Valentines Day


So where did it all begin…

Legend has it  that in the 3rd century AD, Valentine, who was a priest, defied the order of the emperor Claudius and secretly married couples so that the husbands wouldn’t have to go to war. Soldiers were sparse at this time, so Valentine was a big inconvenience to the emperor. Being imprisoned for this, legend says that Valentine gave his testimony in prison and through his prayers healed the jailer’s daughter who was suffering from blindness. On the day of his execution he left her a note that was signed “Your Valentine”.

The First Valentine’s Greetings

In 15th-century France,  February 14th became an annual feast day celebrating romantic love. Lavish banquets with singing and dancing were held to mark the occasion. A 15th-century Frenchman  wrote the earliest surviving Valentine’s greeting on paper. While imprisoned in the Tower of London following the 1415 battle of Agincourt, the Duke of Orleans wrote to his wife:

Je suis desja d’amour tanné     Ma tres doulce Valentinée

This translates roughly as, “I am already sick of love, my very gentle Valentine”. This remarkable letter survives in the manuscript collections of the British Library.
By the 17th century Valentine’s Day gets a mention in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, when Ophelia is given the lines:
To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,

And I a maid at your window,

To be your Valentine.
However, it was in the 18th century that the most familiar Valentine’s poem made its first appearance. These lines, found in a collection of nursery rhymes printed in 1784, read:
The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.

The First Valentine’s cards

The first Valentine’s cards were sent in the 18th century. Initially these were handmade & Lovers would decorate paper with romantic symbols including flowers and love knots, often including puzzles and lines of poetry. Those who were less inspired could buy volumes that offered guidance on selecting the appropriate words and images to woo their lover. These cards were then slipped secretly under a door, or tied to a door-knocker.
It was in Georgian Britain that pre-printed cards first began to appear, though these were not yet as popular as they were eventually to become. Perhaps the oldest surviving example dates from 1797: this card, held at York Castle Museum, was sent by one Catherine Mossday to a Mr Brown of London. It is decorated with flowers and images of Cupid, with a verse printed around the border reading:
Since on this ever Happy day,

All Nature’s full of Love and Play

Yet harmless still if my design,

‘Tis but to be your Valentine.

 Victorian Valentines

The industrialisation of Britain in the early 19th-century brought rapid advances in printing and manufacturing. It became easier than ever to mass-produce Valentine’s cards, which soon became immensely popular. It is estimated that by the mid 1820s, some 200,000 Valentines were circulated in London alone. The introduction of the Penny Post in 1840 bolstered the popularity of Valentine’s cards yet further: reports suggest that by the late 1840s the amount of cards being circulated doubled, doubling once again in the next two decades.
Many Victorian Valentine’s cards tended to feature elaborate paper lacework, embossing and other intricate designs. The more expensive the card, the more elaborate the design would be. This meant it would be obvious how much your lover had spent on a card! Typical imagery included flowers, love knots and Cupid. Though hearts were sometimes used, Victorian cards did not feature the ubiquitous red hearts that are so typical of Valentine’s cards today.
Not all Victorian Valentine’s cards were so romantic, however. The “less loving” were able to buy ‘Vinegar Valentines’ – cards designed to insult. These cards typically poked fun at a man’s profession or a woman’s appearance. One example that survives in the collections of the University of Birmingham features a cartoon of a woman with a large nose. Under the title ‘Miss Nosey’ are the following lines:
On account of your talk of others’ affairs
At most dances you sit warming the chairs.
Because of the care with which you attend
To all others’ business you haven’t a friend.
Sometimes men sent such cards to their male friends in order to mock them, with examples featuring taunts about baldness and alcoholism. Other unconventional cards were less vicious, however, and reveal the Victorian sense of fun. One example held at York Castle Museum features a lock of real human hair fashioned into a moustache. The card reads:
For the New Woman! With St Valentine’s Heartiest Greetings and Best Hopes that she will receive another (moustache) – With A Man Attached.

This humorous card would not look out of place in todays shops, where humorous cards remain a popular choice for those who are adverse to romance.

The commercialisation of Valentine’s Day

In the mid-19th century the Valentine’s card travelled across the Atlantic. Cards rapidly gained popularity in America, where they were initially advertised as a British fashion & in 1913 Hallmark Cards produced their first Valentine’s card.  Amongst the first Valentines cards from Hallmark included these golfing themes..  the left hand card was created for the US market, the right card for Britain. The kissing couple were considered inappropriate at the time for us Brits!!
Happy Valentines Day to you all ! x
(Sarah Fabian-Baddiel/Heritage Images/Getty Images)

Color Trends

To follow or to lead.. jump on board.. or let that one pass you by…? Colour trends have fast become a key tool for buyers seeking to keep pace with what’s hot, not wanting to miss out on the latest “thing”, but trying to avoid exposing themselves to unnecessary commercial risk.

Colour is such an emotive subject… what you see is what you feel, and many of our colour connections made in childhood, remain with us as adults.. as colour often conjures up memories. So whilst we should open ourselves up to “whats new”, we should also be mindful of the traditions associated with many colours.  Colour is also a form of communication and expression.. taking its direction from nature itself. From daffodil yellows in Spring, to bright pinks & turquoise skies in the Summer, we lean towards certain colours as the year unfolds, as a reflection of the world around us.

The wrap display in a store is great place to refelect the changing colours of each season.. and for those with the space to invest, it can be a visual show-stopper. For this reason wrap displays should be refreshed at least 4 times in a calendar year to provide a visual & commercial stimulus that best fits the season.. just like any fashion store.

Jan – April: Spring refresh – soft pastels with hints of pale yellow & spring green.. which in turn support Mother’s Day & Easter, so lovely after all that Christmas red!

May – August: Summer  is your chance to shout about bold colours & whatever the weather throws at us, have fun with bright combo’s .. even Orange. Adding bold colour to your wrap wall will create a sense of energy in store & reflecting the wardrobe changes that most of us make at this time of year! This is also peak Wedding Season, so don’t forget about Bridal Whites … And Father’s Day tucked away in mid June – well thats a chance for all things boys & blue to make an impression..!

Sept – November: For Autumn, Halloween & Fireworks we turn to warmer, deeper colour pallets.. evoking cosy evenings by the fire & inspired by the shades created by natures harvest.. Deep Pinks, Burgundy, Purples, Burnt Orange & Copper, Greys, Browns …

And December is quite frankly, all about Christmas! Still a very traditional colour palette, Christmas continues to be dominated by golds, silvers, reds & festive greens, as these all speak to luxury & indulgence. But each year there are a few trend led colour combo’s that create a stir & add a little excitement…and this year is no exception!

Rose Pink/ Velvet Wine…  is rather addictive, and will be trending this AW17 in the world of fashion & homewares. It is a fabulous combination of vintage Rose Pink &  deep Velvety Wine, lending itself perfectly  to both gift packaging & festive decorations. Rose Pink can transition throughout Autumn/Winter  as an Everyday Colour and will look quite at home in early Spring! Velvet Wine brings much needed Autumn warmth to Everyday & is a wonderful new addition to Christmas! Used together or on their own as separate colours, Rose/Wine gives a  luxurious & quietly confident look to any collection.


We have created new designs for Aw17 using Rose Glitters & Foils.. Look out for our new Rose/Wine Crush Collection – wrapping paper, gift bags, boxes & tags, all made by hand using our new Rose foil on a handmade cotton base paper..  And to really go ‘all out’ lux, top off your gift wrapping & gift bags with our  New Rose / Wine tassels, or gift toppers.. which can then be used either as festive decorations or around the home! All great add on sales for you & a great way to inspire your customers with quick & easy ideas.

Copper / Grey & Gold.. The Three Wise Men! Mixed Metallics continue to pack a punch in AW17 with a large splash of  Copper! This really is a fantastic trend for all aspects of home decor & gifting at Christmas, as  metallic finishes can now be achieved on so many substrates, not least paper! AW17 see’s  a more masculine edge to metallics with Gunmetal Grey serving as the  backbone to other warmer finishes,  Gold bringing the  luxury & large serving of zesty Copper acting as the perfect winter spice.


We have used this trio to great effect across Everyday & Christmas designs.. giving you a flexible way of integrating festive products into your collection.. So Mixed Metallics could land straight into your Everyday display in September & gently morph into Christmas as the count down begins!   Marble… Crush… Maharaja… Ruskin… whichever designs you love most.. you will be able to move effortlessly from one colour to another within this palette. For wrapping enthusiasts & crafters, check out our Glittered Snowflakes – set of 3 in copper,silver & gold & our matching Jute Twines for added texture & interest!

Ice Mint & Deep Turquoise… brrrr –  Winter Wonderland!  Inspired by Icelandic frosts & swirling patterns in the ice, this colour palette is very chic! Ice Mint is warmed with use of gold foils & glitter and the Deep Turquoise brings a more festive feel.  This colour palette works well for Everyday, but simply by adding a Paper Bauble or a gold Foil JOY accessory – everyday items can be made Christmassy!


Designing Christmas for John Lewis… yes we are!

Way way back in September last year we were invited to the Christmas Briefing for 2017 by the John Lewis team! We look forward to this event every year.. as we are always presented with inspiring ideas & direction for the next festive season. We are given key colours, themes and design briefs to work with & take all these ingredients back to our design studio in Bath to immerse ourselves in the creative process!

Each Christmas the JL team present magical ideas to their loyal Customers,   festive collections themed to the smallest detail.. so that we can all recreate those gorgeous looks in our homes during the festive season, without too much effort!  Dan Cooper or “Mr Christmas” as many call him, is the big glittery bauble at the centre of it all. Dan guides his team of buyers & designers to pull together a number of discrete and different themes , so that we the Customers, can find a look that speaks to us..  Dan & his team are focused on finding new & exciting products each year,  working in partnership with British businesses like us, to inspire & excite JL Customers.

So last September, as our all children were going back to school, I found myself surrounded by the very latest JL themes for Christmas 2017… and yet again they were all delicious! From  ‘Tales of the Maharaja” a gloriously decadent Indian spin on Christmas, to ‘Folklore’  an updated celebration of Christmas from traditional Eastern Europe, to ‘Highland Myths’.. a style inspired by the wilds of the Scottish Highlands!

The Vivid creative team poured over these Christmas  briefs &  during the next few weeks & months, created ideas & concepts for Wrapping Paper & Decorations for Dan & his team.  We work with a small & talented bunch of designers here at Vivid, and for this project Julie & Jude worked with me, each using their own unique  illustration style to great effect.

I then dashed off to India a few times, and with the help of our factory team, turned our concepts into real products for sampling into  JL. We screen printed papers & textiles, embroidered fabrics & went in search of trims & accessories to give  our products the perfect finishing touch!  We have been working with the same dedicated factories in Jaipur for over 10 years and  their care & attention really shows in all that we do.

We hand make all our wrapping papers from recycled cotton & recycled kraft paper & then screen print by hand using water based inks, each item is a mini work of art! We are using the oldest of handicraft techniques to create our products, & designing exclusively for a brand like John Lewis means a lot to us all … everyone involved at Vivid wanting to do the very best that they can.

Shrieks of excitement follow, when we present final samples to Dan & his team in early December & following last minute tweaks, we leave all our goodies with them for final selection. Then it’s a bit like waiting for a baby to arrive! Dan has the daunting task of pulling the entireChristmas Collection together, by individual theme across all categories, Trees, Decs, Wrap Shop, Stockings, Tree Skirts… the list goes on.. and we wait nervously to see if our products have made the final cut & will be part of the 2017 Christmas Shop at John Lewis.

Fast foward to September 2017, needless to say it was good news, all our products were included in Dan’s selection. Our factory worked hard during April, May & June, making all our goodies & in August everything was delivered into the enormous, ‘state of the art’ JL warehouse – that quite frankly is the size of a small town!

More samples follow to the Christmas team for their Catalogue photoshoot, we can’t wait to see how Vivid products look alongside all the other items curated by Dan..





Thurs 21st September at 6pm, Dan launched the Christmas Shop at John Lewis Oxford Street via Live Broadcast on Facebook… During the next  30 minutes he gave a wonderful overview of all the deliciousness that JL have to offer this year,  Dan looking very much at home in front of the camera with his trade mark tailored jacket & oh so stylie shoes!  The Christmas Shop has gone live on the JL website & Vivid Wrap products that have been beautifully photographed, start to sell..

Now we just need to sit back & see what the JL Customers think…. nail biting stuff! During the following week, John Lewis stores across the UK, launched their Christmas Shops & Vivid takes its place alongside all the other brands & products, vying for Customer attention & keen to be purchased & taken home for the festive Season.

At the end of September  we get wonderful news from Scott at JL ( Scott rarely gets a mention & he’s rather lovely ! ), that  Vivid Wrap is featured on the front cover of the JL 2017 Christmas Gift Guide… and not just a few, but 1.3 million Gift Guides will be distributed from October through December!!    I can’t contain my excitement!


But wait.. it’s that time of year again…  gosh this has come around so quickly… yes its time to go to another  Christmas Briefing, to receive our new direction for next year, to get our hands on the style guides, colours  & themes for John Lewis  Christmas 2018!

So whilst we nervously sit back & wait to see the results of our endeavours for Christmas 2017, we are hard at work recreating the magic all over again  for 2018… and so it continues!

Vivid Wrap are proud to be a part of John Lewis this Christmas.. 2017 x

New Spring Summer 2018 Vivid Launch !

Just as the warm tones of Autumn start to appear in the shops, so we are surrounded by the fresh vibrant colours of our New Spring Summer 2018 Collection, here at Vivid HQ!

New Colours, New products, New Brochure.. its all so exciting!





If you would like a copy of our New SS18 Brochure, please email us with your details & we will pop a Brochure & Swatch book in the post today!

Alternatively click this link to see our new SS18 Brochure online here…..

Would love to receive your feedback on our New SS18 Collection.

Happy Shopping…  Cathy, Steve & the Vivid Team! x

Spring Summer 2018 Trend Colours

We have been totally inspired for Spring Summer 2018, by all the fresh, bright feminine colours that have recently appeared at the fashion catwalk shows & the home interior trend sites.  That’s not so say there isn’t something for the boys.. quite the opposite! SS18 will see key menswear brands taking on light pinks, pale turquoise & florals in a big way .. introducing much awaited colour & pattern to an otherwise beige & blue check wardrobe – that most men inhabit!


Pink Pink.. to make the girls & boys wink!  Named in the 17th Century after a flower called Pink, this rosey colour is both graceful & elegant. Until the 1940’s pink was considered a colour for boys, as being part of the red family, it was considered a more masculine & decisive colour! Oh how times have come full circle again!









Our SS18 Pinks combine soft shades of Blush, Coral & Rose Pink, with a generous splash of gold for that all important decadent finish! Matching pink foils & glitters  create excitement & sparkle.  Pink Marble, Blush Flamingoes, delicate Rose Floral Hearts, look out for our new foiled ‘Messages of Love‘ for Mothers Day.. perfect for popping onto a gift bag or a much deserved bouquet of flowers.. and then hanging somewhere special to be admired!  Lets hope 2018 will be a very pink year for us all … a year full of love!

Aqua Splash !!   Fresh & Feminine, this wonderful combo of Pistachio, Mint & Aqua has an elegant & optimistic feel. Look out for our new ‘Mermaids’ & wide stripe ‘Little Treat’ design. Our new folding Handbag Gift Boxes  are perfect for small gifts & new heart shaped Thank You Notes.. a lovely way to  show your love & appreciation.









Coastal Blues ..? not here we’re buoyant!   All aboard with our Coastal Blues, as waves & fishes are a huge influence to homewares & gifting this season.  Soft Chambray, rich Navy and a small dash of Olive, makes for a wonderful Summer cocktail of colours.. very chic!  From ‘Hip Hip Hooray’ ships bunting, to ‘Surf Boards’ &  shiny little ‘Gold Fish’, there is definitely a glamorous water theme on the horizon this Summer.. Not to mention a little something for Father’s Day too! Check out our matching Luggage Tags & Jute twines.. for added texture & colour pop.

Did you know that in Roman times, if a women wore blue  it was said to be a sign of easy virtue & on men an effeminate trait… Don’t you just love those Romans!!