Paper Awards finalists revealed

27 slots in Top Drawer S/S comp as show announces Better Trends Company link-up


Championing small businesses is a big thing at Top Drawer London and celebrating designers and creators is a huge part of the show’s Paper Awards – with the finalists for the latest iteration just released.

And, with Top Drawer S/S23 getting ready to welcome visitors at London’s Olympia on 15-17 January, show organiser Clarion Retail has also recently announced a partnership with The Better Trends Company, offering expert advice to retail buyers and independent brands both live at the event and digitally.

The Paper Awards for this spring/summer show see 27 finalists across the four categories, with Cath Tate Cards, 1973, Alphablots and Noi Publishing each appearing twice.

Above: Top Drawer London runs over 15-17 January at London’s Olympia
Above: Top Drawer London runs over 15-17 January at London’s Olympia

In fact, Alphablots is back to see if it can hold on to the Exciting Use Of Colour title it won at the same show in February 2022, while previous Emotive Design winners Raspberry Blossom is now competing in the new Innovation In Design category, which replaces Best Stationery Design where 2022 winner Elvira VV Designs is an Exciting Use Of Colour finalist this time round.

It’s now over to the judges, including The Design Museum’s buying and merchandising manager Preena Patel, and Sarah Holmes, founder of Elgin indie retailer Pencil Me In, for the decision-making which will be announced at the show.

The full list of Paper Awards finalists is:

Emotive Design: Earlybird Designs, Elsa Rose Frere, Joy Nevada, Noi Publishing, Ricicle Cards
Sister Paper Co, The Sunshine Bindery, You’ve Got Pen On Your Face.

Engaging Print: Cath Tate Cards, Elsa Rose Frere, Heraldblack, Mahin Hussain, Matere Studio, Meraki, Noi Publishing, Storigraphic.

Exciting Use Of Colour: 1973, Alphablots, Archivist, Cath Tate Cards, Elvira VV Design, Mahin Hussain.

Innovation In Design: 1973, Alphablots, HappySelf Journal, Poet And Painter, Raspberry Blossom.

Above: Preena Patel and Sarah Holmes are among the judges
Above: Preena Patel and Sarah Holmes are among the judges

On the Better Trends tie-up, Clarion Retail’s portfolio director Zoe Bonser said: ‘’We wanted a partner that we felt truly aligned with our audience. We know just how important trend advice is to both brands and retailers and we wanted to make this accessible for everyone that attends our shows.

“The initiative demonstrates our ongoing commitment to offering our audience even more valuable takeaways, both at the live events and digitally, through the Reveal marketplace, all year round.”

This partnership aims to provide expert, tangible and adaptable trends advice to Clarion’s community of retail buyers and independent brands, through Top Drawer London, the January Furniture Show, Home & Gift Harrogate, and the Reveal digital marketplace via digestible but aspirational trend reports, inspirational installations and expert sessions.

Above: Raspberry Blossom’s Modern Psychedelic has been picked out by Better Trends
Above: Raspberry Blossom’s Modern Psychedelic has been picked out by Better Trends

At Top Drawer, visitors will find a collection of curated design stories and new launches from over 500 brands across nine sectors – Craft, Fashion, Food Emporium, Gift, Greetings & Stationery, Home, Launchpad, Play, and Wellbeing.

Returning favourites in greeting cards and stationery include Belly Button Designs, Brainbox Candy, Caroline Gardner, Cath Tate Cards, Earlybird Designs, English Graphics, James Ellis, Kali Stileman, Lagom Design, Meraki, Penguin Ink, Poet And Painter, Raspberry Blossom, Redback Cards, Ricicle Cards, Rosie Made A Thing, The Pop Out Card Company, and Vent For Change.

Among the new exhibitors are Anna Obert Illustration, Elsa Rose Frere, Heraldblack, HerDesignWorld, Heyyy Cards, Illustrated By Charlie, JoyNevada, Luke Horton Art, The Sunshine Bindery, Tippeleyrhill, Tom’s Studio, and Yop & Tom.

And in the Launchpad section, showcasing 30 innovative designers from across the globe, there are Hands & Hearts, Lucky Ink, Mahin Hussain, Mindful Champs, My Noodle Bug, and Tihara Smith.

The RetailFest stage will also be returning to the show with a packed agenda featuring keynote speakers, masterclasses and panel discussions ranging from trends to digital marketing. Retailfest will also play host to a new series of Meet The Maker talks this spring, featuring top experts and exhibiting designer-makers.

Top Drawer show manager David Westbrooke added: “Top Drawer is back with a bang this January, with more products, more brands, more trends and more inspiration.”

Top: HappySelf, Elsa Rose, Elvira VV Design, and Meraki are among the Paper Awards finalists

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