Personalized stationery should always reflect the personality of the sender—or, in the case of one savvy scribe, her stripes. For etiquette expert Lisa Grotts’ personalized stationery, her monogram was nestled into a vibrantly red zebra on a crisp, white correspondence card and paired with a matching red envelope lining. Linda Burns of Burns and Associates Fine Printing in San Francisco helped turn her vision into a reality. Below, they talk about why stationery is like shoes and why people seem to be returning to paper and pen.
The Customer: Lisa
Tell me about your design and how did you reach your decision to go with it?
My company logo used to have an icon of the Golden Gate Bridge, as in “bridging” the gap of communities etc. The zebra icon has the same effect for me: It shows the many lines of communication and cleverly done. I used to have it in navy blue but switched over to lucky red in 2015. I also have them as calling cards.
Did you know what you wanted going into your first appointment and did that change at all?
Decisive is my middle name. I told Linda Burns ahead of time to pull out the stops on the zebra cards as well as the color, but I’m a softie when it comes to stationery (I have more styles than jeans), so I generally end up buying double or sometimes triple the amount as I like choice. Some people require formal thank you notes, others do not—that’s when the zebra comes in handy.
For you, what is the value of personalized stationery?
As a certified etiquette expert, I teach the value of why one needs to have the perfect stationery wardrobe. I have written a piece on my Huffington Post blog on this subject, and business and social stationery components are part of most of my etiquette seminars. More is more when it comes to stationery, just like shoes and handbags—paper is the “It” accessory. Thank you for asking.
The Stationer: Linda
Tell me about working with Lisa and how you helped guide her through the design process.
I work often with Lisa and she loves stationery as I do. She is very clear and decisive and she’s wonderful to work with. I take what she likes and then mock it up into various uses—business cards, note cards, fold-overs, stationery, etc.
What are the questions you usually ask every customer who comes in wanting to order personalized stationery?
I always spend the time to make sure I know what a customer likes and how they intend to use their stationery before I offer suggestions. I show them examples and give them alternatives and options. Stationery decisions are visual ones, and it’s helpful to have a customer see the choices.
In today’s digital age, what is the importance of personalized stationery?
Invitations set the tone for an event and personal notes, thank yous, remembrances—handwritten and personal—are important enough to be done on paper rather than digitally sent. I find that more and more people are returning to printed forms rather than digital when they want to distinguish it from the e-formats. I hear often, “I enjoy receiving something in the mail rather than on the screen—I like to hold it in my hand and have it around when I’m not online to refer to. I also like to write a personal note so it doesn’t look like a group message.”