Many consumer product lines were negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, but jigsaw puzzles became the hot commodity with manufacturers reporting sales in March and April were up over 300-370% year over year.
When lockdown rules were first put in place around the world, a humorous article in New York Magazine declared “Puzzle Fans Need to Chill Out”. However, puzzle manufacturers weren’t laughing as they struggled to keep up with unprecedented demand. Now art licensing agents, artists, retailers and puzzle manufacturers are left wondering if that affinity will flourish or fizzle in 2021.
One challenge is the production timeline for creating a puzzle as described in this New York Times article. The story also quoted an executive at puzzle giant Ravensburger in North America, who explained the complex process of choosing puzzle images that goes way beyond picking a pretty picture. Designs are carefully curated based on feedback from focus groups and identifying trends on Instagram, Etsy and Reddit. The company puts together a profile of a target customer, then works with an artist to create an appealing watercolor, photograph or illustration.
Historically, and not surprisingly in the midst of a global health emergency, puzzlers are drawn to comforting images of food such as mac & cheese and desserts, along with lush landscapes and idyllic scenes of days gone by. However, newer designs that appeal to millennials include soothing scenes of self-care, like cups of coffee and gradient images that are inherently ‘grammable.
As an international art licensing agency that represents some of the most innovative artists and fine art photographers within the licensing industry today, here are our picks for puzzles in 2021:
Best-selling puzzle artist Alan Giana showcases holiday images and ethereal landscapes in his scenic prints that instantly transport you to an idyllic place