Sea & Lake Paper Co. is the Toronto, Canada-based duo, Alicia and Christina. Their cards are quirky and fun, featuring hand lettering and illustrations as well as smile-inducing sentiments. With dozens of designs in their line, there is truly something for every occasion (including an apology for hanger, which I keep on hand at pretty much all times, unless I’ve got food in hand). In May, Sea & Lake released a new collection, featuring 12 Cards for Allies. These cards are about inclusivity and supporting members of the LGBTQ community, with sentiments that show love and encouragement (‘this doesn’t change anything – you are always you’). These cards let their recipients know that someone is in their corner and celebrate being yourself. I had the pleasure of asking Alicia a few questions about Sea & Lake and the creation of Cards For Allies.
How do you work collaboratively during the creative process and beyond?
Our brainstorming process varies, but our most tried and true method is I hand Christina a notebook and say “write some *whatever category we currently need* cards for me, please” and Christina writes about 20 different cards, of which usually at least a couple are then edited for flow, etc. I sketch and digitize the design. Our printing is finally being outsourced, but we spend lots of time in front of the TV with beers and stacks of cards to package. This process sounds way more organized and segregated than it actually is, as there’s a lot of crossover in all areas – sometimes I come up with a funny phrase for the front of the card, sometimes Christina picks the color scheme – the process tends to be pretty fluid and changes from design to design. The only thing Christina never does is draw…because she can’t (if she could, I’d definitely let her).
What made you decide to create your new card line – Cards for Allies?
It was just an awareness of the complete lack of anything like this in the market currently. We also just had a couple occasions (my brother just had his gender identity changed on his government documents, and we had a friend get top surgery) where we totally could have used cards, but had absolutely nothing. It’s also a topic that is incredibly meaningful to us, and we really went about it with the thought that if just a few of the young adults in the LGBTQ community that are feeling alone receive these cards and feel even remotely less isolated, then we’ve created something worthwhile.
Honestly, a lot of it was quite simple. We created these cards the same way we do the rest of our work – we come up with things we would either want to receive on a card, or things we want to say but have a hard time verbalizing. Part of the line was really inspired by when my brother came out to me. At the time, the two of us weren’t very close and had a hard time talking about things, but I so would have loved to have a card that put into words the support I wanted to provide him.
What are your hopes for the Cards for Allies?
You know, it’s hard to say that you want your cards to be available to anyone and everyone that needs support or encouragement without sounding ridiculous, but that’s really the goal with these. We want them to be seen and shared and accessible, but if they help just one friend/teacher/co-worker/parent/sibling to say ‘this doesn’t change anything’ or ‘I’m trying, but I sometimes mess up,’ that would be enough. We’re also in the process of partnering with a non-profit that provides support to the LGBTQ community, to donate a portion of past and future profit from sales of the Cards for Allies.