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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Post Script: Our Finishing Department

The holiday season is the busiest time of year at Crane. Our factory is bustling with Christmas card and invitation orders, and our printing presses are humming as ink is fixed to paper. Again and again and again.

Once the ink dries, the orders are sent off to the Finishing Department, where ribbons are tied, envelopes are lined and cards are duplexed (a process that involves affixing a smaller sized paper stock atop a larger sized paper stock to create a layered look).

crane & co. envelope liners

Below, we talked with four women in Finishing — who work hard to make sure every detail is just so — about Presidential inaugurations, letters from loved ones and brand new puppies.

finising dept ladies

Tell me about how you ended up at Crane.
Nancy Randall:  started working for Crane when I was 20 years old. I had worked in retail previously but I like the work schedule Crane offered and the pay was better than retail.

Adriene Davine: I came to Crane out of high school.

Becky Riley: When I first started at Crane, I worked in [envelope] Liners. When I was hired full time, I moved to Inspection.

Lori Mulder: My husband worked at Crane and encouraged me to apply.

Tell me what a typical day is like in the Finishing Department.
LM: Busy.

BR & AD: Very busy!

What is your favorite part of the job?
NR & BR: Tying ribbons.

crane & co. ribbon baby announcement

AD: Making sure the order is correct and watching what people order.

LM: Working with my co-workers — they are a great group of people.

And the most challenging?
NR: Duplexing* a card that has a ribbon around it. It is more difficult to keep it consistent.

crane & co. duplex card

LM: Hitting the deadline to ship at 6 p.m. Most orders are time sensitive and need to ship the same day that the order arrived in Assembly.

What do you see most of come through the Finishing Department during the holidays?
BR: Most orders involve ribbons, which are on the majority of orders at Christmas. There are also many photo digital cards.

LM: Digital pictures or photo mount pictures with added ribbon. They come out beautiful.

Describe the most elaborate job you have ever had to work on.
NR: A wedding invitation with the invitation card being duplexed after having a ribbon wrapped around it and the base card was an engraved folder.

AD: The inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

BR: A Princess wedding where each invitation was in a separate box that we tied with a ribbon, tissue closed for 2,000.

LM: A bat mitzvah. We had a program with seven inserts and furnished ribbon. We have to collate on two long tables to make sure that every page was correct. The customer wanted two pieces of the ribbon tied at once with the narrow ribbon on top and wide chiffon on the bottom, then had to twist and turn the ribbon in order for everything to be the same.

What are you doing when you are not at Crane?
NR: I spend time with my daughters and granddaughters, I attend a fitness class, go out with friends and take walks.

AD: Taking care of my four-month-old puppy.

BR: I enjoy cooking and baking mostly. I love animals and find them very entertaining.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
NR: The one thing most people don’t know about me is I can be analytical of people and why they are the way they are.

AD: How religious I am.

BR: It is a secret — that is why they don’t know.

LM: I collect statues and pictures of the Blessed Mother.

Tell me about the most memorable letter you’ve ever received?
NR: From my youngest daughter when she was at boot camp for the Air Force. She didn’t have a lot of time to write but she tried to put as much as she could explain quickly about how things were there and re-assuring me that she was okay.

AD: From an old boyfriend that I met on cruise ship.

BR: It was a letter from my niece thanking me for a blanket I made for her son. This made me feel special. She also sent a picture with the baby loving his new blanket.

LM: When I was a teenager, my brother joined the Navy and was stationed in Italy. I loved his letters telling me about his adventures and the people he met there. This was back in the 80’s when cell phones were not invented yet.

All photos taken by the wonderfully talented Dan Morgan.

How to Write the Perfect Holiday Letter

In an era when we are (whether we like it or not) updated on the lives of our friends and family minute by minute, the idea of writing a letter might seem unnecessary.

Holiday-Photo-and-Letter-Card-Written-Letter-blogLiving in a stream-happy society is fun. It’s exciting. It helps us miss our loved ones who live far away a little less. But there are still occasions when sending a text message or posting on someone’s wall just isn’t enough. The holidays is one of those occasions, and the holiday letter is one of those traditions that helps us remember the power of the written (or at least typed) word.

We’ve put together five tips on how to craft the perfect holiday letter. Happy writing!

Make a timeline. Travel back in time and outline all the major events of the year. Be sure to ask your spouse and children for their input as well — you might not remember a soccer goal, but your daughter who scored it certainly will.
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