Embracing The Jelly Jiggle

Drifting onto the design shores for 2024 is the Be Jelly trend hypnotically gliding onto catwalks, home decor, prints and of course greeting cards. From the watery, iridescent jellyfish to the nostalgic and wobbly pudding, the jelly aesthetic is mesmerising, translucent, shimmering and squishy. Touching on the tendrils of this trend and discovering the shape of the gelatinous vibe, greeting card journalist and promo filmmaker, Gale Astley, spotted this opaque and curvy form swaying onto cards during her recent visit to Top Drawer Spring and Spring Fair 2024.

Pictured top: Foiling interweaves the trailing tentacles, an Emma Frances Grant Jellyfish from her Imaginarium range, available from Museums & Galleries. 

Slowly rhythmically pulsing the oceans for over 600 million years, jellyfish are the oldest multi-organ animal on earth and among the most deadly. This year however, to the design realm, it’s not just the resilience of this candescent and pendulous invertebrate that is illuminating creative inspiration. Pinterest has predicted the Be Jelly mood will bloom in 2024 among the current tide of scallop shells and rippling prints, and the seemingly otherworldly creature is already influencing gorgeously surreal opaque homewares and lights, jellyfish haircuts (think of a blunt bob and a mullet combined) and this year’s ‘jelly dressing’ couture, which is awash with floaty, iridescent and shiny fabrics and the retro return of 90s jelly hats and 80s jelly shoes. And, of course, radiating from the card racks is a plethora of absolutely electrifying greeting card designs!

“I honestly just find jellyfish absolutely fascinating, they have no brains, no blood, no bones. They are the oldest multi-cellular animals – surviving all five of Earth’s mass extinctions – and some of them can glow in the dark. They are also hypnotic to watch and just all-round amazing – so I made a jellyfish card design made entirely of facts about how cool they are”, enthuses Nicole Elders, founder of the eponymous card company.

With beautiful bulbous and curvaceous forms in clear or vibrant colours, flowing filaments and bioluminescent organs emitting blue or green light to deter predators and attract prey, you could call jellyfish the 70s lava lamps of the sea. Like ghostly lanterns gently palpitating across watery worlds for eons, this year’s pneumatic and mystical muse translates into translucent watery colours, vivid washes and charged shades with metallic gold foiling on jellyfish card designs.

“Being someone who enjoys capturing the allure of British marine wildlife the ‘Be Jelly’ trend takes me to the depths of my creativity!”, says artist and card publisher, Joanne Wishart. “I find fascination in the tranquility of the underwater world that jellyfish float through. In my Jellyfish greeting card I used my signature quirky style of painting to portray the ethereal and graceful qualities of the jellyfish floating underwater. As a sea swimmer I often spot them on the North-East coast and just had to capture them in my card collection!”

Jill White, director of Rocket68, whose Jellyfish card in her Sea Buddies children’s range remains a popular design, believes “people are always fascinated by jellyfish in the way they glide and their glassy texture.”

Mixed up in the jellyfish’s curvaceous and glowing visual is a thread of mindfulness and calming. Within their soothing throbbing, flowing tentacle trails and luminescent bodies lies a tranquil, transcendental quality able to subdue anxiety over global conflicts and financial uncertainty. A creature that has overcome adversity and survived for millions of years, it feels like it’s part of a bigger picture, possibly another world.

“Jellyfish have always been fascinating to me, they are true aliens on earth!”, says, Claire Senior, founder of The Curious Pancake. “They are beautiful, graceful, full of colour, and, ultimately, quite dangerous! It’s the perfect mystery mix! Also, their translucency is such a good thing to play with from a creative perspective! Long may the jellyfish trend reign! It certainly beats sloths and unicorns!”

Quivering and shimmering among the jellyfish, with anticipated celebrations and fun, are a joyful jiggle of delicious fluted and curved jelly puddings on greeting card designs this year.

At their height of popularity in the eighteenth century, jellies were the trophy foods of the era; a mouth-watering way to showcase your wealth. Gleaming in jewel colours and moulded into ornate spires of fantastical rippling confectionery, these astonishing show-stoppers are currently enjoying a renaissance.

Shuddering on social media, Instagram and Tiktok videos (check out Adventures in Jelly) featuring beautifully shaped spectacles of jelly trembling and gently oscillating have had millions of viewers fixated on the, quite provocative, jelly wobble. And, reviving the glory days of jelly and heaving with delicious gelatine-based desserts, culinary artists Bompas & Parr have launched the Benham & Froud Jelladrome (on two London sites), while talented jellymongers and aspic artists produce awesome ornamental jelly creations.

Just as delightful are dainty jelly pudding illustrations on greeting cards, the present trend a perfect piquant for party designs and festivities and complimentary to the birthday cake. “There’s a real trend for artisanal cake-baking and decorating at the moment, and delicious desserts – like fun jellies – are an extension of that. Plus they’re fun and celebratory, which people always want to see on cards”, believes Polly Harrison, co-founder of Wrap.

Not only signifying frivolity, jelly puddings also have a 70s retro vibe for many, a touch of nostalgia for childhood parties or helping make a trifle for Sunday tea, maybe nibbling a jelly cube in secret. “I used to love jelly when I was wee. Probably lime or lemon was my favourite”, reminisces Allistair Burt, founder of Hole In My Pocket.

However, along with sparking fond memories of sweet treats eaten as kids, card designers’ have thought of some wonderful jelly puns and word-play card captions such as, Have a Jelly Good Birthday, You Make Me Wibble Wobble, It’s Okay To Have Wobbles, Tis the Season to be Jelly… that can be seen on jellyfish card designs too.

“I actually drew a version of this jelly design during one of the last lockdowns but I couldn’t quite work out the wording to go with it. Initially I had intended it to be a birthday card. It was only while playing around and trying a few different ideas at the end of last year that the idea of peoples ‘wobbles’ popped into my head. I think as a society we seem to have got better at acknowledging when friends might need some encouraging words and to reach out. Hopefully a fun card allows people to do that in a light-hearted way”, explains Allistair.

So embrace the joyful jiggle this year, and Be Jelly.

Jellyfish pics

Nicole Elders’ Jellyfish design entwines facts about the fascinating invertebrate.

A jolly jellyfish cut-out on a card from The Curious Pancake.
A design from Rocket68’s Sea Buddies children’s range.

Translucent floating jellies on a Joanne Wishart card.
Gorgeous electrifying foiling on a design from The Curious Department.

Jelly Pudding Pics
A supportive jelly from Hole In My Pocket.
A joyful Jelly Girl from Eat The Moon.
Dainty and delightful, a Bellynam Studio design.
A delicious illustration by Elena Boils, produced by Wrap: Photo by Andy Price, styling by Vicky Lees.
Illustrated by Eleonora Arosio and published by Stormy Knight, a shimmering jelly design.
Brand new! A cheeky jelly by Lucy Maggie Designs.

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