Category Archives: Letterpress

superpower_greymoggie

Letterpress  always looks so good, text and ink engrained into luscious-feeling paper. There is something really appealing about the process – setting type, inking it and printing. It’s no wonder that I adore Grey Moggie Press. Melanie, the designer behind the line, has  a great sense of humor, which comes through in her cards (see her ‘best friend’ and ‘truth’ lines). And, the series of cards devoted to snail mail won my heart immediately. In addition to being a funny, talented creative, Melanie is a mom who left her career in law to make Grey Moggie a full time gig. In short, she’s all kinds of cool.

You were studying to be a lawyer when you took a letterpress class at a local art center as a creative outlet. What was it about letterpress that drew you in?

I’ve always been a letter writer and a big fan of snail mail. During law school, I reconnected with playing with paper the way I had when I was younger. I was trying to make cards I’d want to send and I felt that I could do that with letterpress. At first it was just a way to be creative, get my hands dirty, and make a few things to send to friends and family.

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At what point did you decide to purchase your first press?

When I was pregnant with my daughter (now 4.5 years), I realized with a baby at home, it wouldn’t be as easy to get out of the house to print at the art center where I’d been working. I got a small tabletop Kelsey press. In the end, it was a misguided purchase because it’s hard to find time to print with a baby, even at home. Later I purchased a C&P 10×15 platen press that is now the workhorse in my studio. I found it on eBay and had to hire a rigging company to get it from Massachusetts into my studio at the time, a carriage house on Capitol Hill in DC.

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In addition to taking on a full time job in the field of law, you taught classes at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. What did you enjoy about teaching and the studio environment there?

My favorite thing about Pyramid Atlantic was that beginner artists and hobbyists could work alongside people who had made art a career. I loved overhearing all the big, creative ideas people were sharing while I printed. It was so different from the environment I was in all day as a law student and later when I worked in a law school.

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Please tell me a bit about the name Grey Moggie.

We want people to be excited about paper, about writing letters instead of email, about sending physical and not electronic invitations. I love the idea of sitting down at my desk on a rainy afternoon with my favorite pen, a cup of tea, and my grey cat (moggie is British slang for cat). That would be a perfect afternoon and we want everyone to feel that way about writing letters and sending mail.

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In 2012, you decided to pursue Grey Moggie full time – what led you to this decision?

I was craving flexibility in my work life when my daughter was very young. I didn’t want to be at a 9:00-5:00 job while she was just a baby so I quit and started selling cards at a weekend market here in DC. It was a great set up. I could be at home with my daughter most of the week, take an evening or two to print new work, and sell on the weekends a couple times a month. From there, the wholesale side of my business grew, and now we do more wholesale business than in-person sales events. We seem to have come full circle and I’ve adopted something closer to a 9:00-5:00 schedule recently, because it works for my family and my business right now.

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While I adore all of your cards, some of my faves are the snail mail themed ones, like ‘I Keep the Postman Busy’. Are you a letter writer? What do you enjoy about snail mail?

I love all of it! The feel of different kinds of paper, seeing a good friend or family member’s handwriting, checking the mailbox every day. I also love that getting a letter means the sender took the time to choose a card for you, sat down to write a letter, got a stamp, and walked to the mailbox or post office. It’s a level of effort that isn’t there with email or social media and it conveys love, and friendship, and caring.

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What are you working on currently?

We’re focused on a new website and branching out into non-card categories. We’ll release a new catalog in early May, and we’re really excited about a new greeting card collaboration with a local illustrator who shares our sense of humor. Look out for the new cards this spring!

 


honizukle

With Mother’s Day just weeks away, it’s time to do a round up of cards that are just right for mom, whether she’s the type of gal who prefers pretty florals, your hilarious sense of humor or being reminded just how badass she is.

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Honizukle Press (above) features seriously pretty and sweet letterpress styles, a classic stationery choice for your classy mom. Sweet Peony Press‘s gorgeous card (below) is vintage in style, a love note for mom, just as the gardener-themed F as in Frank Paper Goods card (below).

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I love the sassy sense of humor behind 417 Press.  Designer Michelle Secondi always makes me laugh with her real talk cards.

This Bench Pressed design says it like it is. Ditto for the McBitterson’s card below it.

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the world is your oyster croppedDesign Design is a stationery and gift manufacturer and distributor founded in 1987 by Don Kallil, and based in Michigan. The company, whose mission it is to connect people to people, works with artists based in the US and beyond to create an exciting range of products, including a series of gorgeous card lines (their letterpress cards and stylish journals are my personal faves), tableware, packaging and gifts. I had the chance to interview members of the creative team and to learn more about trend forecasting, the design process, and to talk snail mail.

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How do you forecast stationery trends from season to season?

Kate, Trend & Design Director: Forecasting trends can be gathered from all sorts of angles. Understanding what people bought and liked from current and past seasons is key to forecasting what people will want next. Combining lifestyle, and fashion trends with seasonal are important in our industry because consumers want what they buy to reflect their style and taste. To keep our trends forward we take all these aspects but also research patterns and trend evolution to determine where we think the wants and needs will be for the future seasons.

Colin, Product Director: Our creative team travels the world studying trends and determining which will offer the most relevance to our customers. We find inspiration in fashion, media, as well as our own friends and family. We continue to find balance as a leader in trend- being ahead of our competition while also staying in tune with current market needs.

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You work with a number of artists nationally and internationally on the creation of card designs. How do you move from idea, and design collaboration to printed product?

Tom, Senior Director of Creative: Our research starts with attending design shows in Europe, and trend shopping in Paris, London, and Germany. With the inspiration we gain, we create a trend specific design direction book. This is where we begin our product development process.

When we start working with an artist it is because we appreciate their designs and feel that their work would be a great addition to our product line. Once we connect with the artist, I give them our Artist Guidelines, which explain our products categories, seasons we’re looking for art for, and process of development. We look for trend driven or related designs that we feel would work with our design direction and diverse product categories. I personally like working with artists that are diversified in their design styles and understand the specific needs for the creation of greeting cards and product development. We discuss what I’m looking for design-wise for specific products. Once a design is chosen, we discuss our licensing and royalty program, a  contract is used with all of the artists  we work with. We request artwork files, the contract is written for each individual product we license and are going to publish. Once that is all done, with the help of our in-house design team, the licensed artwork is applied to a variety of templates to create the perfect card, tableware collection, etc.

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What is the role of a Creative Director in the design development process?

Tom: The roll of Creative Director in the design development process is to choose the correct art for from hundreds of submissions for specific product development, and to balance the product line by selecting artwork that compliments the product category per product release.

send love pic 2What is the appeal of stationery and snail mail in an increasingly digital world?

Tom: Yes, digital greeting cards are out there, but how exciting is it to go to the mailbox and receive a brightly colored, hand-addressed envelope? And, then, to open the envelope and discover a greeting card that a friend went out of their busy way to select to personally send to you, write a message or greeting in, address and stamp the envelope for, and then drop in the mailbox. How thoughtful and personal that is!

Elyse, Associate Creative Director: In an increasingly digital world, I think stationery, and greeting cards especially, have more relevance than ever. Putting pen to paper forces you to slow down and express yourself in ways that are lost through e-mail and Facebook. Handwritten notes, cards with beautiful artwork and a nice paper stock show you took the time to pick this little gift out for someone else. We may be a little biased but I can’t think of much sweeter than a card is my mailbox at the end of the day!

Colin, Product Director: We know that in our current environment of instant digital communication, physical mail and the true written word gain even more appeal and relevance. Juxtaposed with a quick text or post, a real greeting card or note, sent or hand-delivered with care, creates a special connection between the giver and receiver.

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The company logo features a butterfly-please share the reasons for this.

Colin: Our butterfly is the visual essence of our brand. The figurative and literal attributes of a butterfly embody who we are and who we strive to be everyday. Their beauty represents our drive to achieve superior artistry in our work and practices. Their variation represents the range of our product line and the solutions we provide. Their movement and migration represent how our products connect people to people, while their transformation reminds us of the power of enhancing relationships and lifting moods.

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What are you currently working on?

Elyse: We’re almost constantly working on our core line for both cards and product. We strive to keep up with the latest trends and relevant products for our customers and sales team. In addition, we have different seasonal releases sprinkled throughout the year that cause an additional challenge but a little fun to the day to day. We work almost an entire year in advance and sometimes that means developing Christmas ideas in August! We are always trying to push ourselves with new processes, new partnerships with artists whose work we really hold in high regard. The cards we’re releasing in May, right before the National Stationery Show in NY, are such a fun, eclectic mix. In addition to those, we have some amazing things in store for our biggest core release in November!

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Design Design was founded in 1987 by Don Kallil, a stockbroker turned entrepreneur. What about the greeting card industry appeals to the team at Design Design?

Elyse: I think what we are all drawn to in this company is that we create products that connect people to people. We live and breathe this concept in all areas of our company and I think this is a huge part of why Don started Design Design in the first place. We think about the people who are receiving our cards from their loved ones on their birthday or when they need a pick-me-up. We envision the families that host parties with our paper tableware or the gifts a grandmother might be wrapping for all her grandkids with our gift packaging products. It’s a really unique challenge and wonderful opportunity we have as a social expressions company to spend our days helping to foster these connections between individuals.

Design Design will be at the National Stationery Show in New York this May, at booth number 2420. You can follow along on Instagram. And, you can enter a Mother’s Day contest for a chance to win $50 of Design Design merchandise, by clicking here.

 


dearhancocok_easterbunny

My new snail mail loving friend Rhea (@devoteddiarist) has committed to 366 days of letter writing. I’m cheering her on in her endeavor and drawing inspo from her for this post – she has declared it ‘bunny week’, so it’s all about rabbit-themed stationery.

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Dear Hancock Paper Goods features a series of cards dedicated to bunnies, holding items from maracas to tools, and wearing fashions including a beret, cape, and ugly holiday sweater. Don’t carrot for bunnies? There are loads of other hand drawn cards that you’ll love!

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Paula & Waffle has a line of bunny cards, and they make me super hoppy to send out. Whimsical and sweet, these cards are designed and assembled with love.

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Warren Tales is a unique stationery line, that features witty cards, designed by snail mail lover, Lindsey.

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Love letterpress and paper awesomeness? Hello!Lucky is for you. These purveyors of stationery offer up bright, fun, hand-lettered and drawn cards that are punny and gorgeously designed.

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Blackbird Letterpress features a great series of die-cut animal  gift cards. This rabbit is all set to hold a special note, photo or a gift card.

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greenbird_chocolateGreen Bird Press

I more or less still believe in the Easter Bunny, because chocolate. Any holiday that involves hunting for chocolate goodness is okay by me. And, I can never pass up a reason to send a card! Here is a round up of some of my Easter letterpress faves.

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Farewell Papery

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Grey Moggie Press

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Ink Meets Paper

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Missive wegomoo_bunny Cow Goes Moo

Kiss and Punch Designs

 


youaremyjam

Back in 2014, my New Year’s resolution was to write a letter/send a card every day of the year. It turns out that sending paper correspondence is habit forming, and I continued throughout 2015. With another year upon us, I find myself  putting pen to paper each day, writing letters to penpals, family and friends, and sending paper greetings to mark special occasions. It goes without saying that I hoard paper products have a stash of cards on-hand at all times. Here’s a round up of some of my fave letterpress cards.

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Little Goat Paper Co.

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Chez Gagne Letterpress

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Wayfare Press

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Dear Lola Letterpress

 

 


IG post_postcardsRifle Paper Co.notebook & pencils, Sideshow Press x Parker & Otis Durham postcard, vintage Chimney Rock postcard from Holder

Last week took me to Durham, NC for a mini getaway and a friend’s wedding. The weather was bliss (compared to cooler Canadian temperatures) and there was much to explore…including some sweet little shops with some well-curated stationery offerings.

awesome_shedshed_thismademethinkofyouShed Letterpress

A trip to visit the art collection at 21C Museum Hotel Durham was impressive, with an exhibition called Seeing Now, featuring photography, video, sculpture and paintings. Site specific installation pieces, including the signature fuchsia penguin sculptures can be found throughout the hotel. It was here that I discovered a local stationery line called Shed Letterpress. This design studio was founded by local Sarah Almond in 2010. Cards are stylish and vintage, mid-century inspired. Speaking of mid-century, The Durham Hotel is just a few streets over, and offers up a rooftop patio. It’s all style, and its cocktail menu pays homage to the post office next door with a concoction called Airmail – yum!

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Hammerpress postcard, Videri chocolate

While on a mission to find postcards, I came across a lovely gallery/shop in Raleigh, Holder Goods & Crafts. In addition to carrying some seriously cool vintage North Carolina postcards, Holder features artworks on its walls, and vintage and handmade goods.

Parker and OtisBack in Durham, I came upon Parker & Otis, which was a real treat. Besides being home to a cafe and sandwich counter, this shop offers up loads of gift items, and a fantastic stationery selection. It was a seriously blissful experience with designs from loads of my favorites, including Rifle Paper Co., Red Cap Cards, Moglea, Paper Jam Press, Sideshow Press, Hammerpress, Snow & Graham and more.

rifleDolly’s Vintage also offers up a great selection of stationery, carrying lines like Banquet Atelier & Workshop, a. favorite design, Wiley Valentine, Handmade by Allison Cole and Night Owl Paper Goods. This shop is definitely worth the visit!

The Bull City is home to a burgeoning art scene, craft breweries and lots of good eats – it’s definitely worth a visit!

 

 

 


Hartland Brooklyn You Rock

I can’t believe the Thanksgiving/Christmas/Hanukkah/New Years holidays are over and January is coming to a close so soon. I feel as if I was just navigating through the end-of-the-year holiday months. Not to worry though, because that means another one of my favorite holidays, Valentine’s Day, is fast approaching. Valentine’s Day cards brings the best out in so many of my favorite shops because it’s a holiday that we can have fun whether single or attached! Not to mention who does’nt appreciate a good pun! These are just some I adore:

{First Image via Hartland Brooklyn}

La Familia Be MimeLa Familia Greengotamagogotamago You're the One Pho MegotamagoFat Bunny Press Love Note CityFat Bunny PressInk Meets Paper So Glad I Found You Letterpress CardInk Meets Paper


A few weeks ago, after feeling a bit defeated in “start-up land,” I saw Eric of Spofford Press post one of his new letterpress prints from their summer collection and immediately felt inspired. There are many reasons Spofford Press stood out to me, among them being from the Northeast (just like me!). They continually create unique and fun letterpress cards and prints, all hand-drawn and printed on thick cotton paper with hand-mixed ink. Being in the start-up community myself, I can always appreciate a company that matches their creativity to how passionate they are with their work.

You can check out more of their note card sets, prints and new releases throughout the months on their site here!

Spofford Press You Got This

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Ship In A Bottle

Jimmy Smithimages via Spofford Press


Hartland Brooklyn Summer Letterpress Greeting Card

It’s officially summer and what a better way to celebrate than by sending a fun summer greeting card to your loved ones. Especially with the ones up north! Typically, I don’t think to send summer greetings, but after this winter I thought my friends and family could use it. I was even more surprised to find so many fun summer letterpress card options as I did. Some of my favorite shops had the same idea with these lovely cards below.

{first image via Hartland Brooklyn}

Hartland Brookland Summer Letterpress Card

 {via Hartland Brooklyn}

Two Guitars Summer Letterpress Card

{via Two Guitars}

Rise and Shine Letterpress Summer Letterpress Card

 {via Rise and Shine Letterpress}

Rise and Shine Letterpress Summer Card

 {via Rise and Shine Letterpress}

Pepper Press Summer Letterpress Card

{via Pepper Press}