Featured Designer: Allison Black of Hip-Hip

I kind of want Allison Black to be my new BFF because she’s a super talented designer, an animal lover, and uses her artwork to support good causes. Also, she once built a 5′ unicorn named Herman. Allison is awesomeness all-around, and so is her new line of greeting cards, Hip-Hip! You may recognize Allison’s illustrations from her previous stationery line Hooray Today, a collaboration with designer Alyssa Nassner. Allison’s designs are vibrant, fun and cheerful, oft featuring animals in party hats. Hip-Hip features rich, bright color palettes, hand lettering and sweet, celebratory illustrations. Your designs are happiness on paper. Please tell me a bit about your creative process.

I’ve tried so many processes over the years, but no matter how I approach a project my best work happens when I’m not over-thinking it!  I always start with loose sketches, usually on scrap paper, so I don’t feel anxious about just going for it.  Once I have a concept that I’m excited about, I look up images of the animal and take note about their shapes, details and colors so I can keep that in mind while I work.  After that, I go straight into final art!  If I do tight sketches, it loses something when I transfer it into the computer.  The art evolves a lot as I work in Photoshop – I have a million layers in my files! I like that animals and celebration (and often a combo of the two) are oft featured in your designs – your cards are smile-inducing. Tell me a little a bit about your love of animals and any pets you have or hope to have. 

My dad and sister are veterinarians and I grew up in a house with 18 pets.  Needless to say, we’re an animal-loving family!  We make up voices and personalities for our animals, so transferring that into art comes naturally.  Right now my husband and I have two dogs, two guinea pigs and a cat.  I hope to one day live on a big piece of property where we can have chickens, goats and a pig or two! What would be a dream creative project or collaboration for you?

My dream collaboration would be with the Land Of Nod.  I’d love it if they asked me to create a cast of characters and products for them to produce.  I’ve been in product design for over seven years, but I’m always asked to develop items for someone elses brand.  I’d love the chance to explore Hip-Hip characters in different product categories outside of stationery.  Right now the Land of Nod is selling some of our art prints from Hooray Today, so who knows – maybe it’ll happen! What appeals to you about stationery? 

Stationery is a great medium in which to share art.  When I was younger, I made hand-drawn thank you and birthday cards for my friends and family.  I always enjoyed the process of making art and giving it to somebody, so it’s amazing to be able to do that on a much larger scale now!  I also love that the items people buy from my shop not only travel to that person, but then they send it someone else.  My cards have traveled farther than I have!

What stationery item or related item couldn’t you live without?

Probably my Dahle sliding cutter! It may seem like an odd choice but I’ve had it for 5 years now and I use it to trim cards, journal packaging…you name it!  The second thing would be this insanely huge list pad I got as a development sample.  There was an error with the size, but it’s amazing because I have SO many lists and it’s actually big enough for me!  I might develop something similar for Hip-Hip next year!


You’re donating $5 from every order placed through December 25th to the farm Sanctuary. Please tell me a bit more about this. 

My parents taught me that it’s important to give back to those that are less fortunate and also to give a voice for those that don’t have one.  I’ve done a lot of charitable work, but I’ve always wanted to make a bigger impact – including educating others about the efforts of amazing groups like Farm Sanctuary.  When I started making initial plans to build Hip-Hip, utilizing the brand to give back was a top priority and Farm Sanctuary is an incredible organization, recognized for utilizing their resources and making a big impact with every dollar they receive.  We’re hoping by the end of our campaign, we’ll be able to sponsor a Hip-Hip chicken for a year!  Plus, have you seen photos on their site of their rescued pigs?  Adorable! Please complete this sentence: Snail mail is….

Snail mail is…a way to send a smile to friends and family!

Anything that you want to share that I’ve not asked about?

Here are a few fun facts about me:
1. I’ve drawn more cats than any other animal throughout my career – and I still love drawing them!
2. I built a 5′ tall cardboard unicorn (named Herman) for a show in Minneapolis a few years ago and he barely fit in my car.
3. I’ve owned guinea pigs since I was five and I’ve had 18 of them over the years!  My two current piggies are named Bean and Earl.

Want to win a sweet holiday giveaway? Check Instagram for more details about the Hip-Hip giveaway!


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