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Brief Published: 26 Feb 2021

Heritage & Nostalgia Win in Wallpaper Designs

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Graham & Brown

Sales of wallpaper have spiked during lockdown as consumers have taken up DIY to improve their sense of wellbeing at home. Graham & Brown, the UK’s leading wallpaper manufacturer, has found that people are particularly selecting geometric patterns to conjure balance and order, and choose botanicals to bring the outside in – sales of floral designs jumped by 62% compared to previous years.

Graham & Brown was founded in the 1940s as the country emerged from the Second World War and people were looking to freshen up the homes in which they had lived for six years of war. This sentiment feels particularly relevant for this moment, as the brand celebrates its 75th birthday.

To mark the occasion, the brand has developed a collection of eight wallpapers based on popular designs from its archives. The design team retrieved and then adapted the original hand-painted artwork, by scaling up patterns or slightly adjusting palettes to give them a contemporary feel. Each decade is represented by a paper: a floral pattern inspired by country gardens signifies the 40s, there’s a teardrop motif for the 50s, bright flower power depicts the 60s and geometric graphics epitomise the 70s. In May, four more designs will be launched, portraying each decade all the way up to today.

All designs infuse a sense of nostalgia, which will speak to consumers in search of comfort. Read The Brief for more on how brands can leverage nostalgic content to connect with people struggling with pandemic anxieties. What’s more, scouring brand heritage to inspire product development is one of the key trends we identified for 2020 and onwards.

Each wallpaper is accompanied by four perfectly colour-matched paints to be applied on adjacent walls or woodwork, preselected by the design team. This aids online sales, giving consumers the confidence that colours match when unable to see products in real life. For more winning brand strategies for selling DIY products online, see Igniting Interiors E-Commerce.

Sales of the limited-edition collection will go towards the brand’s pledge to raise £75,000 ($106,172) this year, which will be donated to a selection of charities, one in each country the brand operates in. For more on brands as change leaders, see Aspirational Altruists.

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