Coloring books came in all subject areas — including the obscene. They could be found everywhere. Mini books could be bought in your neighborhood grocery store at checkout. Everyone, including my Mom, needed to have one to reap the therapeutic benefits. Of course, the art and design world knew that coloring was beneficial since… forever!

Black and white “coloring pages" were ALL OVER the Stationery Show … starting with the entrance display put together by Pirasta. “Coloring page” wallpaper, paper tape, cell phone covers, greeting cards, wrapping paper … it. was. everywhere.

 Pirasta's NSS DISPLAY


I was a bit surprised to see such a “real world trend” present at NSS, but when I think about it — it makes sense. The world is digging it, so us creatives are going to roll with it! (It’s kind of like when Star Wars has a new sequel and the world catches on to the hype. Fans, who you never knew were, come out for their moment of pride.)

The next trend that I spotted makes this lover of handwriting happy. It is “journals”… of all kinds! A journal for the birth of a baby, relationship, gratitude, etc. Printed books with space to “journal.” Simple as that.

One of my absolute favorites was a journal which ties together written and digital. Old school and new, if you will. It is made by O2O and allows you to hand write your journal page and then “scan” it (relax, you just snap a mobile pic!) You must use O2O’s own journal book as it works together with the free app to code and label your journal pages in a way that is searchable for you. Check it out!

Another trend that I spotted speaks to my brothers and sisters in the stationery design game. Processes like foil printing, production and envelope addressing which are often costly and tedious are made simpler. Vendors were offering helpful services, education, and products that make these tasks more manageable.

Having alternative opportunities to complete these necessary tasks put a huge smile on this girl’s face! This means more time to design. Designing is, in fact, the part that I love. Good lookin' out, vendors!

NSS is way more than just “stationery.” It offers the gift industry a place to showcase new products to retailers. I have to say that this year, the products took it!

The new products on display were so cool that I had to pause and reflect on whether or not I wanted to open my own on-line store. Reality sank in when I realized my priorities at hand, but that will not stop me from blogging about them!

In the next few weeks, look for some of my favorite products as seen at NSS. I will categorize them in a way that you can best use.

So, what’s in the forecast for DahlHouse Design this coming year? More colorful designing and journaling... and less production! Good news for me!