After years of neglect, good old fashioned stationery has been enjoying something of a revival recently. It’s not that people are rejecting the internet: quite the contrary, the rate at which previously paper-based communication is being moved online is picking up, rather than slowing down. No, the renewed interest in paper is in fact due to this transition.
How so? It’s a classic piece of reverse psychology inasmuch as the less paper correspondence we receive, the more value we attach to it. Anyone who gets a postcard or – even rarer – a letter today is more reluctant than ever to throw it away, and the same process has taken place in business life, too. Sending a letter to your clients or partners has become a less frequent event, but by extension, a more important one.
This means that stationery design has actually become more prominent than ever before, because you can expect written correspondence to be accorded an importance it never had when it was part of an annoying flood and when everything from order forms and invoices through to product specifications and contracts had to be sent back and forth by post. That’s why we’re picking up where we left off this time last year and presenting you with a range of design approaches that have caught our attention and show where things are headed in 2016.
By the same token, stationery design is now a far broader term than ever before: it is part of a corporate design that covers every aspect of company communication from the signature on staff e-mails and the header on Twitter and Facebook right through to business cards and branded pencils.
Some of our favourite work for 2016 makes a virtue out of necessity and works with simple geometrical forms and colours that can be applied as easily to letterheads as they can in apps: Laura Richard’s own-brand design shows how this can be achieved (fun nods to the early-days Google look here), as does Natalie Alicia Price’s cross-media work for the Cyprus Air rebranding.
Modern American, monochrome
Another design language that positively lends itself to being applied across a range of spaces and devices is classic modern American design: we love Serkn Bayburtlu’s American Airlines/Apparel approach for Digital Park, as well as Lee Atherton’s design for Blackdown. Both of these styles rely on the simplicity of black and white, as do a range of other hot looks: Avenue Sixty7 (Kevin Johns) and fonic (Glen Birchall) are perfect examples of clean, striking stationery that will impress by its understated style. Meanwhile, Garden Garden’s work for Nueve Ríos – nine river-like lines on all items of stationery) – shows what a clever design concept applied rigorously across all items can achieve in branding terms.
Nevertheless, colour is not without its justification: 2016 is definitely shaping up to be a year of strong shades rather than pastel tones, especially orange. Look at the fresh, eye-catching paper, cards, et al designed for Pash (Moving Studio), Design Division (Studio P+P), and Integral (Brenton Taylor) to see just how well a strong corporate colour can work if included in stationery.
After all, stationery design does not – and should never – take place in a vacuum: strong colours should be included where they are part of the company’s corporate identity, but not used for their own sake.
50 awesome Stationery Designs
If you’re looking for inspiration for your own company stationery, or want to see how other designers are working in 2016, why not browse our Favourite Fifty below?