Crane's Fresh Take on Holiday Cards is a Nod to the Past, and a Look Toward the Future
Lead Brand Designer Katelyn Stetler reflects on Crane’s tradition of craftsmanship, and introduces 77 timeless designs to 2019’s holiday capsule collection.
A holiday card from Crane has always been unmistakable. The centuries-old tradition of artistry that Crane is known for — breathtaking details like blind embossing, foil stamping, letterpress printing, luxurious extra-thick cards and edge painting are all hallmarks of Crane. Each flourish is executed by hand at Crane’s facility in the Berkshires where the company has operated for over 200 years.
The care, quality and craftsmanship that goes into every Crane holiday card is obvious the moment a recipient’s fingers brush the surface, but the ubiquity of their designs has waned as demand for customizable, digital-first solutions has eclipsed traditional holiday greetings.
Crane has been offering photo cards for some time, including digitally printed cards and cards with photo mounts for small prints. But as they draw closer to their 220th year, the 2019 digital photo holiday cards represent something new for the brand: the marriage of digital and analog, both modern and nostalgic.
The line’s open-ended, minimalist designs are meant to create space for self-expression, whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Diwali, or just want to wish your friends and family a happy New Year.
Crane’s Lead Brand Designer, Katelyn Stetler, conceptualized and designed the fresh photo cards. Stetler, 27, who lives and works in New York City, has always tried to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world of design and culture, fashion and color palettes, and brought her keen eye for the interplay between tradition and trends to this line of holiday cards.
“I think holiday cards can be very traditional, but I also think there’s definitely this creative time we’re in where both ‘hipsters’ or millennials are more aware of the tangible mixed with sort of the digital world,” she said.
Millennials have a reputation not only for forgoing formalities, but for creating rich digital lives that play out publicly and are thoughtfully curated. As a millennial herself, Katelyn observes that when it comes to important milestones and the holidays, “digital outreach falls short.”
“It’s not just, ‘I’m going to post a photo on Instagram,’” she said. “It’s, ‘I’m actually going to reach out to the people who have made this year really special and show how this year went.’
“Historically, you had to plan the family photo shoot and you had to dress accordingly, which doesn’t really appeal to the younger generation. But we all have high-quality cameras right in our pockets,” Stetler continued. “You can take a photo that would make for a great holiday card in seconds.”
While Crane’s tried-and-true holiday cards, decked out in traditional, red, green, and gold, still have a place on the shelf (and in our hearts), this new line is intended to capture the imagination and serve as a canvas for customers’ most treasured moments and memories from the year.
Creating something that encompasses the nostalgia and tradition of the holiday season while embracing a new perspective requires a constant search for inspiration. Stetler drew inspiration not only from the streets of New York, but Crane’s archives, pulling timeless details from older designs.
Stetler’s 2019 collection of Contemporary Digital Photo Holiday Cards are a symphony of ample white space, delicate geometric accents, and bold typography — a nod to the past and a look towards the future of Crane.
“I’m really proud of Crane for taking a step in a new direction. It’s really fun,” Stetler said. She especially loves the luxe cards that are blind embossed and made with double-thick paper. The line is carefully paired with Mohawk papers; some on Superfine, and others on two luxurious layers of Crane Lettra.
“I love seeing all those processes come together to make a really beautiful physical product,” she said.
Conceptually, the collection celebrates universal ideas like joy, gratitude, and peace, rather than holiday-specific messaging. These distinctly modern sensibilities coupled with Crane’s signature craftsmanship make for an experience unlike any other digital holiday card on the market. Specialty printing processes like touchable blind embossing, metallic foil, and artistic letterpress elevate your holiday message.
Crane's exclusive Luxury Photo Cards are printed on 100% cotton, double-thick Lettra paper — you'll feel the difference.
“We all like to feel special and like someone’s thought about us and sent a card,” Stetler concludes. “I think the magic of that, especially around the holidays, regardless of age—I don’t think that ever goes away.”
Designer: Katelyn Stetler, New York, NY
Client: Crane & Co., North Adams, MA
Printer: Crane & Co., North Adams, MA
Paper: Mohawk Superfine Eggshell Ultrawhite 120 Cover and Crane's Lettra Fluorescent White 110 Cover, Duplexed
Mohawk’s proprietary Digital with i-Tone surface has a unique affinity for both liquid and dry toners, offering breakthrough performance on HP Indigo presses and color digital production presses using dry toner. Mohawk’s i-Tone papers have exceptional transfer, adhesion and image durability on smooth and textured papers.
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