One of the coolest things about working at Sizzix is seeing the trends in our crafting world, watching them evolve, and getting to participate in these trends as a leader in the crafting and making industry. We had the unique opportunity to sit down and talk with our Creative Director, Jen Long, about the top trends for 2016 and how they related to all of us as makers, and how they directly applied to our products here at Sizzix. Some of the trends that Jen talked to us about did strike us strange at first- as makers, we don't always think of things that are "trendy and popular", we tend to think of them as a way of life, such as mixed media or flowers. But we also talked about how huge DIY planers have become, the art of calligraphy, how dreamcatchers foxes and owls are all related to a specific trend, and the beauty and ease of water coloring.
Are you ready for some seriously trendy inspiration? Lets get to it, and introduce you all to the Top 11 Trends for 2016!
When we sat down with Jen to talk about these top trends, we weren't entirely sure what hand-touched elements meant. Wouldn't any make or project technically be hand touched and therefore automatically have a "hand-touched element”? Jen chuckled and explained that hand-touched elements were projects that alluded to being handmade and or having hand-touched customizations that made the craft feel more personable and personalized.
"Digital media plays such a large role in our lives that when makers create something new, they want to have an element in that make or project that has that hand-touched feel and look to it, especially when it's a card or a gift,” said Jen. “A hand touched detail, be it a hand drawn flower or a hand painted sentiment, just gives that particular make or craft a feeling of enhanced sincerity and thoughtfulness."
Oh, how we love mixed media! The possibilities are endless with this technique combining different surface materials from paper, to cork, fabric, felt, chipboard, paint, and stencils to create unique multi-layered crafts and makes.
"This is a popular trend that touches on the hand-touched element trend, but is becoming more about the creative endeavor all together,” Jen commented. “With Sizzix steel rule dies from Licensed Designers like Stephanie Ackerman and Tim Holtz, makers are going beyond paper to cut materials that can be easily die-cut into fun and creative mixed media projects."
Watching the evolution of die technologies over the past few years has left us almost awestruck, from die-cutting basic shapes to more intricate designs.
"The more detailed and intricate, the better,” said Jen. “We're seeing makers gravitate towards these dies, especially for wedding decor, bridal showers and even home decor pieces."
When Jen told us that, we immediately thought of Sharyn Sowell's newest collection, Garden Party, specifically, her Rose Lace Gatefold Card die. This die beautifully captures details in nature: the folds in leaves, the curls of vines and the petals of flowers and roses.
"With intricate dies becoming more popular, makers are expanding their creativity to further express themselves in their crafts and projects."
Jen sees flowers as a trend that keeps on blossoming. "Flowers are a HUGE trend right now in a lot of different areas. We're seeing them being used in a variety of lifestyle and celebration projects like party decor and on cakes and home décor. We've been seeing a lot of 2 dimensional flowers in die cuts and stamps, but the big one this year is are the 3-D flowers – the bigger the flower, the better!"
Jen then showed us flowers from Brenda Walton's, Eileen Hull's and Lori Whitlock's respective collections and demonstrating how die-cut flowers could be used as a 2-dimensional embellishment or layered to create a 3- dimensional effect.
"What's really cool is how the new Eileen Hull inspired Twist & Style Tool furthers this trend allowing makers to create the stem base for their flowers to easily make a 3-dimensional floral arrangement or piece." The Twist & Style Tool will be available this May at craft retail stores.
”Nature and rustic-inspired looks have been trending for a while now, but we're seeing an evolution of this trend,” Jen said. “Dreamcatchers are being made with actual elements from nature, or made to reflect nature rather than having a more traditional look. Succulents and cactus are also being included in makes and projects as well as owl, foxes and feathers. We're starting to see a lot of makers use elements of nature for the actual canvas of their crafts: cork, rocks, feathers, tree rounds, drift wood and flowers."
Jen smiled and pulled out her sketch book, opening it up to reveal the first sketches of her new collection, Fox Tales. Adorable hand-drawn foxes, intricate owls and feathers were scattered across the page, reflecting similar shapes and patterns we've seen just by walking outside!
"This trend ties back so well to the hand-touched element trend. Using nature’s elements creates a very natural make rather than something that is created perfectly."
"Watercolor is such a visually appealing, soft technique, but the colors are so stunning and inviting! The great part about watercolor is that you don't have to be a professional to utilize it in your makes and craft projects. Patterns are also a big trend right now that somewhat play into the color and watercolor aspect. We are seeing these patterns in watercolor, incorporating organic shapes and designs found in nature like mandalas, honeycombs, and feathers. Geometric shapes and patterns are still relevant as well, but the dimensional or traditional diamond shape is quickly becoming very popular."
We asked Jen, “Is this trend where the different styles for our Paper Pads came from?”
"Most definitely,” she said. We have our Geometric Paper Pad, which has a wide range of more traditional shapes such as squares. triangles and circle patterns. We have our Basics Paper Pad, which has popular colors and patterns. We have our Watercolor Paper Pad, which focuses on – you guessed it: watercolor aesthetic and patterns. And, of course, we have the Fox Tales Paper Pad which goes along with my Fox Tales line, which focuses on nature’s elements, colors and patterns. The coolest part about our Paper Pads is that they're all hand drawn and hand painted, which gives makers the ability to add another hand-touched element to their makes."
Planners are such a HUGE part of our lives here at Sizzix, for personal use, for office use, and, of course, to personalize, embellish, decorate and make our own. When we showed off our new Planner Line at CHAW 2016, we wanted to create a whole new planner just to use the new Clear Stamps, Framelits and Paper Punches. Sadly, we all have a few more months to wait until they are launched this coming summer. We asked Jen why planners were becoming such a huge trend amid smartphones seemingly trying to compete by creating better interfacing calendar and to do apps.
"With so much of our lives being dictated by digital things: clocks, phones, computers- people are gravitating towards planners to get away from that. With planners, you have the ability to personalize and customize, to celebrate your daily life and daily to do's. There's something inspiring and empowering to have a thoughtful touch on your day to day life."
Some of us have calligraphy and lettering envy here at Sizzix- the ability to hand draw and hand write those slopes and swoops, creating the perfect letters to form a beautiful word or sentiment just seems to elude us. But thankfully, we have a trick for being able to add that lettering with some of our Clear Stamps, though we realize that actually being able to do the lettering and calligraphy ourselves would add that extra oomph for us in our makes. What is it about calligraphy and lettering that has everyone obsessed, we wondered. Luckily, Jen knew the answer.
"It adds a hand touched element to your greeting or sentiment, especially when incorporating those inspirational quotes or phrases with that calligraphy lettering- it gives your make a more personal, thoughtful touch to it and makes your greeting much more impactful."
"Coloring books for adults is still a strong going trend, but we're noticing that this trend is starting to incorporate different sizes of coloring books and coloring pages."
We really love our new collection of Coloring Books, the amazing hand drawn designs, the multiple pages (in case we mess up) and the thickness of the paper that allows us to use any coloring medium we can think to use. The coolest part of our coloring books are the perforated edges, enabling the page to be easily pulled from the book and then crafted with to give our makes a hand touched/hand colored element.
When we saw this trend on our list just before we sat down to talk with Jen, we got super excited. Interactive and dimensional crafting is something we love doing. It challenges us somewhat creatively, trying to find the right materials to use to give our makes the desired look we want, and with products like Stephanie Barnard's Flip-its Cards, Tim Holtz's ever growing Village Dwellings and Eileen Hull's Scoreboard Dies and Jen's Fold-a-Long Cards, we have so many different interactive craft projects to choose from!
"Interactive card bases, anything that can be picked up, touched or moved, is visually inspiring to people. 3 dimensional elements are showing up more and more in home decor, moving away from the traditional framed pieces or makes and moving towards makes that are inviting interaction."
"Done for you kits include everything you need to build a project and are a great way to introduce a novice crafter into our world of die-cutting and making! Kits are a phenomenal gateway for people to experiment with paper crafting, following step by step instruction with all parts, pieces and papers already included to eliminate second-guessing or frustration that beginner crafters can sometimes run into."
We must have given Jen a quizzical look at this point in our conversation, as she chuckled and nodded, adding, "Yes, in 2017 Sizzix will be introducing kits to help expose new or novice crafters to die-cutting and all of its possibilities."
It's taking everything in us right now to finish this post and not sprint off at full speed to our Art Department to start making and creating, which was the same reaction we had after spending time talking with Jen. All of these trends have had such a huge impact on what we make and create, and we see it every day in all of your makes when you tag us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. We're seeing more adventurous mixed media pieces, more watercolor elements, and with it finally being spring, a ton of beautiful flower makes. This making world we're all apart of, is truly awesome and wonderfully inspiring.
What trends are you seeing? (And for those of you excited about the new kits coming in 2017, what kits would you like to see?)