Jonathan Cimini is not a rookie when it comes to spreading holiday cheer. He loves it so much he has made a career out of it working at Paper Magic Group. CSS Industries (Paper Magic Group) sells wholesale paper products to big names such as Target, Walmart and, Costco. Jonathan has spent five years there creating and designing stationary, greeting cards, gift tags, and more. He first started as a designer in the Valentine’s Day department, when the opportunity came knocking to transfer to Christmas he could not refuse. As an art director, Jonathan is able to work as what he calls a “gatherer” for his team of designers.

Trend boards and a $10-15,000 budget help bring Christmas packaging and stationary to life a year in advance. Jonathan shared with us a trend board from last holiday season decorated not only with stationary and gift tags but also ornaments and swatches. These ideas are then presented to the buyers of the respected company who choose to work with the Paper Magic Group or not. A challenge for his team is that they are artists and want to go above and beyond but from a buyers stand point you have to stick with what sells to your consumers. Their demographic is the female age 25-30 so you can see why the glittered easy peal and stick gift tags are the classic buy from year to year. Along with preparing trend boards for presentation meetings, Jonathan’s team also brings concept products to the table for the buyer to actually see, touch and hold. This is where attention to detail come into play. When ordering from their supplier in Hong-Kong the sample must be identical in shape and color to what is on the board as well as what will be shipped to the stores later.

Jonathan also shared his creative insight on how he goes about finding inspiration to bring to the table. He is given an opportunity to fly to Europe, the fashion capital of the world, to explore what is happening there and share it here. They begin researching around June and July (of the year before) to be prepared for the trend lag from Europe to the States. Jonathan says he finds inspiration mainly in department store windows and simply looking around the city. Ultimately, the team will gather around 8 solid trend ideas to propose. He explained that the research part of his job takes up about 60% of his time while the other 40% is spent with his team. This has been a huge change for him transitioning from artist to designer but he hopes to keep moving forward into a buyer position.

Trends to look out for this upcoming holiday season are black, gold and silver. In gift tags, the more hands on approach is being tested through origami tags that have to be put together by the consumer. More trends to keep an eye out for in this technology age are Ecards and digital media blasts. Jonathan is not worried about the paper industry though because there is no better holiday joy than a hand written card on Christmas.