Uncategorized

Product Hacks

Just because it’s called a “Growth Chart” doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a wedding sign. Or a shop banner that says “SALE”. Or just really cool wall art.

Vertical banner with ribbon and dowel for hanging. Custom printed on canvas.

And if you haven’t ordered stickers yet, you might be missing a big opportunity. They are crazy inexpensive with your wholesale discount and the print quality rocks. Here are a few ways that creative peeps have been using them.

And don’t even get me started with rolled wrapping paper options! It’s a big, long (72″ x 30″) piece of paper and you can order just one roll with your design on it. It’s perfect for signage, put it on a table for a themed event and of course, wrap stuff with it 🙂

Our DIY sheets can be used any way you want. Create an art print, or an event sign. Or load up your table number signs onto one sheet and we can cut them or you can cut them. Design an organic shape and include a trim line for yourself. Do whatever you want, you’re the designer 😉

Resources for Creative Business Owners

Running your own business is pretty great. You get to call the shots, choose the people you work with, and do the kind of work that makes you proud. You also get to be the accountant, the project manager, the janitor, the IT person, and the sales person. That’s a lot of freaking hats to balance on one head that really just wants to create beautiful things. Good thing you have all that grit.

Here’s what I know about running your own joint: it can only grow if you can let some things go and get help where you need it. There are things that are wholly dependent on you (goal setting, building a culture and team for example) and there are things best left to professionals so you can focus on what you need to do to conquer the world.

There are some excellent resources out there, following are some of my favs:

Creative at Heart Conference – it’s a conference but the educators behind the event offer year round resources for all things Creative Entrepreneur. The founders are totally our people.

Biz Birthday Bash – a super duo with a brilliant podcast and resources for “Making Biz Strategy a Piece of Cake for Paper People.” They have some free resources and some you can buy, including an A to Z directory of providers.

Lisa Congden – if you want to hone your craft or learn something new from an amazing illustrator/designer, check out these classes. You can also listen to The Lisa Congden Sessions on Apple Podcasts. I’m a major LC fangirl, she’s a boss.

Steve Morris – an agency builder, a brand aficionado and next level thinker in our industry. I have the privilege of calling him a friend and mentor and I never get tired of reading his writing about creating a beautiful business and brand. This links to his blog if you’re looking for inspiration from a giant in the branding field.

David Baker – a consultant and guru to creative firms. I hired him a thousand years ago to analyze my agency and help me fix it. He did, to the tune of over $150,000 of additional revenue the following year without hiring more people or working more hours. He’s a somewhat surly, no BS smarty who has helped thousands of creative firms realize their potential. Go to the insights section of his website, I promise you’ll learn something there.

LinkedIn/Learning – If you haven’t spent much time on LinkedIn, you may not know that have TONS of excellent courses in business, design, illustration, and whatever else you want to learn. You can start with a free month and if you want to continue you’ll have to sign up for the $19.99 monthly subscription fee. I learned some mad Photoshop and Premiere Pro tricks through LI.

StationeryHQ.com – if you need something printed and shipped straight to your customer, because, duh.

Wedding Paper Trends for 2021

2020 brought us a new product called a Change the Date, which really sucked for everybody involved. The good news is that weddings will make a comeback in 2021 and we’re here for the personal vibe that’s trending. Industry experts like The Knot are calling 2021 the year for Micro Weddings. That’s a small, more personal event but a big celebration with new and old traditions we love.

What does this mean for wedding stationery designers? It means a great opportunity to use customized design in your invitation suites, signage, favors and whatever else you create using your big ideas and our custom printing processes. And remember to login or create an account for wholesale pricing for creative pros.

This #10 flat card is elegant on a plate OR in tucked into a napkin.

Or choose our 6″ Round Die Cut for your menu for a little whimsy.

Keep in mind that with smaller crowds at weddings, it’s easier than ever to add designer touches and personalized paper accents. Brides and grooms will love the pieces that reflect them and their relationships. Look for more whimsy, humor and intimacy in wedding design for 2021. And don’t forget about sustainable paper, that will be important to your clients. We currently carry Recycled Cotton T-Shirt (actually mad from…wait for it… recycled t-shirts), Bamboo, Hemp and 100% Smooth Post Consumer Waste in most sizes and products.

Here’s to love and celebrating in 2021 – cheers!

In a Designer’s Head: Cutting Through the White Noise to Get to the White Space

I’m pretty certain that I speak for many of us in the creative profession when I say that we have A LOT going on inside our heads. We are the rare breed who engage our right and left brains concurrently, which means we are dreaming up things that have never been seen at the same we are creating a a perfect grid with which to align every single element on a page. We are constantly distracted by unexpected colors and textures at the same time we are noticing a pattern of lines in a busy intersection. We’re wishing the menu had better typography while we’re debating whether we need more protein or more dark leafy greens for lunch.

I will never have enough notebooks/sketchbooks to record all of my big ideas. These are just the books I can see without getting up from my desk.

To be honest, it’s exhausting. That’s why all designers worth their salt are totally addicted to coffee. Like if the Zombie Apocalypse happens and we have to quickly gather survival supplies, it goes 1. COFFEE 2. Everything Else.

But I digress. The upside of all of this activity in our noggins is that we are energized by it just as much as we are exhausted by it. We fall into the “Easily Amused” category because we are surprised and delighted by creativity, in all its glorious forms. It makes life more fun. It means we can often find the upside or the solution when it appears that there are only obstacles.

I have to manage the funhouse that is my head. When it’s time to say, write a blog post without going off topic, I very deliberately set the stage. It looks like this:

  • Write “Blog Post” at the top of my left aligned list
  • Take care of any easy To Dos (answer the quick email, unload the dishwasher)
  • Reheat my coffee (for the 3rd time)
  • Turn the ringer off
  • Close extraneous windows on my computer

After all that, there’s like a 70% chance that I won’t get distracted. I started this post yesterday, btw. But I had to take a break to play with the dog. And then I got thirsty. And then I saw a funny tweet and couldn’t stop laughing and forgot all about this post.

I don’t think the rest of the world understands how special a person has to be to have this much going on in their head and still figure out what the client really wants, be original, communicate clearly, meet every deadline, run a business and be a decent human. I’m not saying we’re unicorns. But have you ever seen a designer and a Unicorn in the room at the same time? Ok, I’m totally saying we’re unicorns.

 

Blush and Gold Wedding Papers

IMG_0216

Waste Not Luxe Blush Envelope lined with engagement photo

We were lucky enough to have two of our kids get married in the last year and a half and this time the bride had a vision of a romantic blush wedding with a dash of sparkle and a ton of fun.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The invitation was double thick with matte gold foil. This is a custom order since I included two different processes. Because I am high maintenance.

I used our Art Print option for the signs. The easel sign is 18 x 24 mounted on foamcore. The Guest Book and Unplugged Ceremony signs are 11 x 14 to fit in standard frames.

The wedding day was hot as Hades and we didn’t want our guests’ flyness to melt so we did last minute misters (with lavender, cuz we are cool like that) and since I’m a designer I really needed the little bottles to look cute and not… last minute. So I printed 3″ round labels (because rectangles are way harder to line up on 180 bottles) and we made fans out of  Flat A9 Cards.

IMG_6060

There was no printing involved in this photo, but isn’t my son so handsome? The bride is pretty cute too.

Our flat foil variable data place cards were perfect for this look. We included a menu which was silly because the guests didn’t have a choice. I created 10 original menus (and printed 20 of each) that included a joke and fortune in case the peeps at the table needed an icebreaker. #10 Flat Cards with rounded corners were perfect to insert in the blush linens. This was a huge hit with our guests.

IMG_3647

That’s me and Mr. StationeryHQ smooching on the right. Wish I could do my own wedding all over again, good thing I have one more kid to go… see more of our guest book options and wedding supplies here.

 

Color matching our new Merlot envelopes

We’re now offering Merlot envelopes on StationeryHQ! This color is hot right now, especially for the upcoming wedding season. They’re currently available in printed A7 and blank A7, but we may add more sizes down the road.

We know matching colors between envelopes and your printed pieces can be tricky, so we ran a test on our 120# Uncoated Accent Opaque. 34C 81M 50Y 55K seems to be the closest color to match these bad boys.

Colors will vary depending on paper selection. For example, if you use a cream stock, the color you choose will look more yellow, as it is absorbed into the paper. So if you want your ink to look like the Merlot envelope, you would need to pull back on the yellow in your CMYK formula. Running a test print on the paper of your choice is always a good idea before printing your final project to make sure it looks A-OK!

The Craft Paper Look for Less

IMG_3873

The bride loved the sweet look of craft paper for an outdoor winery wedding but only needed 60 invitations and really wanted to keep a tight budget for invitations. We used Natural Savoy Cotton for a nice textured finish, very similar to craft. Most of our flat cards come on Natural Savoy and the envelopes are a perfect match. To create the small hang tags, I used a 4Bar card and set up the files with two cards that I could cut down after printing 30 originals. Tags_Front

I ran a DIY test print with various craft paper photos to make sure that the color was right and it really looked like craft (to non-designers who wouldn’t inspect the edge of the card to see if it was legit).

This solution is not for the purist, but it’s perfect for a quick turnaround, very affordable white-ink-on-craft-paper-look wedding suite.

IMG_3871

storybook wedding

When the daughter of a printer and a designer gets married, there’s gonna be some cool paper involved. As a designer, I’ve created lots of lovely wedding suites over the years but never felt the kind of pressure I put on myself for my daughter’s invitation. She wanted it to be happy and bright and incorporate sunflowers.

DIY

Test printed on a DIY single sheet, ran a few shades of yellow and navy to make sure I had it right.

Invite

A7 Navy Envelope with liner, Custom Gatefold wrap

FullSizeRender-1

Used the inside of Gatefold for reception info, website, etc. 

At the end of the day, all that really matters is that the Bride and Groom are in love and their guests’ happiness showered them with sunshine.

Do you need custom sizes in small quantities? We got you.

We know how designers like to create original everything so now we have an option for that. If you want a non-standard size in a flat, one-sided format in small quantities, our new DIY Sheet with Cutting is for you. DIY

Here’s how to set up files in Illustrator:

  1. Create a 12″ x 18″ document, either landscape or vertical.
  2. Add guides for the print area: 11.5″ x 17″
  3. Create artwork in desired sizes and fit into print area, place all pieces at 90 degree angles, we cannot cut odd angles.
  4. Make a square or rectangle in the size you want, select it, then go to Objects > Create Trim Marks.
  5. If you have color or images that bleed off the edge, expand them to go at least .125″ beyond the trim marks.

Tip: Leave at least a 3/4″ between pieces for best results.

Minimum: 25 sheets, $1.77 per sheet (if you have a wholesale account)DIY_after

DIY Sheets with Cutting is a great option for a set of odd sized cards, wedding place cards, custom sized postcards, disposable coasters and whatever else you creative types can come up with.