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celebrating the art of a handwritten note

Here are some new letter pressed note cards I just designed. Although I do not receive a lot of letters anymore, I still love to write and send cards in the mail. It’s a joy to open a mailbox and see a hand addressed envelope tucked in with the bills and flyers. In an era of email and texting, corresponding with pen on beautiful paper, is still my preferred method of communicating.

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We survived! Our second National Stationery Show in New York City concluded on Wednesday. I am consistently amazed how we are able to transform a sparse 8’x10’ space with a concrete floor and black curtains at the behemoth Javits Center into our cheery, orange exhibit space.

Booth: Our booth was constructed with pvc pipes, spray painted silver to give a metal, industrial feel. Small aluminum lights hooked onto the pipes & illuminated the booth. The rugs were graphic orange & white polka dots. Orange draping is now our signature color and everyone identifies us with the “orange booth.” All of our letterpressed cards were strung from wire and hung with little metal clips, all brightly showcased.

Business: We received many reorders from our existing clients, all of whom were very excited to visit with us and see our new card designs. It was a reality check for me. I work as a graphic designer and design all of my projects for clients, but the cards are designed by me and for me. It’s my chance to “play.” I am realizing my cards fit a very small niche. Stores that carry my designs cater to “bookish” customers who appreciate great typography and design. My cards are not generic, nor are they a fit for the average stationery store around the country. I did learn that my cards sell very well in the stores that carry them!

Positive: Overall, the show was a fun experience. Breakdowns on my behalf were few. Kosher hot dogs were actually a tasty lunch for three days! We found most of the other exhibitors gracious. Coming to NYC to exhibit is a big endeavor and everyone has a great story to share. I love learning about everyone’s products, processes and what inspires them.There were some beautifully designed booths and creative new products, but I have to admit the International Furniture Fair, one level below, provided the true eye candy. The colors, shapes and textures of the furniture, lamps and fabrics truly inspired me.

Negative: Standing on my feet for eight hours is grueling and I attempted Day 1 in heels. Not advised. Saw some Big Egos peddling mediocre letterpress.­ I also think the NSS should do a better job vetting the attendees who walk the aisles. They should admit more people who want to do serious business and less folk who want “free stuff” and steal items while an exhibitors back is turned. And booth breakdown is at noon on the last day of the show. Not 11:50 am. Unbelievable.

Inspiration: We are looking forward to filling our all orders. Plates are being made for new cards and I already have some new designs in mind. Thank you, New York City, for the experience + inspiration.

 

 

photo of booth 2013

photo from booth 2013 w:cake

With the 2013 Stationery Show ready to begin in five days, I have officially shipped my last box of cards, catalogs and calendars. As much as I plan, it always feels like a marathon the last few weeks and days leading up to our departure to NYC. My to-do list was never-ending in April and early May. Design booth banner: done. Design card catalog: done. Design NSS mailers: done. On Friday night I was still designing cards — ideas were baking, and I wasn’t going to be happy until they were created, printed, paired with a bright envelope and sleeved. As stressful as this show can be, I also find it creatively inspiring. Some of my best work is done on deadline, and I am always amazed at how much creative I do produce when I am super-busy!

We invite buyers and retailers to booth 1966 to check out all of our fun cards. It’s going to be a great show!

NSS Collateral mailed 5.14

This year at the National Stationery Show, RR Design Shop is proud to present three card designs (with many more in the works) celebrating Mexican American and Latino culture. Our Cinco de Mayo, Quinceañera and our Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) cards are creative, extracting the color palettes and design inspiration from these cultural traditions. Living in San Diego, there is a tremendous design influence from Mexico — I love the bright colors used for the celebration of Quinceañera (celebrating a girl’s fifteenth birthday)— neon orange, teals and hot pinks and purples. When I was in Austin, I fell in love with the little sugar skulls and marigolds placed on altars, showcased in yellows, reds and purples. They are designed to celebrate Dia de los Muertos, a holiday on November 1+ 2; two days of remembrance of friends and family who have died. Visit us at booth 1966 to see how we are honoring many different cultures through design, typography and letterpress.

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This year for the 2013 National Stationery Show, we have integrated some beautiful still life photography into our booth design and catalog. Our images echo the original look of our cards, evoke an memorable connection to our brand and communicate our strong aesthetic of beauty and creativity. Pops of color from fresh flowers, brightly patterned dinner plates and mercury glass ornaments all come to play! I love flea markets and have collected many frames, cake plates, rulers, coins, spoons, dice, wooden letters & numerals and other little treasures that work perfectly when composed with our letterpressed cards. As a graphic designer, I can happily declare I have now styled photographs and channeled Irving Penn. My hope is as we evolve as a stationery company, the letterpressed cards and photography will expand onto journals and calendars. It’s fun to explore new ideas. Visit us May 19th in New York City, booth 1966. Special thanks to Conrad Firestein, my partner, fiancé, and photographer. He possesses tremendous talent and I am so lucky to have him in my life.

 

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We’ve been busy— lots of designing, planning and creating for next month!

RR Design Shop is excited to be returning to NYC for the National Stationery Show, May 19-22, 2013 at the Javits Center. Our beautiful, two color letterpressed promo cards will be arriving in paper stores’ mailboxes next week. We invite everyone to visit us at Booth #1966. Our catalog of cards has expanded to 72 bright + typographically-inspired designs, letterpressed on Cranes Lettra with vibrantly colored inks. Place an order at the show and you’ll receive a little handcrafted treat created just for you! We look forward to seeing you.

take the cake still life

It’s been over three weeks since Rosemary Rae Design Shop’s National Stationery Show adventure. New York City, as always, was bursting with creative energy and we survived our two set up days (not without some small hiccups) and the show itself, which lasted four days. Walking around the Javits Center, we got lost in the sea of paper-madness. It was reassuring, at least for me, that type and paper joy is thriving!

Immersing myself in this project was a full-time commitment of my talent and time, in the months leading up to May. Completing a card line was a dream! As a full-time graphic designer with other design obligations and looming deadlines, my project always became a secondary priority. Recently I read this great quote by Ray Bradbury: “You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.” It perfectly expressed my feelings about this endeavor. Attending this show motivated me to accomplish the design and presentation of 40+ greeting cards, gather feedback, and return to San Diego with a lot of creative momentum.

“What was your favorite part of the show?” I would have to say meeting all of the designers, bloggers, type-afficionados, and of course, the retailers who stopped by our booth. Everyone had a wise word to share and expressed their appreciation of my creative typography and good design. One blogger, Sonjia from bluebergitt.wordpress.com was super-complimentary and enthusiastic about my new card line and shared these kind words a few weeks ago on her blog: http://bluebergitt.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/best-of-show-rosemary-rae-design-shop/

It was also great to meet the other vendors who had booths in our row. We shared inspiration and learned more about each others’ product and businesses. I enjoyed meeting Sarah McCoy, http://www.thepermanentcollection.net, a graphic designer, who made the trip all the way from Des Moines, Iowa to present her collection of custom-designed letterpressed cards, and Monica Garrett, papercutindustries.com, a boutique wedding and event invitation designer based in Long Beach, California. Both of these women were friendly, talented and fun NSS “neighbors!”

Booth 1866 was cleverly constructed (pvc pipe painted silver with rows of taught wire to pin my cards) and we received many compliments on its simplicity and cheeriness. My cards definitely popped off the bright orange backdrop, their many colors reminding me of swirl candy! It was also an invigorating color for overwhelmed NSS buyers with fatigue! (A big thank you to Conrad Firestein, my handsome mate and partner through all of this. He was an amazing source of support, ideas and humor! I could not have done this show without him. xxoo!) Orders were written and lots of interest was generated for my unique designs.

Now I am in the midst of filling orders, developing new card designs, and completing the design of my website! And if you are reading this, watch for your happy fourth of July card!

With less than 50 days to go, I am making progress on the designs of my cards for the New York Stationery Show. Inspiration hits at the oddest hours, and it seems 3:00 am is when my brain is most active, pumping out ideas for yet more letter pressed cards. My booth design is in process — metal pipes, wire and clamps are the integral pieces; a huge 10′ x 8′ “tinker toy” as my boyfriend has referred to it. Today, looking at NY Magazine’s Design issue online, I found a gray rug with fun letters scattered across it; perfect. Now I have to figure out the logistics of picking it up in Soho and getting it to the show. On Friday, I will be creating the exterior cover of my show catalog with various size letters — a random assortment of metal and wood type. I still have to design my business cards and get the final files to my web programmer so that my card site can be built. I am surprised, though, that I am not overwhelmed by all of these tasks — it seems I have been able to navigate my priorities, week by week, and even with the month of May waving at me on the horizon, I feel confident all will be completed and look great.

 

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After a weekend of mostly work (what else is new) I finally have two days to focus on designing more greeting cards for the Stationery Show in May. There is so much joy and freedom in designing these little letterpress creations— free to create the words and images I like without client intervention! The newest card to be finished is pictured here, my little spring bird paired with playful green text. A lot of cards begin as scribbles and doodles on paper, and then I sit at my computer and begin crafting the words into a typography/collage/visual. Adding in details such as punctuation, dingbats and other little elements make it dance. Spring is a time for reinvention and I am excited about my new business venture ahead. 

New birthday cards designed by me + freshly letterpressed by Tim Butler at Quality Letterpress.

Looking forward to sending to my friends.
Should you like one, please contact me at rraedesign@gmail.com. ($7.00 each)