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PICKING UP THE (PUZZLE) PIECES

Puzzles get a modern makeover

While many have turned to puzzles for entertainment during quarantine, this isn’t the only time puzzle sales have surged in the U.S. Indeed, jigsaw puzzles have been growing in popularity, and revenue in the puzzle segment has reached $643 million in 2020. Now, brands are putting the pieces together and giving these brain teasers a modern makeover, including featuring Millennial artists and imagery of today’s most eminent pop-culture trends.

JIGGY

As millions shelter at home during the current Covid-19 pandemic, puzzles are flying off the shelves. Puzzles from Jiggy, a Millennial-targeting, direct-to-consumer puzzle startup, are no exception. Jiggy differentiates its offerings by featuring works from female artists (who are scoped via art shows, print sites, and Instagram) on its elevated and aesthetically-gorgeous puzzles. Jiggy licenses an artist’s work for its jigsaw puzzles and gives the artists a percentage of each sale. For puzzle hobbyists who are interested in keeping their finished product as a piece of art (which it technically is), each set includes puzzle glue to adhere the pieces into a frame-worthy piece.

AREAWARE

Areaware broke the puzzle mold with its challenging and non-traditional technicolor gradient puzzles. These colorful sets come in a range of sizes (from 100 pieces to 1000), making them great for puzzle enthusiasts of all levels, and especially for those who desire a design outside of the folksier puzzle repertoire. Areaware’s latest puzzle creations are bite-sized designs (including a Cheeze Puff and a beautiful bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen) that are meant to be completed in 20 minutes or less and can also be purchased in Areaware’s thematic puzzle packs.

THE VERY GOOD PUZZLE COMPANY

The Very Good Puzzle Company, an Athens, Georgia-based puzzle startup, provides a refreshing and local spin on thousand-piece puzzle sets. The online company sells jigsaw puzzles featuring art from local Athens artists, giving puzzle hobbyists the chance to learn about and explore new artists in a more accessible and affordable format (the brand’s sets retail for only $24). Very Good Puzzle offers applicants the chance to feature their art on its puzzles with its “Call For Art” online submission box, where artists of all skill levels can submit their own work to be considered for a puzzle set. Once selected, the artist receives long-term and on-going royalties from each sale.