Styles and Trends through the Years

As part of our yearlong 25th anniversary celebration, we’re offering monthly “Best of. . . “ stamp sets that include some of our best-loved discontinued images. I got to be involved in part of the process, which meant that I spent several hours looking back through every single catalog and mini catalog we’ve had.

Wow! What a trip down memory lane! It struck me how much styles and trends have changed. . . and also how often certain styles keep coming back.

When Stampin’ Up! first started, we didn’t carry any original artwork. Rather, we gathered together artwork from several different companies and, with permission from those companies, sold them through the direst-sales marketing approach. We always tried to provide diversity, hoping everyone could find something they liked in our catalog, and I think we’ve been very successful at that.

After a few years, we started offering some exclusive artwork, and then—a few years later—we finally reached the point where all our images were exclusive to Stampin’ Up! With that exclusivity, we worked even harder to make sure we provided lots of different options.

When we first started out, the most popular stamp style was line art—images with details that people would color in themselves using watercolors or crayons or markers or whatever. I know I personally loved that style; I felt like an artist without really have to be one! And that style is fairly timeless; some of our best-selling stamps continue to be line art, proving that we all like to color!

But we’ve definitely branched out. I remember the first year we tried adding some bold stamps to our line; our customers were not impressed! The stamps didn’t sell very well, so we backed off a bit, but it wasn’t long before bold was big! (See, we knew what we were doing. . . we were just ahead of our time!)

Through the years we’ve gained a reputation for providing some of the finest artwork out there, as well as a very diverse product offering. Our artwork continues to reflect hot new trends, as well as timeless favorites. It’s nostalgic to look back at the artwork that reflected the fads of the day because they seem so dated today. . . although a few of those fads are actually coming back, much like styles in clothing often reappear every couple of decades, usually with a slightly different twist. Sometimes I’d look at a stamp set and think, “Thank heavens we’ve left that behind us!” But every once in awhile I would see a stamp set and think, “Now that one I LOVED!”

In addition to having lots of fun looking back and remembering, I also am very excited about the artwork we’ll be seeing in the future. We’re getting quite good at researching trends, and our artwork reflects that. I can hardly wait to look through our catalogs in another 10 years and see how styles have changed!