living coral color with blue trending design sublimation

Mini-Trends to Incorporate in Your Sublimation Business

Jennifer Foy has over 12 years of experience using Adobe Photoshop. She has received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communications from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida. Her years of teaching experience include numerous software and design classes in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, QuarkXPress, Freehand and InDesign for Colleges in Atlanta, Georgia; and Louisville, Kentucky. Jennifer is currently working as the Creative Director and Universal Woods with the Unisub and Chromaluxe brands. Jennifer can be reached by email at jenniferf@unisub.com

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Note: This article appears in the June 2019 issue of A&E magazine. To ensure that you can access this and other industry-focused pieces, be sure to subscribe today!

Are you seeing common themed designs/products selling online and in other stores? Those are most likely trending designs, patterns, or themes in today’s marketplace. Wondering if you could sell these trend-themed items in your dye-sublimation business to boost sales or expand how people think of the products available in your shop? With just a little downloading and laying out of a few designs, you could engage customers in a new way, expanding your profits and how customers think of your products and business. 

Trends are defined as a general direction in which something is developing or changing; a fashion. There are four mini-trends outlined in the following article that could be added to a personalization business (fairly painlessly) and should be considered. Adding a few trending pieces gives you a chance to promote your products in a new way with a small investment. 

After I review the trends, I’ll give you some web links for free downloadable cheat sheets and some art resources plus some things to consider when adding these into your lineup. We want minimal effort/production time with a bigger return so you can see just how these work for your growth opportunities. 

Out of This World – Celestial

Shooting stars, comets, orbs, and space-age elements are among the design elements and motifs that can be found on gift items, apparel, and even wallpaper. Think dark navy blue or black and purples or violet shades with white, gold, or cream colors. 

Stars, moons, night skies, and constellations and patterns make up what’s seen the most. Think constellations from the night a couple got married (their “love was written in the stars”-themed) or use them for a new baby gift aligned with the birth date. If created/given as a birth date gift item, there may be a specific zodiac sign with the baby’s name and date displayed on a large ChromaLuxe metal or natural wood print. 

While you can easily do large products, this trend can be seen on products that run the gamut in size from the large wall décor to bag tags or even simplified on a small bezel jewelry charm. If you sublimate blankets or mugs, this trend can also be applied to soft products as well. 

The celestial theme can be applied to small items such as a bezel charm necklace or a large wall décor panel. All images courtesy Jennifer Foy

Welcome to the...Jungle

One way to summarize this design trend is, “Big leafy greens make us all jump for joy! Emerald, moss, sage, teal, and lime — bright shades lend themselves perfectly to personalized gifts.” This is how the jungle trend is described in a downloadable mini-trend report on the Unisub website. You’ll find more information on helpful downloads toward the bottom of this article. 

Target various tropical leaf patterns, exotic animal prints (think zebra or leopard), and contrasting bright colors; think the pink of a flamingo against a green Monstera leaf pattern or a bamboo texture could be traded out. It’s all about patterns found in nature. This trend can be used with entire background patterns, as leafy accents on the corner of a message board, or dropping off from the handle of a coffee mug. 

Mini-trend reports are a cheat sheet that you can download and keep for a quick reference or inspiration.

Earning A's with Agate

Agate is primarily a volcanic rock known for its unique, swirling layers of colors. The look of agate and geodes or crystals appeals to the bohemian and the chic consumer for a bit of natural glamour. 

This trend falls across a range of products from wedding décor items to personalized gifts (think a cuff bracelet, cell phone case, or serving tray) or even a cool new tabletop design for interior décor. Agate imagery and patterns allow you to use the same image but crop it in different ways for more bang for your buck. It can be overwhelming on smaller items, but when a cropped area of an image is applied carefully, a beautiful design can occur simply on its own. 

Wedding place card holders with table numbers or a serving tray topped with an initial all look great with this design. Think simple applications as the pattern can have quite complex designs in the background or element. 

Want to create a display in your shop? Pick up some rock candy sticks (available at your local candy shop, Walmart, or Amazon) and crumble off some of the edges or leave in a dish on the display next to various items with the rock designs. 

Agate patterns and colors make amazing-looking backgrounds.

Loving Living Coral

Living Coral is the 2019 Color of the Year and can be found everywhere, from makeup to paint, stationery, textile, and gift-ables. It’s described by Pantone as, “An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.” 

Use Living Coral with a medium-tone gray, a creamy white, contrasted with a dark turquoise, or use it solo. Think patterns, names, or word art on picture frames, coasters, scarves, and so on. If you haven’t heard of this color before now, it will suddenly appear everywhere to you.

Living Coral, the 2019 Color of the Year, can be seen everywhere.

Helpful Links

Wondering how to find more notes or directions on these trends? Many retail owners are visual people, so with that in mind, there are one-page PDF files that note each of these trends online for you to download. Here’s the shortcut link:www.unisubtrends.com.

You’ll also find summer-themed illustrations, including some of those big leaves that can be created into a pattern or used however you want on printed products only. All digital items on unisub.com are available to download and use in commercial-printed items and not for digital resale. These are available to download in the Graphics Library under the category of Summer.

Big leaves are part of the jungle-theme look.

Take a couple of products in your store, apply the mini-trends above with a twist of personalization that can be created especially with sublimation, and showcase fresh-looking products for new ways to think outside of your business. This is a low investment on your part to have something new to boast to customers about. 

There are numerous ways to then use this to get your business top of mind: promote on social media, or add a small display near the register or front door area with a bit of signage to educate your customers on why these items are so exciting and new. If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar shop, then add them to the home page of your website or create a product spotlight that combines products you offer with something that’s fresh. Put together a quick banner ad for your website to showcase these products. 

Sampling design trends with products in your business is a low-cost method to create a fresh buzz around your shop and your dye-sublimated products. I hope you’ll review the mini-trends and see what opportunities await your business!