Jul 15, 2020
The Power of Balloons
Debbie Eisele

Spread joy and celebrate at a distance with traffic-stopping balloons

In the wake of COVID-19, people are still connecting — virtually, through snail mail and with balloons! Balloons have been a mainstay for decades, and today, balloon creators, artists and party lovers find that balloons offer a special power — one that almost always elicits a smile.

Animal patterned balloons from Mayflower
Mayflower’s animal patterned balloons are a favorite.

Dream Factory Balloons, located in Kenilworth, New Jersey completely adapted its business to conform with stay-home orders and still provide balloon décor to its customers. “We had to adapt due to COVID-19 — 100% of our installations today are outside with absolutely no contact with clients,” said owner Dante Longhi. “We have been offering outdoor displays. We started with the Stay Strong theme, from there we developed the birthday displays and now are offering graduation outdoor displays.”

What’s popular?

This year some balloon trends are surfacing. Rachel Gayer, social media manager and trends researcher with Pioneer Balloon Company/Qualatex, noted that tie-dye, terrazzo, retro daisies and 80’s pop-art styles are resurfacing in popularity. “Swanky new textures are being added to balloon décor, including botanicals, disco balls, metallics, marbling, and fringe,” she said. Additionally, outer space, rainbow, sea creatures, dinosaurs and butterflies are still strong, and safari themes and animal prints are emerging strong for 2020, Gayer noted.

Under the Sea Ballon art from Dream Factory Balloons
This elegant sea creature balloon art was created by Dream Factory Balloons

Sheri Workman, senior account manager with Mayflower Distributing Company, explained that the organic style balloon décor is trending into 2020. “Organic arches, columns, and garlands will be popular, as well as organic photo backdrops,” she said.

Arches, columns and garlands are popular trends.

Everyday celebrations and birthdays are still at the top of the list for events where balloons reign. “Due to COVID-19, we are seeing an emerging trend with balloons being used to express appreciation, boost morale and spread joy,” Workman said. “People are finding ways to spread joy and celebrate at a distance with car parades, decorating windows, and lawns; balloons have been a significant part of this!”

5th birthday party balloon creations from Dream Factory Balloons.
Photo courtesy of Dream Factory Balloons

Dream Factory Balloons shared that it sees custom balloons trending this year. “Baby showers, gender real and outdoor displays” are popular with its customers seeking balloon décor.

Dinosaur Balloon Sculpture from Dream Factory Balloons
Dinosaur Balloon Sculpture from Dream Factory Balloons

Color and material preferences

Pioneer Balloon Company/Qualatex shared what it is seeing in terms of color preferences: “Pastels, though not quite new, are experiencing a different take on the overall trend with the dusty-pastels color palette. It is more of a powdery, muted pastel color. In contrast, neon’s are also sizzling right now!”

Happy Birthday Balloon from Qualatex
This Happy Birthday Balloon from Qualatex reflects the bright color trends

Each year, balloon décor has something hot, and this year is no different. “Balloon Mosaics really hit their stride over the past year. Lilly Jimenez of The Creative Heart Studio is the creator of Balloon Mosaics, and they really exploded in 2019. I see lots of potential for even more growth this year,” Gayer said.

“I think balloon decor will begin to look a bit different now that we are in the middle of a global pandemic. We have started to see more yard balloon décor to keep spirits up, as well as out-of-the-box ideas for deliverables,” Gayer emphasized. “I could see that lasting once we get past this uncertain time. We’d better get ready for an explosion, as I think people will be ready to party when it’s finally safe to gather!”

Workman reinforced that bold color is definitely on tap: reds, oranges, bright blues, blue-greens, magenta purple and hot pinks. Iridescent, matte-finished balloons are popular, as are animal print, tie-dye and marble, according to Workman.

Although bright, bold colors are in, Dream Factory Balloons noted that Chrome colors are very popular with its retail customers.

Business event with pink balloons.
Even business events enjoy the balloon décor from Dream Factory Balloons.

Debbie Eisele is the managing editor for museums&MORE, Party & Halloween Retailer, and Gift Shop Pets and the senior retail editor for Gift Shop Magazine and Stationery Trends.
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