It’s less than 100 days to Christmas 2017 and the retailing world is gearing up for its busiest season. While debate swirls around when it’s too early for shops to go full Christmas – one thing’s for sure. It’s coming!
There’s plenty of thoughtful gifts from which to choose instore and online. But understandably, I only have eyes for the Gift Wrapping. After attending all the trade fairs (the journey began back in February at Paper World in Frankfurt), scouring colour palettes and monitoring all corners of the gift wrap world, I have identified seven gift wrap trends for this Christmas. Some are style trends, some are materials trends and some are environmental trends and all will be on full display this year.
Patterns not Words
Traditionally, Christmas wrapping paper heavily featured festive phrases in big primary colours and equally big font sizes and graphics. Used to be there was barely a wrap that didn’t centre around the words Merry Christmas, Tis the Season or a Ho Ho Ho from Santa.
This year, festive wrap is featuring far less words and far far more patterns. Don’t get me wrong, there are still lovely papers that have traditional Christmas phrases but there’s significantly less than there used to be and the wording is far more general than in years past. Where you do see the written word as the central design element of a Christmas wrap, it will more likely be phrases such as Merry and Bright, Happy Holidays, The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Fa La La La or Let it Snow (somewhat incongruous for a Southern Hemisphere Christmas).
Botanicals not Baubles
Given it’s all about the pattern, two distinct pattern themes have emerged. This year it’s as much about non-traditional patterns as it is for patterns with an obvious Christmas look. This reflects a growing desire for wrapping papers that can be used all year round for a range of occasions. The more general paper forms a lovely base and the overtly Christmas touches are added on with ribbons, twines and tags. No half-used rolls of obvious Christmas paper languishing in the cupboard till for the next 12 months!
The leader in the non-traditional pattern stakes are beautiful botanical patterns – flowers and foliage are huge both in coloured prints and in line drawings against a solid background. Monstera, tropical flowers and palm fronds are still to be found but this year it’s the Australian natives taking centre stage. The standout in this area are the Botanical and Coolabah ranges from market leaders Vandoros Fine Packaging but the independent designers are bringing out beautiful ranges as well. This year it’s all about botanicals not baubles.
Those who have opted for an obvious Christmas pattern have strongly moved away from images of Santa Claus, snowflakes and reindeer. Instead there are whimsical woodland and forest themes Bee Dee Designs, quirky motifs such as trees atop station wagons (strongly reminiscent of the Brady Bunch) and snow domes. An extension of the woodland look is the use of monochrome trees which brings a huge dollop of Nordic cool to any wrap.
Solid colour wrapping paper also features strongly. Yes, you’d expect to see some solid red, solid green (greenery is after all the Pantone Colour of the Year) and the perennial fave plain white. But there are simply beautiful solid golds, silvers, copper and rose gold too. Last year, we saw the emergence of ranges featuring the colours graphite, gunmetal, charcoal or licorice and this year it’s gone mainstream. Who would have thought it? “I’m Dreaming of a Graphite Christmas”.
This darker colour actually shines in a range of finishes – from gloss to matte to uncoated and from textured to flecked. It forms a perfect canvas upon which to place beautiful monotone ribbons and embellishments of the same colour also in a range of textures and sparkles. I call this the Adele look.
The other stand out solid colour paper this year is the hologram – though as my loving husband pointed out hologram is not a colour. Regardless, beautiful silver paper with an iridescent vibe is simply sublime – and it matches so well with any festive colour scheme. HIPP has led with their iridescent roll which is set to make a big impact.
In the interests of full disclosure, I am reliably told by one of the leaders in the wrap business that plain unadorned white gloss continues to rank in the top two wraps by volume sold year in year out (there’s a little bit of David Jones in all of us) but look out for graphite tones which are far from sombre and close to perfect for stylish corporate gifts.
What is a gift wrap without ribbon? And this year, there’s a major changing of the ribbon guard. Used to be that satin and wire edged ribbon ruled the roost especially for major presents – with the former being reminiscent of the famed white Tiffany Bow and the later perfect for the big looped Fifth Avenue look which I am seriously addicted to at Christmas.
Make no mistake, ribbons have gone seriously metallic. Look for divine pastel ribbons with metallic edging or stripes from Studio Carta. Look out also for the open weave metallics (and the weave can be quite open) that are making a major play. They come in a range of widths and add sparkle beyond your wildest dreams. Be on the look out for metallic twines and cords too. Garn und Mehr have some absolute stunners.
Two sides are better than one
The only thing more fabulous than one sheet of wrapping paper than a sheet of double sided wrapping paper and this year there are some beautiful reversible or double sided papers from which to choose. The pattern on one side inevitably complements the pattern on the other side although some designers are going for a very deliberate yet very stylish mismatch Bespoke Letterpress.
Double sided paper creates quite the look when a gift is unwrapped as a different pattern emerges. The paper can also be folded to form highlight strips or bands of the complementary pattern. Double sided paper inevitably comes as a sheet wrap rather than a roll of wrap (with the exception of Costco though that’s altogether another story) and to that extent it is generally a more expensive proposition. But because it is the production style favoured by independent designers, the patterns are stunning and you won’t see them everywhere. There’s also the added bonus that the wraps are so lovely that they can be used as posters or framed as artworks. A delightful way to decorate at Christmas (or anytime really)
The final and important theme is the consumer led demand for ecofriendly wrapping paper. Consumers are increasingly seeking out paper that is 100 % recycled or sustainably sourced and uses ecofriendly production and print processes with vegetable and soy based inks. Some suppliers are putting this front and centre of their brand statements while others are making more subtle statements on their products and packaging. Make no mistake this is a trend that will never be reversed and gift wrap suppliers will need to take head.
The sheet paper from Rachel Kennedy Designs who describes her products as “sourced locally. Crafted around the corner and made to the highest possible environmental standards” proves that beautiful, contemporary presentation and sustainability can indeed go hand in hand.
That’s a Wrap
Gift wrapping used to be about concealing gifts but now it is about announcing them. And with the range of beautiful gift wrapping available for Christmas 2017, there will be some stylish, thoughtful and on trend announcements ringing around the Christmas tree this year.