National Stationery Show has announced the winners of its 2nd annual “Design Our Valentines” contest, and I must say, this is already becoming a favorite tradition. There is so much great design packed into these finalists and winners — all of whom will be NSS exhibitors — I can only imagine how hard it was to judge these missives of love! In all, there were three categories with two finalists and one lucky winner each. For me, they’re a mixture of vendors I already adore and those I can’t wait to meet in person.

First up, we have the Contemporary category, designs having a current, modern, on trend, hip, fun, humorous, bold, sarcastic or snarky vibe. Finalist #1 is Boss Dotty Paper Co.’s bootylicious heart pockets. Much love for these sweet, rosy cheeks!Children and pets can be expensive and time-consuming — not to mention very needy and noisy — so apparently many Millennials are turning to houseplants as repositories for their affections. It’s in that vein that this soothing Alo(v)e You Finalist from Leadfeather Creative was created. However, it’s a very amorous sheep that snagged the Contemporary category, which had 24 entries in all. This baaaa-ing baby is from OXHIP Studio!
Next up, we have the Traditional category, designs having a wholesome, vintage, tender, romantic, serious or conservative air to them. Our first finalist is Love You So Much, designed by Pippa Show, from Big Wheel Press. The rose gold foil is is stamped on an antique letterpress, and I’m sure is most dazzling in person!
I love these little llamas — and their subtle infinite loop scarf — in this finalist from ilootpaperie. The colors have just the right amount of contrast, continuing on the envelope no less, and the punny message adds the final note of perfection!

It’s no big shocker that our winner from 10 submissions takes us to the city of love and lights, Paris! Joo Joo Paper’s sweet lovebird ‘Always’ design was illustrated using gouache on paper and is accompanied by a metallic light blue envelope.

I think by far for me the most intriguing category is a new one, We Love the NSS. Capturing the love you have for a person is one thing — encapsulating it for a one-of-a-kind annual event is an entirely different sort of challenge. The first finalist is Good Juju Ink with this hand-illustrated Stationery Show Snail Mail Valentine, featuring a very special mail carrier and lots of yummy red foil!
Halifax Paper Hearts created this Called Me Old Fashioned Finalist. While your phone may be telling you to swipe right in search of undying love, there are those among us looking for some old-fashioned purple (or in this case hot pink) prose!Finally, Elm Paper created this simply dazzling winner! This pink watercolor heart card and gold foil heart makes the ultimate declaration of love for NSS. Technically the love affair with NSS continues through Valentine’s Day. Register by February 14 using promo code BeMyValentine2018 for a chance to win one of five $100 American Express® Gift Cards! In just a few short months, you’ll be falling for innovative designs and tantalizing products from 750 exhibiting artists and brands.

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