As we approach the end of the year, it’s always fun to look back and see the patterns that emerged. 2017 was packed with paper trends across all mediums.
One central theme seems to have emerged – nostalgia. We saw it in pop culture with a very 80’s influence (ex. Adidas Superstar; Stranger Things), TV (reboots from Fuller House to Will & Grace) and politics (hello, trickle down). And some of the 2017 trends that emerged in paper also had an air of nostalgia to them, but completely reinvented for 21st century print.
Hottest Paper Trends in 2017
1. Top trend in paper shades
The year started out with Pantone declaring “Greenery” the 2017 Color of the Year. And if you look closely at the hue, you’ll see a hint of acid green but completely reinvented for 2017 with a fresh, crisp, spring-green pop.
But Greenery wasn’t necessarily the chosen color on point when it came to invitation papers. 2017 saw a definite nod to the 90’s – but the traditional color palettes of colonial blue, hunter green and rose were refreshed with a 2017 aesthetic featuring navy blue, dark green, gray and dusty pink.
One look at Instagram and it’s easy to see this trend play out.
In addition to these deep, moody tones in card and envelope paper stock, we saw them paired with another 80’s trend – calligraphy. But this was not the olde English style of pen but rather a modern calligraphy style that reflects the vibe of the host or event. And as if this wasn’t enough proof that nostalgia was back in a big way for invitations, all you had to do was note the resurgence in vintage postage stamps. And as carefully as the color is chosen, so to is the design of the stamps.
Another nod to nostalgic color trends lies in the reinterpretation of pastels. Instead of the wispy, pale hues we saw sophisticated tones take over. The nude color palette continued to be a strong trend for 2017, a carry-over from the previous year, with “blush” being the top color pick among stationery designers.
Within the sophisticated pastel palette, we saw a lighter shade of gray continue to be a top pick among designers for everything from business cards and letterhead to packaging. And given our current obsession with this color in all its hue, gray doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
The two color trends in paper for 2017 that totally surprised me in terms of their wide appeal and stark contrast are the popularity of blue and creamy white shades. And while they are distinctly different in almost every single way, they do share a similarity. Both are equally difficult to find in just the right color.
Fortunately for designers (and paper reps referring said designers), Domtar offers several options to choose from in their Earthchoice Colors & Hots line.
If you’re craving a subtle off-white shade of paper, Cougar Natural and Lynx Cream White are two great options—both brands include options for both digital and offset printing, as well as a variety of sizes in Cover and Text weights.
2. Top trend in paper finish
And just so we don’t make 2017 paper trends all about color, there were two dominant trends we saw emerge when it came to paper finish or texture. And again both are starkly contrasted – the rise of vellum and translucent finishes.
Designers couldn’t get enough of these finishes, and really who could blame them? The subtly tactile finish of vellum offers great versatility when it comes to print design and easily crosses over between offset and digital printing technologies.
If you’re new to printing on a vellum finish, give Cougar Vellum a try.
And then there’s the minimal elegance of the translucent finish paper, giving us the “sneak peek” moment we love by revealing whatever element lies beneath it.
It’s fair to say, when it comes to paper 2017 saw its fair share of color and texture trends. With a little over five weeks til January, I’m looking forward to seeing what new paper trends develop in 2018.
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