It’s all in the details.
Digging through the Crane archives is always such a treat—we have more than a century’s worth of stationery designs, after all. So, in the spirit of the holiday season, we thought we’d share some of our favorite festive cards from Crane’s Christmas Past.
Orange usually isn’t a color we think of as “festive” this time of year, but we love it here, paired with verdant green and elegant gold it’s simply stunning.
As Catherine Jackson pored over the moving letters between her mother and her father during his time in the Navy, she was reminded about how powerful the written word could be. Inspired, she decided everyone should experience that feeling and thus The Great Letter Revival came to be. She launched a Facebook page, YouTube channel and a blog, then got to work assembling and sending “Revival Kits”—stationery, stamps—to friends, family and anyone else interested in letter writing.
“The goal of TGLR has always been to bring back genuine, personal, creative and meaningful human connections to our modern world via letter writing,” Catherine says. “We wish to increase communication that goes beyond the generic realms of online socialization, to create memories and human expression, to spread smiles and to ultimately make the mailbox a happy place to visit once again.”
When did your interest in the epistolary world begin?
The magic of letter writing was impressed upon me at a young age. I remember having a pen pal from Japan who would send the most gorgeous postcards embellished with hand crafted details and delicate origami. And then on the opposite side of the spectrum, when a friend of mine moved away, it thrilled me when her bulky, sloppy envelopes stuffed with a piece or two of Red Vines and her favorite pet rock somehow managed to find its way to my mailbox. This love of letter writing carried over into my high school years and into adulthood. I’ve often had close friends or family move to far off places. Any long distance relationship (friend, family or romantic) is always kept fresh through the sending and receiving of letters. I’ve since then discovered how wonderful it can be to send and receive mail from within the same zipcode, too. A handwritten letter is always a heart-lifting reminder that someone cares about you enough to dedicate the time to write it in words.
This week we launched the newest addition to our personalized stationery family, Crane Collection II. It’s an album we’re especially proud of, as it features the exquisite details and impeccable craftsmanship for which Crane has always been known. New motifs and monograms, new patterned envelope liners, a new men’s stationery collection and an expanded selection of business papers are just some of the highlights.
The creative genius behind Crane Collection II is in-house designer Gabby Doane, who pored over our archives for inspiration, perfectly blending classic and new. Below, she explains her design process, her high fashion inspiration and the one piece everyone should have in their stationery wardrobe.
Describe the customer for this album.
Someone who truly appreciates the art of classic correspondence and values the fine beauty of hand-crafted stationery and the exquisite details that are inherent in Crane products.
Where did you draw inspiration from for this album?
Our objective with this album was to re-instate the true essence and feel of Crane Stationery with fine details and exquisite hand-crafted features that its products are known for. Continue reading
For the new graduate, building a stationery wardrobe and learning how to use which types of correspondence when can be quite overwhelming, but, when mastered, quite rewarding. We often get emails asking which types of stationery a new graduate should have in his/her possession. In order of importance, we suggest the following three:
The correspondence card is a flat card that can be used for post-interview thank you notes. We recommend an ecru or white paper color with one’s full name printed at the top. Contact information such as email address and/or phone number can also be included. Your font and ink color should reflect your personal style, however keep in mind that this stationery will often be sent in a professional context. As a new graduate, letterpress or thermograph printing is preferable, as engraving may come across as too extravagant. (Treat yourself to the latter the day you receive a notable promotion.)
Charming Mum: Letterpress Ecruwhite Calling Card
Business-minded Mum: Lettterpress Pearl White Calling Card
Royal Mum: Monogram Note with Border
Modern Mum: Letterpress Pearl White Tiverton Correspondence Card
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
BR & AD: Very busy!
What is your favorite part of the job?
NR & BR: Tying ribbons.
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.
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.