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.
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.
Where did you draw inspiration from for these collections?
Inspiration is everywhere. You never know where an idea will sneak up on you — you could be walking through the park or visiting a museum. I also collect odd scraps of paper — tickets, stamps, receipts, labels. Nothing makes me happier than rummaging through an old, well-stocked office supply or stationery store.
Tell me about your design process.
It’s hard to say exactly when the design process begins. At some point the fun stuff (collecting) ends and the work (design, still fun, though) begins. Samples, scraps and assorted swipe need to be organized and codified. Ultimately, they make their way onto mood boards — actual 18×24 poster boards — that function in a similar way to a Pinterest board. I use Pinterest, too, to grab stuff off the web. Trends, themes and styles are identified, and then, collectively, a design direction is chosen.
I know they’re all your children, but do you secretly have a favorite collection?
The Explorers Collection. I think it’s quintessentially Crane — a perfect mix of theme, art and execution.
Tools of the Trade pays homage to the love of the craft, whatever one’s may be. Tell me about your most cherished “tool.”
I’m intensely connected to all sorts of writing implements, from a Swiss made Caran d’Ache lead holder that I’ve owned since art school, to my newest eBay find — a $3 fountain pen from China that writes as all as a Mont Blanc!
To whom do you most often write?
I make a point of dropping a note or two into the mail almost every day to friends, associates and, most often, my two grown children.
What’s the most memorable note you’ve ever received?
That’s easy. A note from the art buyer at The New Yorker. The note said that they were holding six of my drawings for publication! Imagine my surprise. And delight. I no longer have the letter, but in my imagination it’s a Crane half sheet, 32lb. Ecru, of course!
View our entire 2014 boxed assortment.