museums&MORE Spring 2016
A Stationer’s Dream

The 70th anniversary of the National Stationery Show promises celebrations, products galore

One could argue that there is nothing quite as special and heartfelt as a handwritten note. Some believe in this notion so much that they have made it their livelihood. Leaving behind 9-to-5 desk jobs in order to explore the wide world of letterpress and graphic design, these (in some cases) self-taught design-makers want to get back to basics; back to what matters most in life — sharing and showing admiration and affection for loved ones, neighbors, or just someone in need.

In 2016, one of our favorite creative buyer-focused markets celebrates its 70th anniversary. For as long as it has been around, the National Stationery Show has been the Holy Grail for all things paper. This show is a hub for creative looking to buy, sell and learn all they can about our beloved stationery industry. Cards, calendar and notebooks abound, welcome to the National Stationery Show.

In the early days the NSS served the ‘carriage’ trade — largely department stores — that carried large stationery departments on the first floor alongside luggage. The product range presented there at that time — the mid 1940s — included greeting cards, custom stationery and invitations, giftwrap and writing instruments,” said Patti Stracher, vice president and show director for NSS. Since the inaugural show 70 years ago, it has consistently evolved to reflect retail and consumer trends relevant at each particular time. For a period of time in the ’90s, the NSS was also a resource for balloons, costumes and the like. A decade later, stamps and stickers joined the mix. Today, the NSS remains the only exhibition that showcases specialty paper products in breadth, depth and range across North America.

So what can we expect to see at this year’s show? “We are paying homage to the people and personalities that influenced the industry through Stationery Stories (#StationeryStories), a program that prominently features individual stories on the NSS website, via social media, in print media and onsite,” said Stratcher. “We are also partnering with esteemed companies on special promotions that run the course of the cycle; Legion Paper with its NSS Class of ’70 Trading Card program; Mohawk Paper with its Superfine as the official paper of NSS and the presentation of a recently uncovered treasure trove of more than 100 years of rare, historic and beautiful Strathmore paper promotions called the Strathmore Archives.”

Two specialized sections of the show, #fresh and The Supply Side, offer a juried selection of products from 1- to 5-year-old companies and B2B needs, respectively. The appropriately named #fresh section will showcase the same stunning trend-forward options, only from fresh-faced companies under 5 years old. For businesses looking to cultivate their own productions resources — think holography, foil-stamping, thermography and the like — they can find what they need at The Supply Side.

This year’s show edition will also host six buyer education seminars that will focus on everything from bridal trends, marketing and social media to design trends and financial strategies for small businesses on a budget. Seminars include Wedding Design Trends to Make the Big Day Distinctive with speaker Darcy Miller of Martha Stewart Weddings; NSS Class of ’70: Taste Makers and Trend Shapers, hosted by Sarah Schwartz, editor-in-chief of Stationery Trends and blogger at; From Boring to Bold: Supercharge Your Social Media and Increase Your Sales; Color/Design at a Crossroads: Finding the Most Directional Trends, hosted by color guru Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute; Creative Marketing on a Shoestring Budget; and Visual Merchandising Trends: Making the Ordinary Extraordinary.

The 70th anniversary of the National Stationery Show promises to continue to offer the same product and education to buyers and industry professionals with an added lineup of celebrations to properly ring in 70 years.

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