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The trends and brands to watch from BLE 2019

Phil Moore from Beacon Creative highlights his top spots from last week’s show.

ExCel London provided a new home for Europe’s biggest licensing show. We had three days of meetings with clients old and new. Here are our top picks from this year’s show…

Best Stands

Best-Stand 1


One of the best displays we’ve seen in a long time, Beano took the opportunity to redesign its stand and it didn’t disappoint. Inspired by the schoolyard, it featured picnic benches, a chalkboard and a full-size half pipe. Beano Studios also took the opportunity to showcase new products, as well as its collaboration with Stella McCartney.



A pastel paradise in a wash of neon and pattern clashing, Pusheen displayed its latest super cute apparel range and accessories. We particularly liked the giant plush photo opportunity.



By far the most eye-catching display, Rovio’s stand featured giant animated screens, on-trend product, as well as a giant customisable piggy.


Trend | Inclusivity

It was great to see the theme of inclusivity across a range of brands from Warner Bros. DC Super Hero Girls to Real Madrid. The Retail Lounge also hosted Trend Bible, with its seminar on Why Trends Matter for Licensing explaining how this trend has filtered down from brands such as method.


Trend | Optimism

DRi Licensing showcased its range of Happy News products by Emily Coxhead. The range features stationery and gifts and is inspired by the newspaper that only features good news. We recommend you subscribe (it’s the secret to the Beacon team always being in a good mood).

On a more serious note, the Natural History Museum displayed its latest collaboration with Fat Face highlighting some of the climate change issues we’re facing.


Trend | Sustainability


Sick of us banging on about sustainability? Well, it was a massive theme of the show. At the Sustainability Seminar brands like the BBC shared their views on how we all have to make changes. Unfortunately, the licensing industry has been slow to respond, but with tools like the Sustainability Apparel Coalition and shared learning between brands, we should start to see some traction.

Working within the constraints of the industry, Ojo x Trashcode showcased its range of plush made from 100% recycled plastic which uses 86% less water, 70% less energy and 75% less C02. The brand is completely transparent about its process, which will appeal to a highly critical generation who want to know exactly how their products are made.



The small Smurfs have big goals, partnering with the UN to promote happiness and sustainability. The 17 goals are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for everyone. They address the global challenges we face including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace and justice.


Our favourite things…

We loved the unusual Pac man x Essence collaboration, the Cath Kidston x KaKao range, as well as the latest retro range from Polaroid (love the swing tag).

There was a huge focus on interiors at the show and it was great to see a dedicated space showcasing home decor. We loved the Natural History x Divine Savages range which perfectly showcased the museum’s collections in a contemporary way.


And finally, Happy Birthday to…

Barbie, Angry Birds, Activision, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, JCB, Spot, Rubiks… Got a Birthday? Make sure you celebrate it.

Did we mention that it’s our 20th this year..?

Phil Moore is managing director of Beacon Creative – an independent brand design consultancy, working with worldwide brands on a daily basis, which believes that at the heart of every good brand communication is a great idea. He can be contacted on 0191 4784411 or

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