What’s tip-top at Top Drawer A/W 2018

This week, we visited Top Drawer at Olympia in London to see the latest giftware and design-led merchandise on offer. We spotted three big trends.

1. Making words work

This is a trend that’s been building for some time. There’s been a big renaissance in hand-lettering and renewed excitement about type. Type is being used decoratively as a stylistic element bringing a retro vibe to items. And there’s also some increasingly quirky wit out there too, with no limits when it comes to greeting cards. Silly humour is stealing the show. Slogans are powerful. Even when they’re tongue in cheek, they bring lots of energy to products. And there’s one for everyone, so they let consumers express themselves.

2. Drawing from nature

We saw lots of fruit, foliage and plant motifs with a vintage feel. These illustrated designs might be inspired by botanical drawings but they’re given a new twist with high saturation colourways and bold graphical elements. We know consumers are demanding natural ingredients in beauty and food products right now, so it make sense that design is tapping into that celebration of the natural world. This is a long way away from slick minimalism and we like the flamboyance.

3. Art that pops

Vintage aesthetics, which we continue to see everywhere, give us some high colour designs. We saw lots of bold products combining strong hues. And they really do work on shelf. Hey Yum Candy is eye-catchingly simple and it’s all down to the blocks of high energy colour across the range. And of course those googly eyes. This theme harks back to age-old industrial printing techniques. In an digital age where fine details and subtle gradients are perfectly possible, we think it can be refreshing to reduce things back to basics.