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The Latest Trend

It’s the magical time of year again when the world’s fashionistas descend onto London, Paris & Milan, while London also becomes home to the Frieze Art Fair in the first week of October – the art world’s equivalent show piece. At Downey, we watch these occasions with eager interest as they often show us hints of the latest fashion, design and printing industry trends that will soon be the hot topic for the next invitation we create, wedding stationery suite to design or the next piece of bespoke luxury packaging we construct.

Design (and thereby printing) trends are constantly changing. Some stay with us longer than others, but they all have an influence on our everyday lives as a creative company. We can often recognise a trend forming at the early stages, purely by monitoring the open market and of what our clients are looking for. We’re in a privileged position of being ahead of the curve in that respect, anticipating these changing printing trends before they are fully revealed.

Colour is a clear design and printing trend we have seen change time and time again. Recently we’ve all heard of 2017’s Millennial Pink and 2018’s Gen Z Yellow. Shades can be a strong influence on brands and products. No more so than in communications and corporate branding, to show the business or products are keeping up with the current trend and most importantly not looking out of date. Have a browse on Instagram and you’ll see just how often a designer or brand agency are using these palettes. Another big one used is Rose gold. This colour came onto the scene in a couple of ways. Firstly, Apple released their iPhone in 2015 with a Rose Gold colour option and secondly, Pantone name Rose Quartz as joint colour of the year in 2016. Ever since, we have been using rose gold foil for print production in abundance and we use a special mixing recipe for die stamping inks – something along the lines of a little bit of gold with a little bit of red combined, although it takes longer than you think to make the perfect shade.

Large rose gold foil journal planners

A design and printing trend we’re also noticing is a strong wish to have beautiful illustrations commissioned for wedding invitations and stationery. Personalisation and customisation give great freedom for a couple to really make their wedding unique to them. By having illustration as well, it is adding another way to unlock this potential.

Design and printing trends are also cyclical – how often do we see the styles of the past influence the future, it is the same in fashion and the same with print. Yes, there are of course technical advances and individual flare, but these are additions to the repeated structure of what is in the limelight at any given time.

In our creative sector, we notice trends for print processes too, not just colour. Did you notice the Letterpress explosion 10-15 years ago? Letterpress is one of the oldest methods of printing available and was rarely requested until recent times. We had a surge of demand come from our American clients initially, which was then followed by Europe, and they were all requesting the letterpress process for invitations. Most noticeably they were also asking for heavy impression to sink into the card stock. This is far away from the traditional letterpress of ‘kissing the card’ to leave no impression marks but it is now most common and some of those requesting did not know about the traditional traits. This was the new printing trend of that time, and it is still with us now.

It’s great to see there is huge desire now to receive printed items that have had clear craftmanship qualities and techniques applied to them. We are all universally exposed to digital’s qualities and the perfect image on our screens. We miss and therefore crave the tactile experience and feel of print and the comfort it provides once in hand. The position of printed items is being more increasingly elevated and cherished in terms of making memories. Print’s importance in creating the invitation for your most special day, or perhaps your business card for the start-up business you have worked tirelessly on for the last few years, cannot be understated.

Large wedding letterpress invitation

Right now at Downey, we’re noticing a brand-new printing trend in the making. Can you guess what this is? It is not a brand-new process, but something reborn from tradition. This is engraving, die stamping and the wonderfully detailed and special features that it can offer. We are excited about the growing printing trend that you can use pantone colour shades, the embossed texture and the contrast of delicate fine lines when combined with a heavy print. Earlier I mentioned the fashion shows, and we’ve just seen Burberry sending out a hand engraved invitation to their show, along with launching their new logo and branding. We’ve also seen several enquiries come to us in recent weeks from design studios, art galleries and certain influential individuals.

All of which indicate that this beloved process, so firmly interwoven into Downey’s roots, is making a comeback to the forefront of creativity, and that is exciting! To learn more about our bespoke and luxury printing services, please get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss your requirements.

Large downey hand engraving