Does anyone else feel like we’re living in the Golden Age of card making? There are so many talented card makers out there these days. Be it reviving old printing techniques, showcasing stunning artistic skillz, or making us laugh with their humorous observations on relationships, life in the 21st century and/or common human experiences, we’re convinced that this is either a “Golden Age,” or at least a major renaissance.
This extraordinary bounty of amazing cards made it extremely easy for us to launch our near weekly ‘Mail it Monday’ giveaways - on most Mondays on Instagram, we give away a fantabulous greeting card that for some reason (or reasons!) tickles our fancy. We thought it would be a nifty way to showcase at least some of the brilliant card makers out there, simultaneously complementing the mission of our web app, to make folks’ gift giving more efficient and more successful. Most of us tuck a card in with our gifts and so it seemed like a pretty natural fit.
Following is a round-up of ten card makers that have appeared in our giveaways (some of them several times) because we’re fans of theirs and want to spread the word about their work. A good card can be a gift in its own right, bringing a smile or conveying a loving message. Whether you are looking for the perfect standalone card, or for a card to accompany a gift, we think you’ll do well to check out these printers and card makers (listed in alphabetical order):
Clap Clap Design - Mimi Kim is the cardmaking wizard behind Clap Clap, offering a wide range of cards for different occasions. That said, what first brought her work to our attention was a truly unique offering in the greeting card universe: scented cards. On the front of this botanically-oriented line, you’ll find a beautiful illustration of a flower, or a sprig of a tree or other plant. Inside is a blank space for you to write your message and a “fragrance chip.” The chip is imbued with the essential oil of whatever is depicted on the front of the card and comes in a little plastic cover. Once you have written your card and it’s ready to send, take the fragrance chip out of its protective wrap and insert it into your card. Et voilà, when your recipient opens it, they will be met with a lovely scent, accompanying your handwritten message! Pretty special, no?
Emily McDowell Studio - If you’re struggling to find a card that aptly expresses what you’re feeling, check out Emily McDowell’s cards. Ms. McDowell and her team are on a quest to speak, “a truth about relationships in a way that wasn’t yet represented in Greeting Card World.” They aim to make “cards for the relationships we actually have, not the ones we wish we had.” In 2013, when the company launched, it had a staff of one: Ms. McDowell, drawing and writing in her bedroom. Her work immediately hit a nerve (or many nerves!) and resonated with folks the world over, tapping into feelings and emotions felt by many that had not yet been represented in card form. If you have something specific to say, something a bit non-traditional to express and/or are a fan of witticism and humor with a dash of sass, do check out this line of cards.
Hello Happiness Card Co. - “The snuggle is real.” That was the message on the front of the first Hello Happiness card that caught our eye. Paired with a lovely (and adorable) illustration of two koalas cuddling, it was a humdinger, perfect for a Valentine or a special someone on any day of the year. Hello Happiness was founded by Jenny and Josh Solar. On their company’s website, they write: “we believe our words are a powerful force of encouragement. We believe we can use our words to show up for those we love with compassion, empathy and understanding.” Perhaps this is why we feel a strong “glass half full” vibe emanating from the vast majority of their cards and why their range of “love cards” especially resonates, with to-the-point messages that are pretty much guaranteed to generate some warm and fuzzy feelings, not to mention the eye-catching illustrations that invariably accompany those messages.
Loyal Supply Co. - Kimberly and Ryan Habbyshaw (and their dog, Huckleberry) are the dynamic duo behind Loyal Supply Co., located just up the street from us in Somerville, MA. They sell objects for the home, office and studio, stocking their shelves with items sourced from others and designed in house, including a range of greeting cards that are hand printed on their own letterpress. Their selection isn’t huge but it’s eminently classy, showcasing beautiful colors, punchy messages and clever design work. It was a card designed by Monique Aimee that first brought Loyal Supply Co. cards to our attention, a card that bore the message, “we go together like peanut butter and Fluff.” Fluff is a marshmallow spread that originated in Massachusetts and is one half of a regional sandwich classic, the Fluffernutter (yep, peanut butter and Fluff). Needless to say, for us this card resonated. This card has since sold out but we refer you to Ms. Aimee’s gorgeous birthday cards. As well, dog lovers looking for a dose of elegance may well revel in Loyal Supply Co.’s range of canine cards - and, for those looking to send a word of encouragement, stunningly printed in jewel-like colors, look no further.
Nelson Line - Nelson Line prints and distributes The New Yorker’s cards, so, not exactly a small operation, but one that we think is worth highlighting for its sheer range of humorous cards, drawing, as it does, on such an extensive (and rich) library of cartoons. From what we’ve seen, it seems as though the cards are printed on some kind of rotation (i.e. some of the cards we’ve purchased in the past are no longer available, while new ones occasionally crop up). In this context, we advise you to snag any of their cards that make you chuckle while you can. Worry about who you’re going to send it to afterwards - based on experience, we suspect that won’t be a problem. We’ve found it’s often handy to have a laugh-inducing card to hand for spur-of-the-moment note writing and/or gift giving.
Quick Brown Fox Letterpress - Props to Instagram for helping us to discover Kate Murray’s Brooklyn based printing operation. Ms. Murray has an impressive printing pedigree. Not only did she study printmaking at the Pratt Institute (where she received her BFA), but she has spent time working in various professional letterpress operations in New York City. When the opportunity arose to salvage and restore two presses dating from the 19th and early 20th century, she jumped at the chance, launching her own print shop, and Quick Brown Fox was off and running. Admirers from afar, we are ever-impressed by Ms. Murray’s entrepreneurial verve, but even more so by the fine quality of her work - the beautiful colors she uses, and the clear precision and care involved in the printing of each and every one of her designs. Her cards are personally printed by hand, one-by-one and it is presumably this personal supervision of process that makes for such fine attention to detail. If you are looking to send a message that exudes elegant simplicity, printed by a true artist and standard bearer of the letterpress printing renaissance, look no further than Ms. Murray’s beautiful and witty work. P.s. pun lovers will be richly rewarded when they check out her card selection!
Sapling Press - Lisa Krowinski is the brains and talent behind this range of super funny letterpress printed cards. She was working as a graphic designer in Baltimore when she fell in love with the process of letterpress printing, launching Sapling Press in 2003. Her process involves drafting potential cards and then surveying folks in her studio to find out which resonate and provoke the most laughs, with only the funniest making it through to a final printing. We’ve selected several Sapling Press cards for our giveaways because they invariably manage to make us chuckle, titter, teehee and/or laugh out loud (one of our top criteria for card selection!). PSA: definitely expect to see more of Ms. Krowinski’s cards featured in our giveaways going forward.
Scribble & Daub - Scribble & Daub’s cards are made in a two-step process. First, they are letterpress printed - then, they are hand painted by the wonderfully artistic and talented Caroline Kent. Again, we can thank Instagram for helping us find another fantastic artist and, even though Ms. Kent is located in the UK, we were so impressed with her work that we placed an order for a whole slew of her lovely cards. Our selection duly arrived a short while later, beautifully parceled up, happily making a rainy a little bit brighter. We love the gorgeous colors of the paints Ms. Kent uses, colors that truly pop when you see them in person (there’s clearly a difference in having something hand-painted!). Moreover, her cards are eminently versatile as they don’t have any pre-written messages. Whether you invent your own holidays, make up your own things to celebrate, or stick to the classics, like birthdays and wedding anniversaries, you’ll find she offers a whole slew of elegant options.
Seltzer Goods - Originally founded in NYC but now based in Asheville, NC, the Seltzer Goods team doesn’t just print cards, they “create tools for modern living,” be it hats, mugs, pens, tote bags and more. What brought these creative folks to our attention, however, was a decidedly 21st century card that declared, “you’re my boo,” accompanied by an adorable image of a ghost proffering a heart. Perhaps you remember the card from our special Valentine’s Day ‘Mail it Monday’ giveaway? It was then that we were prompted to check out Seltzer Goods’ full range of offerings on their website and were impressed by the range and caliber of graphic design skills on display. Seltzer Goods’ cards are well worth checking out if you are looking for a visually impactful card, are a fan of gorgeous colors and, maybe, just maybe, enjoy the occasional pun! 😉
Verrier Handcrafted - To be perfectly frank, we’re not usually into cards with glitter on them, but for Verrier cards from New York City, we absolutely make an exception. If you’re going to use glitter, this is how it should be done. Verrier cards feature original illustrations by Ashleigh Verrier and are hand painted with neon highlights to make each design “pop.” Then, glue is applied (also by hand) with a fine tip and a dash of glitter. (We’re imagining it being thrown on Salt Bae style but, of course, we could be wrong - that might get more than a little messy!) What we love most of all though are the pithy statements the cards invariably make. They manage to encapsulate the kinds of things you’d like to say to someone in a few, well chosen, slightly sassy words. Statements such as, “champagne is always the answer,” “she is a rare bird,” or “don’t be like the rest of them, sweetheart” are typical. Check out Verrier’s cards to add some sparkle - both literal and metaphorical - to your correspondence.
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