Post Script: Snail Mail My Email’s Ivan Cash

When San Francisco-based artist and filmmaker Ivan Cash decided to create a project that involved handwriting emails, he figured it would be a one-time experiment. Soon, though, he had so many requests that he had to enlist the help of hundreds of volunteers around the world to help him write. In all, more than 10,000 letters were sent, and Snail Mail My Email has become an annual, week-long  event that takes place each November. If you can’t wait that long, however, the project’s letters are also available in book form. Here, Ivan talks with us about his dream Zen pen pal, in-the-moment correspondence and why including plastic dinosaur toys with your notes is pretty great.

Tell me about your snail mail project and how it came about.
I’ve always loved letter writing, but when I lived in Amsterdam during 2011, I found I was working all the time and not writing enough letters. When I quit my job just six months in, I decided I needed a project to help immerse myself back into the world of letter writing. I also wanted to use my skills in advertising to share the magic of snail mail with others.

snail mail my email letter 3

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How To: Identify a Printing Process

We often get asked the differences between the various printing processes we use to craft our stationery, especially between engraving and thermography. Of course, the best way to tell the difference is to pay a visit to your local stationer so you can feel the difference. However, below we’ve outlined all of the different processes and what makes them unique.

Engraving is the finest, most distinct form of three-dimensional “raised printing.” No other paper manufacturer offers our engraving quality, craftsmanship and level of service.

As a highly skilled craft dating back to the 16th century, engraving conveys an unspoken message of distinction and timelessness. It has a warmth and elegance all its own. Running your fingers over a piece of engraved stationery reveals the textures unique to engraving — finely detailed, raised letters with slight indentations on the reverse side of the paper. There is no substitute for true engraving.

gold-monogram-note

How it Works

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Introducing Our New Flights of Fancy Collection

Let’s soar above the clouds and look down in awe at the world below. Inspired by all things that reach for the sky, our Flights of Fancy collection features elegant two-pass engraved motifs in a carefully curated color palette that bring visual and textile brilliance to each and every handwritten correspondence.

engraved hot air balloonEngraved Hot Air Balloon: With a flamed burst, one floats upward toward the heavens. The view takes the breath away, as does this engraved card from our Flights of Fancy collection, which features our elegant hot air balloon. Perfect for the correspondent who fancies unbridled leisure and adventure alike.
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Post Script: Travis White, A Letter for Better

It all began with a touch of mailbox envy. Eyeing the handwritten letters his roommate seemed to receive on a daily basis, Travis White decided everyone should have that feeling that always accompanies receiving a letter. So he started A Letter for Better, a group of students that randomly chooses names and addresses from the White Pages and sends the unknowing recipients a handwritten letter. The organization now has 45 active members — up from just four when it began. Below, the Central Michigan University student talks to us about pens, Steve Jobs and an unexpected visit from a police officer.

travis white a letter for betterTravis White (right) with ALFB Vice President, Ashley Coners

When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
It began in my first year of college. I lived (and currently live) in the residence halls at Central Michigan University where we have mailboxes for each one of our rooms. My roommate that I lived with had a girlfriend at the time who attended an institution in Ohio. One of their major forms of communication was through letter writing, and it seemed to me like he received a letter almost every day. Since I was the one who passed the mailbox on a regular basis, I would be the one to pick up all of the mail. A couple months went by that I would open the mailbox, seeing only a letter that would be addressed to him, never seeing the words “Travis White” printed in the handwriting of someone close to me.

One day in late October/early November, we went to lunch in one of the residence halls on campus, when he received an email that was sent directly to his phone. It was from one of the front desk workers notifying him that he had a package waiting for him at the front desk of our residence hall. Being the great friend that he was and knowing that I did not receive any mail before then, he teased me about it.

Jokingly, I told him, “You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to go onto Whitepages.com, find a random address and become pen-pals with them.” It wasn’t until a couple days later that I finally received my first letter in the mail and, surprisingly, it was from my Marching Band back home. I was the Drum Major during my Junior and Senior year of High School, and my entire band wrote to tell me how much they miss me and wished that I would come back to play with them for their Homecoming.

The feeling that that letter gave me was something that I have never experienced before, so I decided to take that and turn it into an student organization. We turned my “joke” into a reality, where we literally go onto Whitepages and find random strangers to write to, simply to make them smile.
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A New Bunch Of Links

Introducing Our New Tools of the Trade Collection

Inspired by all things crafted with care and love, our Tools of the Trade collection features intricately illustrated motifs in stately hues, letterpress printed on our Lettra paper to fashion correspondence that is rich in texture beyond compare.

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Letterpress Fountain Pen Card: Think. Write. Send. Repeat. Our letterpress printed card featuring a stately pen is the perfect choice for the stationery-adoring scribe.

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Post Script: Designer John Segal

His sketching table in the New York City Crane office wasn’t even warm before our new head designer, John Segal, was tasked with bringing four new collections for our boxed line to life. Flights of Fancy features two-pass engraved motifs inspired by all things that reach for the stars; Explorers, engraved in gold on ecru stock, pays homage to the 450th birthday of Galileo; the engraved and embossed Vintage Lace is presented in a palette of vibrant hues; and Tools of the Trade is letterpress printed on our coveted Lettra paper.

Here, the avid cyclist and 4 p.m. chocolate fiend talks to us about inspiration, the joy of being delighted and why he’s particularly excited about a recent delivery from China.

john segal

Describe the person who would love these collections.
The Crane customer, in my mind, is someone who loves to be delighted. It could be by an exquisitely engraved hummingbird or a lovely gold lined envelope.
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Advice from the Expert: How to Hire a Calligrapher

A Crane wedding invitation and calligraphy go together like Bogart and Bacall. Beautiful. Classic. Timeless. For a newly engaged couple, though, calligraphy is something they haven’t thought much about, let alone know how to make an educated decision about. Luckily, our guest post today comes from Laura Di Piazza, a professional calligrapher who creates beautiful flourishes for everything from weddings to workshops.

laura di piazza

Perhaps one of the first comments many clients have made after contacting me is how difficult it was for them to research for calligraphers. Calligraphy work is low tech, in that we mainly work with paper, inks/paints and pens. So perhaps some of us do not have a strong online presence. However, I believe the main reason that it takes clients a bit of effort to find a calligrapher that suits their aesthetic preferences, timeframe and budget is simply because there are so few professional calligraphers out there.

laura di piazza calligraphyPhoto by Jakob Ott

So, how does one begin their search for a calligrapher?
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Introducing Our New Explorers Collection

When we set out to create new collections for our 2014 boxed catalog, a special date sparked an idea. This year marks the 450th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s birthday. A vision of motifs inspired by the Italian physicist/mathematician/astronomer/philosopher — engraved in gold in classic Crane style atop our thick ecru card stock — turned into reality and the Explorers collection was born.

engraved astronomer card

Engraved Astronomer Card: Be they tales of galactic proportions or tales of everyday life, our astronomer — engraved in gold — makes this card the perfect choice for the illustrious dreamer and star-gazing correspondent alike.

engraved soleil cardEngraved Soleil Card: Warm wishes — literally — accompany this card, elegantly engraved with our gold sun. Perfect for the early rising correspondent and notes from the most temperate of climes alike.

engraved globe cardEngraved Globe Card: Let’s travel the world, carry-on and cocktail in hand. Engraved in gold, our globe makes this card the perfect choice for the jet-setting and cartograph-adoring correspondent alike.

engraved stars cardEngraved Stars Card: Should it be the subject of leisurely gazing or a beloved lullaby, the star takes its place in the night sky as it does on this card — among friends and with radiance. Perfect for well wishes and the celestial soiree thank you alike.

engraved compass cardEngraved Compass Card: Should one become inspired to embark on an adventure, the trusty compass is an essential travel companion. Engraved in gold on this card, it proves the perfect choice for the globe-trotting correspondent. Engraved across the bottom “Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” — Galileo

engraved luna cardEngraved Luna Card: Be it over Miami or receiving wishes of goodnight, the moon offers quiet comfort when night blankets the sky. Engraved in gold on this card, it is the perfect choice for the night owl correspondent and soothing sentiment alike.

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