The Making Of: Our Holiday Coastal Collection

engraved coastal adirondack chairs holiday greeting cardA White Christmas is a magical thing. Sleds, snowmen, bunny slopes. However, our friends who enjoy ocean breezes and tennis in December have a quite a magical thing going, too.

To celebrate twinkling lights strung around palm trees and Christmas dinner on the dock, we offer our Coastal holiday card series. This year, four new hand-engraved designs were added to create a more well-rounded collection.

New hues, new imagery, new inspiration: Here’s a peek inside The Making Of our new Coastal designs.

  • Colors

coastal holiday card color inspiration“The colors chosen reflect our traditional red and gold, which you will see throughout the designs,” said VP of Creative & Product Development Rachel V. Ivey, “but we’ve added brighter greens as well as a pop color, pink and a metallic blue to add visual interest to the designs.”

We punched up the green on our Adirondack Chairs to liven up the greenery…

engraved adirondack chairs holiday greeting card

On the Coastal Doorway, we pulled in a bluish green hue that is more representative of coastal greenery…

engraved coastal doorway holiday greeting card

The Flamingos are a pop of pink that is very close to our Hibiscus stock

engraved coastal flamingos holiday greeting card

For the Glass Buoy, we used an amazing metallic blue that is a custom mix that gives this design some extra glitz…

engraved coastal buoy holiday greeting card

  • Imagery & Inspiration

engraved coastal holiday cards imagery inspirationShells, greenery and, of course, the beach were all images used to inspire the artist, who ultimately created a collection of designs that will appeal to our customers in the coastal regions of the country — as well as anyone who simply years for a season with sand in her toes.

Need help selecting your holiday cards? Email our Crane Concierge at concierge@crane.com.

From the Archives: Vintage Crane & Co. Advertisements

Being around for more than 200 years will build quite an archive. It’s an absolute delight to sift through old engraving dies, ledgers and, our favorite, advertisements. We had advertisements geared toward the “Business Man,” the “Presidents of Savings Banks” and, of course, brides. Ones highlighting the fact that our paper is made from cotton rags. Ones highlighting how great it is to use with a typewriter. And ones about what using Crane says about you (hint: really good things).

Below are some of our favorites…

1. For your paper trousseau: This ad from the 50’s spoke to the classic bride, suggesting the kinds of papers she should use for her wedding and beyond. “Assures correctness… confers distinction” is the tagline, assuring her that choosing Crane is both proper and special.

vintage wedding stationery advertisement
2. Wedding gifts by telephone: This print ad from 1924 plays to the aspirational woman and her desire to make the most proper impression. No well-bred girl would do such a thing, the ad suggests of acknowledging wedding gifts by telephone. She also wouldn’t type her wedding invitations, send a “dowdy letter of acceptance” for a party or write a letter on “the only paper you could find,” and instead lives by this ad’s tagline: “Style is a greater social asset than beauty.”


3. What does the letter say, Jean? The dialog in this ad — printed in The Ladies’ Home Journal in 1921 — is between two girlfriends or sisters, discussing a letter the one has just received. When asked what the letter said, the recipient’s response is that the letter says the writer has “good taste” and “a fine appreciation of what is correct.” Of course, the punchline is that the recipient is referring to what the paper (Crane, of course) says about the sender, ending with this mantra: “Writing paper tells much more than many people think.”


4. Stationery should reflect station: We love the angle this 1926 ad takes when appealing to the “Business Man.” The copy sets the scene, a meeting between the Business Man and his lithographer. The latter suggests Crane, suggesting that one’s stationery should reflect one’s station in life. The former balks at paying more for his letterhead. The lithographer’s pitch: A company should take its paper “out of the classification of office expense and put it in the advertising and selling budget.”

business stationery letterhead advertisement
5. To the Presidents of Savings Banks: This ad from 1936 is one of our favorites because of how well it represents a time very much in the past — a time when relationship between banker and bank account customer was more than just the Customer Service contact on a website. The ad suggests using Crane to send letters of welcome to “new depositors” as well as to keep in touch with old customers, as “no other paper lends so much dignity and distinction to correspondence.”

banking stationery advertisementCare to see more of our vintage advertisements? They’re all available to peruse on our Pinterest board!

The Making Of: Our 2012 Personalized Holiday Card Collection

It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. So when our design team finally unveils the new collection of personalized holiday cards, it feels like, well, Christmas.

We must say they’ve quite outdone themselves this year, keeping with a classic, traditional look and color palette that showcases our elegant design and craftsmanship so well.

“This year we dipped into our archives to celebrate our heritage,” said VP of Creative and Product Development Rachel V. Ivey. “It has been great to look back at traditional American Christmas of the past.”

Here’s how our 2012 Personalized Holiday Collection came to be…

  • Colors

personalized holiday card colors

Our design team achieved the classic, traditional look of our distinguished holiday cards by using a core palette of Hunter green, medium gold and red. A hint of shimmering platinum adds an additional metallic to the mix.

  • Inspiration

personalized holiday card inspiration

Home decor and botanicals have provided inspiration for many of our cards throughout the years. It reminds us of our own homes during the holidays. For example, the Holiday Door design — new for this year — was inspired by the home of an employee.

engraved holiday door card

The wreath below is an example of taking vintage art and altering it for a whole new look. For 2012, we enlarged the design and printed in three-color letterpress with foil accents on our Lettra® paper.

engraved wreath holiday card

Many of the designs this year were enhanced by using multi-level model dies. The use of these dies in the engraving process gives added dimension to the card. The Classic Wreath is an excellent example of how a model die can make a beautiful design look even more dramatic.

“Christmas is a great season for Crane to showcase all of our incredible processes,” said Ivey. “We love our classic designs for which consumers come back year after year.”

Life’s richer with friends, so let’s stay in touch! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The Making Of: Signature Collection

Koi fish copper engraving dye.

In this edition of “The Making Of” we take a look at our new Signature Collection and how it went from just an idea to an exquisitely crafted piece of stationery. Engraved and paired with envelope liners imported from India, this collection is one that should only find its way into the hands of the most appreciative stationery connoisseur.

The Signature Collection began as inspiration from a far away land. If you have traveled to the Far East, it was our creative team’s hope that the designs would take you back. If you haven’t been, the rich culture they have re-created via correspondence will certainly inspire you to make the trip.

First, the team curated a color palette. Red and gold, the iconic colors of Asia, serve as the core hues while shades of aqua were pulled from nature and Asian artwork.
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Post Script: Nancy Sharon Collins, Author of “The Complete Engraver”

Next month, graphic designer and engraving expert extraordinaire Nancy Sharon Collins will publish The Complete Engraver, an informative and elegant homage to the classic art. Seeing as how said classic art and our paper go together like Fred and Ginger, we thought Collins a perfect addition to our Post Script Q&A series. Here, the former New Yorker (and current Louisianan) shares stories of her parents’ notes, a New Orleans estate filled with paper and a small stack of treasured love letters.

When did your interest in social stationery engraving begin?
1976 during graduate school at the Hartford Art School. I was introduced to Lehman Brothers in New Haven and I fell in love with commercial engraving: going on press knocks my socks off; I love the smell of ink and paper and the sound of small presses (metal against metal, fly wheels, iron and steel.)

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Post Script: Calligrapher Ashantai Yungai

When it comes to projects of the epistolary variety, calligrapher Ashantai Yungai, founder of Distinctive Inscriptions, isn’t one to back down from a challenge. So, when a bride asked him to pen 1,000 envelopes for her Hawaiian wedding, he not only agreed, he blogged about the two-week-long endeavor. With a good nib, a little Joni Mitchell and a bag of flour, he proved victorious. Perhaps it’s Yungai’s science background (he’s a chemist by trade), but it seems as though he has found the formula for the perfect flourish.

distinctive inscriptions calligraphy founder ashantai yungai

Ashantai Yungai, born to flourish.

Of course, we would never ask him to share his ‘secret sauce,’ be he does share with us missives pertaining to pens, sisters and the future of the handwritten word.

When did your interest in calligraphy begin?
June 2008. I am a chemist by trade. A friend saw my handwriting in my lab notebook and asked, “Did you write that? Wow man, that’s pretty cool! You should do calligraphy. People do wedding invitations and envelopes using calligraphy.” I thought little of it at the time. I bought a calligraphy pen on a whim one day while shopping for art supplies for my son. I began writing with it. From there I was off to the races. 

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Crane & Co. and America: Our Made-in-the-U.S.A. History

Give Us Liberty

crane & co. liberty paper mill

Liberty Paper Mill.

More than 200 years ago, Stephen Crane decided to make a statement. And it wasn’t with his fashion forward breeches or well-groomed mutton chops. It was, rather, with the name of a paper mill he opened in 1770. He called it the Liberty Paper Mill and, for purveyors of our American heritage, was named so just two years after the British occupied Boston. – and just five miles away. A tres bold move, if we do say so ourselves.

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Post Script: Jackie Brown, Monogram Artist

Like chocolate and peanut butter or Fred and Ginger, stationery and monograms just work perfectly together. Making sure that they do is our resident monogram artist, Jackie Brown.

Whether you’re into swirly or straight, diminutive or daring, she can turn initials into works of art. A monogram, after all, is the ultimate expression of individuality. So it made sense, then, that we get personal about, well, getting personal.

When did your interest in the monogram begin?
My interest in monograms began shortly after being hired by Crane. I was hoping to develop an art-based career. I found such an opportunity in making monograms. Monograms allowed me to become creative, thereby making them my art.

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In Celebration Of: The Pen

Antony and Cleopatra. Romeo and Juliet. Scarlett and Rhett.

We love a good love story.

But our favorite is that of Pen and Paper.

Thus, we were delighted to pick the brain of Rick Propas — a specialist for Swann Auction Galleries, where he directs the newly created Department of Fine and Vintage Writing Instruments — whose first pen was given to him more than 50 years ago.

Rick Propas, lefty.

“In the Jewish tradition, it’s customary to give a boy a fountain pen at his bar mitzvah,” Propas explained. “I didn’t get one, and when I complained to my dad, he pulled out his own pen and gave it to me.”

Propas has been collecting vintage pens ever since.

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The Making Of: Our New Americana Collection

In this edition of The Making Of, we take a look at yet another one of our new collections (my, our design team has been busy).

Patriot meets pen in a premier collection celebrating all things red, white and blue. We’re calling it — drum roll, pleaseAmericana. And what better time to launch it than while we’re all dreaming of fireworks and BBQs?

First, there was Inspiration.

americana stationery collection inspiration“This collection came together as I was going over the archives,” recalls VP of Creative & Product Development Rachel V. Ivey. “I noticed that Crane was present for every Presidency. With an election approaching, developing a collection that celebrates our country was a pleasure.”

Next, the team thought about Americana’s target customer, and came up with three types:

  • The Classic American, who loves rich history.
  • The Proud American, who isn’t afraid to wear her U.S.A. love on her sleeve.
  • The Young American, who is learning how to become more involved in his country.

Finally, it was time to think design.

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