Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Engraved Initial Notes Offered

Stationery designers find their inspiration from many sources. It may be nature; it may be fashion; it may be history, textures - you name it. Good designers can find inspiration almost everywhere and use their creative energies to produce truly beautiful products.

But all too often, stationery designers ignore what's going on around them when seeking inspiration. There is no real-time or real-world context. It's just beautiful art that is transformed into gorgeous stationery.

Here at Crane, we are expanding our stationery design creativity to include inspiration from real-life events; occasions of merit; things that are happening now. It allows us to be nimble and responsive to the fast-paced world in which we live.

The first fruits of these artistic endeavors is a new set of gold engraved initial notes. Simple, straightforward and elegant. Despite having a slightly narrower consumer appeal, stationery stores will love them. You only have to carry one SKU. We were going to wait until the National Stationery Show in May to make this introduction, but we must be nimble.

Introducing the Vice Presidential Gold Engraved Initial Note:

If you would like a set of Joe Biden Initial Notes for your Aunt Fannie, Uncle Frank or Sister Frederica, please let me know below.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Crane Products Chosen Louie Awards Finalists

We were thrilled to learn yesterday that three Crane products have been selected as finalists for the 22nd Annual Louie Awards, presented by the Greeting Card Association. The Louie Awards are considered the pinnacle of recognition by our peers in the industry, and it is indeed gratifying to receive such acknowledgement. All finalists will be displayed at the National Stationery Show in May, and winners will be announced at a special event on Monday, May 17, in New York.

Here are the finalists:

"A Little Bird Told Me" letterpressed birthday card

"Love is merely madness" anniversary card
And,the kate spade all-occasion greeting card gift set

In honor of their selection as Louie Award Finalists, I am going to give you a chance to win all three. Simply leave a comment below to enter.

And, before I forget, the winner of the Little Papers You Can Write Your Name On giveaway is commenter Dave Marler, who wrote:

While I would prefer the printed cards because of my poor penmanship, I do think the hand-written versions create a more personalized impression on the recipient. I would love to have the cards as I could make great use of them in spreading the word about my new business.

Dave: E-mail me your mailing address at peter (dot)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Letterpress Botanicals a Runaway Best-Seller

It seems that every year, there's one item or a collection of items that catches the public's fancy. Last year, it was the kate spade all-occasion greeting card gift set. And it's still selling really well. This year's shooting star is a collection of hand-drawn botanical designs letterpressed on Crane's Lettra paper.

They are available in folded notes, thank-you notes and imprintable invitations:

All are available at Crane's website, or you can go here to find a retailer nearest you. Make sure you call first to see if they're in stock. If not, they can be ordered.

To give credit where it's due, these lovely designs were hand-drawn by local artist Jessica Mormann.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Little Papers You Can Put Your Name On

Today is Freebie Friday here at The Crane Insider. The first order of business is to announce last week's winner, and that is - Lisa T! She left this comment:

I am brand new to gardening, so I'm sorry to say I do not have any tips. This will be my first spring with a patch of land to cultivate! I would love to win this pad and journal as I am sure that I'll be need to jot notes and such as I go along.

Wish me luck!

Congratulations Lisa. Send me your address at peter(dot)

Here's what we've got on tap for today. (It's maple sugaring season here in Vermont!) Little papers you can put your name on. Place cards are such a simple way to dress up any dinner party, whether it's a full table of eight, or an intimate table for two. These place cards are so elegant. Their edges have been rounded, beveled and gilded with silver or gold. (You can see how it's done here).

Along with them, you will see one of my very favorite papers from the recent past: A boxed set of calling cards:

You know me; I love calling cards, and they have become quite the stationery phenomenon as you can see here

So, in order to win these little papers you can put you name on, I would like your opinion on boxed calling cards - cards on which you write your own name and contact information. Are they a good and safe means of exchanging contact information for young people? Are they too much trouble and you'd rather just have your information already printed on them? Would they provide an inexpensive entry for personal branding? 

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Thank You

I haven't slowed down in a while to say thank you to those who read, who subscribe, who comment, who agree, who disagree and to all who make this blog thing lots of fun!


"Digital Decay?" Acid-free Paper & the Print Button

The New York Times calls it "Digital Decay."

We fans of "old-fashioned acid-free paper" call it redundant.

This morning's article focuses on preserving "born-digital" materials for the benefit of posterity - in this instance, the writings of Salman Rushdie. The problem?

"Electronically produced drafts, correspondence and editorial comments, sweated over by contemporary poets, novelists and nonfiction authors, are ultimately just a series of digits — 0’s and 1’s — written on floppy disks, CDs and hard drives, all of which degrade much faster than old-fashioned acid-free paper. Even if those storage media do survive, the relentless march of technology can mean that the older equipment and software that can make sense of all those 0’s and 1’s simply don’t exist anymore."

"Imagine having a record but no record player."

The article is a very interesting read; a story about the rush of time and the quest for money to preserve all those 1s and 0s in their original environment. Meanwhile, the cardinal rule of the digital age - Back Up Your Files - seems to be missing. One must wonder: If Salman Rushdie's writings are worthy of preservation for posterity, why not get some good "old-fashioned acid-free paper" and hit the PRINT button?

In case you're interested in that wonderful recycled floppy disk notepad (I wonder if it's filled with good old-fashioned acid-free paper?) you can get one here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Twitter at Tech Conference: Here's My Card!

The first shot fired in the Paper Revolution came from Facebook.

The second shot fired in the Paper Revolution came from Ashton Kutcher.

The third and perhaps the loudest shot fired in the Paper Revolution came today from Twitter, as reported in CNN's SciTechBlog:

Yes, that is a Twitter business card, which employees began handing out at the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas. Why would Twitter employees possibly use business cards?

From the CNN article:

A Twitter spokesman poked fun at the idea of business cards even as he listed the benefits of paper-based networking.

"This antiquated thing called 'business cards' is a helpful way for some of us to bridge our online and offline worlds with potential employees, partners and the thousands of developers who make Twitter applications," said company spokesman Sean Garrett.
In other words, despite the fact that they are a leading online networking site, when they need to network in the real world, paper remains the best networking tool there is.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Garden Season Awaits; Win and Get Organized

We lost quite a bit of snow overnight and after the next three days of ark-building weather, the whole garden should be visible if it's not under water. I will remain optimistic that this year I will get the peas in the ground during maple syrup season.

I am likely the most disorganized gardener you will ever meet, so this year, I have vowed to be more attentive to advance planning and documentation throughout the season. Now you can too.

This Freebie Friday, I'm offering a lovely garden-themed pad and a 76-page garden journal to two lucky winners.

Just leave a comment below to enter next week's drawing. And if you've got a garden tip for me, that would be most welcome. It might even be worth extra credit!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Making Fine Stationery from Crane Paper - 1926

A little while back, I posted a video of a film showing paper being made at Crane's Bay State Mill in 1926. Here is Part Two, which shows how Crane paper was made into Crane stationery.


Close Only Counts in Horseshoes - And Curling Too!

Some were very close in guessing the correct 2009 sales ranking of Crane's boxed stationery this past week. Since there was no winner, I'll have to come up with another opportunity for you to win some stuff. Check in tomorrow.

Here is the correct ranking, staring with the ever-classic CN1116:

Kid Finish Notes
Resume Paper
Navy Thank You Notes
Navy Bordered Notes
Multilingual Thank You Notes
Place Cards

Oh No! You Bruised My Stationery!

Now now, no need to panic. Actually, I was in somewhat of a panic this morning. I couldn't find my box of engraved stationery. I'm notorious for losing stuff in a relatively small space, so this was no great surprise. After about 10 minutes, I came across that signature dark blue box and breathed a sign of relief. The relief was to be short-lived, however. I'm a stationery geek, so every time I look at a piece of stationery, I turn it over to see if it's been engraved. This box of stationery had no bruise. It had been thermographed.

After a few more panic-filled moments, I located my bruised and beautiful stationery and set off to write some thank-yous.

Bruised and beautiful? How can that be, you ask?

The bruising that appears on the back of a piece of stationery is the signature of fine engraving. It tells you that the engraver has etched the design deep into a copper plate to impart all the fine-line detail you expect. It tells you that the engraver has pressed the paper deep into the etched cavity to create a raised impression on the surface of the paper. It tells you that the engraver has taken personal pride in printing each piece of your stationery by hand.

So, the old sarcastic question goes: Whaddaya want, an engraved invitation?

Actually, now that you mention it? Yes.

Friday, March 5, 2010

New Freebie Friday & Winners of Kate Spade Postcards

I'm running a little behind today, but wanted to send along congratulations to our two winners of a set of kate spade classic postcards: Retweeter @kimi_joy and blog commenter LydiaAndPugs! Please send your shipping addresses to

Here's this week's Freebie Friday special:

As the saying goes: "There's nothing like old money," and that couldn't be truer today because that's what I'm giving away. Crane's Old Money was introduced in the 1990s and remains one of my most favorite papers to this day. Unfortunately, it was discontinued several years ago. But the good news is I have some and you can have some too.

Crane's Old Money Mint is made with 30 percent post-consumer United States Currency and 70 percent recovered cotton fibers. It has a lovely sage-like hue and an excellent printing surface. The winner will receive a ream of 125 sheets of 8 1/2 by 11, 90-pound card stock. Imagine the business or social cards you can have made up at your local print shop. Or you can print them on your inkjet (not an all-in-one). Whether you're a banker, a broker or just plain broke and looking to make some green, Crane's Old Money is the perfect presentation of your personal brand.

I'm also tossing in 20 sheets of Old Money writing paper. So, if you would like to be the first on your block to  strut your stuff on Old Money, please leave a comment below to be entered in the drawing to be held next Thursday. If Old Money's not for you, pass along the opportunity to a friend.

Good Luck!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Which Item of Stationery Was Crane's 2009 Best-Seller?

I could tell you, but that wouldn't be much fun. So, I'll show you the six top-selling pieces of Crane's boxed stationery and see if you can put them in proper order, from 1 to 6. Here are the entries:

Before we get to the rules, what do you see in these top-sellers?

I see a clear reflection of the times: 

  • We're going back to the basics; back to solid ground (above are the little black dresses and navy blue blazers of the stationery world).
  • We are thankful and aren't afraid to express ourselves. We may have fewer things for which to be thankful, so each occasion to say thanks is cherished.
  • There are too many people looking for jobs. Those who are job-hunting recognize that presenting yourself to a prospective employer on 32-pound Crane's Kid Finish establishes the foundation for a memorable first impression.
  • We're saving some money and enjoying the company of friends and family by entertaining at home.
As promised, here are the rules. Leave a comment to this post, putting the entries in order from 1-6. I will draw from all those with the correct answer. The winner will receive one box each of the top-sellers. The contest will end Wednesday, March 10 at midnight. I will announce the winner in a post next Thursday.

And don't forget, tomorrow is Freebie Friday, when I'll offer another chance to win Crane stationery.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Stationery Etiquette Mystery Needs Solving

My post yesterday, noting that even Twitter Wizard Ashton Kutcher uses personal stationery when the message is meaningful, has a short postscript noting the practice of crossing through one's name when writing a very personal note.

Here's an example from the slide show at Details Magazine showing congratulatory notes on their 10th anniversary:

I had never heard of this custom until queried by a writer recently. I have heard second- and third-hand that this is an indication that the note is of the most personal and respectful nature. I went to my go-to source - Google - and for once it was no help.

So, please help me and stationery-lovers everywhere learn the details of this custom. Original sources are welcome, as are stories from your childhood.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

4.6 Million Twitter Followers, but Personal Stationery Makes The Lasting Impression

I was at the dentist's office today waiting for my appointment and leafing through the latest issue of Details Magazine. This is the magazine's 10th anniversary and one of the pages features a few congratulatory notes.

Last year, I pointed out that one of the icons of digital communication and social media - Facebook - turned to paper and fine letterpress printing to thank its advertisers. Here's a link to that beautiful presentation.

Back to the dentist's office and the magazine. I was very pleased to see who had written the first note on the page, as it provides further evidence of the power of the pen and fine stationery:


You will recall Ashton's recent race to the top of the Twitter world. Today, he has more Twitter followers than anyone in the world - 4.6 million!

But as you can see from the above, even Ashton Kutcher uses personalized stationery when the message is meant to be meaningful. It obviously was meaningful to Details. Other notes on the page are written by Jason Bateman, Daniel Radcliffe, Matthew McConoughey and, yes, even Adam Lambert.

Here's a link to a slide show of a couple of dozen congratulatory notes on personalized stationery. I imagine you will recognize a name or two.

P.S. In a few of the notes, you will see the person's name struck through at the top. That is to indicate the note is of the most personal nature.

With best regards,


P.P.S. I have no idea if these notes are on Crane stationery. It's none of my business one way or the other.