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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Post Script: Mrs. Lilien

We’re adoring fans of Mrs. Lilien and her fancy finds. So we were delighted to hear she was coming out with a book. We were even more delighted when we found out it was a book titled “Mrs. Lilien’s Cocktail Swatchbook,” a collection of 50 classic recipes that have been updated with a modern twist and fashionable accoutrement.

Because one good hostess quality (serving stellar sips) deserves another (sending stellar stationery), we thought it made perfect sense to ask our new favorite dinner party guest about our favorite fancy subject: correspondence.

When did your interest in all things fancy begin?
August 10th, 1979. There hasn’t been a day in my life that I haven’t been possessed by my love of all things fancy!

Why do you enjoy writing about letters and/or correspondence?
Because it’s ladylike + because it’s FANCY!

What is your favorite step in the process of written correspondence?
Probably signing my rather gargantuan and rather flamboyant signature.

If you could be pen pals with anyone in history, to whom would you write and what would you say?
Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt — without question. In my fantasy she begins each letter with “OMG…”

To whom do you most often write?
Love letters to Mr. Lilien.

Describe the most memorable letter or postcard you have ever received.
A wildly amusing ditty from my friend Mr. Adler regarding my gifted urn (aka: my final resting place).

What makes a particular letter stand out from a stack of cards?
Fine, thick paper and subtle yet extravagant detailing, such as embossing, letter press, color edging. These pieces always get opened first!

Do you have a favorite stamp or stamp series?
I’m always a fan of the silver screen actresses of yesteryear. Nothing screams class quite like a little bit of Audrey Hepburn on the upper right hand corner.

What makes your correspondence distinct?
Inside of every Mrs. Lilien correspondence that I send, I always sprinkle just a few gold sequins into the envelope for an added touch of glam!

The one etiquette rule you never break?
Be a lady in all things — while this is vague, it covers vast no-no’s that I find abhorrent.

The quote you live by?
“Go big or go home!”

P.S. If you’re in NYC Thursday night, please stop by what is sure to be a fabulous cocktail party at Jonathan Adler’s SoHo boutique to celebrate Mrs. Lilien’s new book.  Kindly RSVP here.

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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The Making Of: New Personalized Stationery Collection Crane Style Now

This post will be the first in a new series called ‘The Making Of,’ in which we show our enthusiasts just how a design or collection became so.

First up, our newest made-to-order collection, Crane Style Now.

personalized stationery collection crane style now

For a while, we’ve offered collections that cater to the enthusiast who is big on style and small on time. The idea being: a few choices — ink color, motif, font — instead of something completely customizable, which, while stunning and very personal, can be a daunting process.

While we wanted to keep the process simple, we also wanted a collection that spoke to today’s trends. And so, our VP of Creative & Product Development, Rachel V. Ivey, and her team began with step #1: The Inspiration Board.
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2012 National Stationery Show: Day 1 Recap

A picture of our Limited Edition print & National Stationery Show invitation

After two days of drilling, assembling, hanging and placing…

It was finally time for some admiring. The 2012 National Stationery Show kicked off today, and New York City’s Javits Center was abuzz with all things paper.
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Post Script: Kelle Anne McCarter, Stationery Designer

In her bio, Kelle Anne McCarter says she grew up on a golf course. We’re glad she eventually traded sand traps (not that she saw many, ahem) for stationery design, as our collection now includes cards graced with her stunning calligraphy. Here, the proud Texan talks with us about her perfect pen pal, a comic book love story and the two things every Southern girl should have.

kelle anne mccarter

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All in the Family: Designing Personalized Stationery for Everyone in Your Household

personalized family stationeryPersonalizing correspondence can be a daunting experience, even for the most stationery savvy. When our new Creative Director, Rachel Ivey, decided to design suites for her entire family — husband, daughter, herself — she realized just how intimidating the process can be.

After all, personalized stationery is so, well, personal. Like the décor of your house or the clothes in your closet, your correspondence gives others a sense of your personal style. Throw in printing processes (Engraving or thermograph? Letterpress or debossing?), monogram style (Three initials? Entire name? One initial?) and ink/paper color (traditional black on ecru? Playful hibiscus on pearl white?), and suddenly you’re not just ordering some paper to scribble notes on anymore.

When it comes to designing stationery for your entire family, there are several factors to take into consideration:

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Post Script: Carrie Crane, Stationery Designer

If Carrie Crane’s last name sounds familiar, it probably is (especially if you’re reading this blog). Crane & Co. has been a family-owned business for more than 200 years, and, well, Carrie is part of that family. So, one might say she was born with a love of classic correspondence.

Carrie Crane headshotThat love, combined with her designer chops, aligned last year when Carrie — who grew up in Dalton and was in and out of the mills with her father from a very early age — won the Crane family’s design challenge. The winner would see his/her creations turned into exquisite notes, which are made available online and in retail stores. Which means letter lovers all over the world will be penning their thoughts on her signature stationery.

“Winning the Crane Family Design Challenge was really a big deal to me,” she said, “and seeing the cards beautifully engraved, with the their luscious, lined envelopes, in Crane & Co. boxes is so exciting and truly makes me proud.” Here, Carrie — an artist for more than 20 years — chats with us about pen/paper harmony, the joys of junk mail and why she’d love to have a cup of coffee in Egypt.

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How To Create a Crane & Co.-Inspired Wedding Reception Table

Silver Bevel Calligraphy Wedding InvitationLast week, we had the pleasure of being invited to be part of the Lenox Wedding Planner Tour.

Our mission, should we have chosen to accept it (which we did, of course): Provide the invitations that would serve as the inspiration for the Design Challenge.

The challenge: Choose one of our wedding invitations and design a dinner table around it.

The planners were spread out among several properties (the Appletree Inn, Winthrop Estate, Seven Hills Inn, Gateways Inn, Rookwood Inn and Garden Gables Inn) around Lenox, Massachusetts, which is nestled in the heart of the Berkshires.

We were asked to hold court over the Winthrop Estate designers: Annie Lee from Daughter of Design, Krista Njapa of C&G Weddings and Ariella Chezar of Ariella Flowers. Below are a few photos that show off the Crane & Co. invitations they chose on the tables they beautifully designed.
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