This post is the first in a new series we’re calling “From the Archives.” We’ve been the choice of stationery for presidents and princes, dignitaries and duchesses, starlets and CEOs. We like to think this is the case because not only have we been making fine papers since 1801, but also because of our commitment to classic craftsmanship and attention to detail. As we like to say, when it’s Crane, it’s right.
Many people don’t know that we have often printed the stationery, invitations and announcements for the White House. So we thought we would highlight a selection of our favorites here. Take a look, and feel fee to envision yourself receiving one of these in the post box. We know we did.
- A Presidential dinner invitation
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Give Us Liberty
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.
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.
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.
“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.
Whether one considers a handwritten note or invitation a nostalgic luxury he or she refuses to give up, or simply a staple of any proper stationery wardrobe, all would agree that engraving is the grande dame of printing processes.
And so, we went on a mission to piece together the history of engraving. There is, we found, quite a bit of information available on the engraving of images, which goes back a long, long time: cavemen did it; so did the Egyptians.
But we were more curious about that point in history when someone thought, My, wouldn’t this piece of paper that I’m sending look so much lovelier engraved?
That’s Bob Gregory, a native of North Adams, Massachusetts (where our paper magic happens) who works an engraving press like no one’s business. He’s also a Red Sox fan and could never work at a job in which he was “just sitting there.”
That’s good news for us, and whoever has the pleasure of receiving a box of stationery created by Gregory’s skilled hands.
Here, he chats with us about being a “wedding man,” naming his engraving press and his one degree of separation from a certain blue-eyed crooner.
Instagram. Hipstamatic. Twitpic. Sharing. Posting. Tagging. We’ve become (for better or worse) a society of sharers. Instant sharers at that. And thanks to smartphones touting cameras as good as most point-and-shoots, pictures of our meals, cats with books and celebrities on the subway actually look pretty darn good.
That said, shooting close-up details still requires the hand — and eye — of a professional. So we asked photographer David Nicholas, who recently shot some of our new wedding stationery collection, what exactly goes into capturing the incredible detail of an engraved monogram.
This is what David had to say about shooting the monogram seen below: