On the Wire: Holiday Cards
Any holiday card that wishes to be truly extraordinary to the eye and touch starts with a great visual, but the quest doesn’t stop there. Many, many times I’ve swooned for a piece of stationery online, only to encounter it in person and find it rather lackluster.
To really have an outstanding design, every element — including and especially the paper — needs to elevate the imagery and really let it blossom. So, just in time for your own holiday card shopping, I’ve compiled selections from a quintet of makers, big and small, that are sure to put those other cards on the mantle to shame. All choose the Mohawk stock best suited to their work and brand— and I think you’ll be surprised at the many different reasons behind their decisions.
Recent transplants to Little Falls, New York, from Brooklyn, Huckleberry Press made the Mohawk switch for their entire range in early October — but that doesn’t stop them from being one of their biggest fans. “We met a Mohawk rep at National Stationery Show and she really turned us onto the Superfine line. We ended up settling on 130# Superfine Eggshell Ultra White for our entire wholesale line,” described Justin Reynolds, who runs the press with wife Emily. “We were having trouble with consistency with our previous vendor. We like extra-thick stock that is extremely pure and doesn’t have any inconsistencies, and it seems like Superfine will be our match going forward. “
“We’re also bringing it on as our more economical option for custom letterpress business cards,” he continued. “We love cotton paper, but sometimes the price point is really tough when doing custom work or long greeting card runs.”
The fact that Mohawk is nearby is huge for them, Justin finished. “Mohawk is in Cohoes, New York, only about an hour and fifteen minutes from us. This means that a majority of our products will be (for the most part) made in New York State.”
Since its founding in 2007, Minted has turned the industry upside-down with its crowdsourced approach to stationery — and now gifts! — created by its diverse community of independent artists and designers from all 50 states and over 60 countries.
However, their digitally printed products share a common element, other than cutting-edge design. The secret sauce here is Minted’s signature paper, a specially formulated version of Mohawk Superfine, the company’s Yasmin Imam told me.
E. Frances Paper
Creations from this trio of two sisters and a cousin have created a special stationery niche thanks to the range’s distinctive looks and sweet, homespun air, especially well-suited for the holidays. “We love our Mohawk Via Felt,” Creative Director Ali Flippin told me. “All our designs originate from hand-painted watercolor paintings, so we want holding one of our cards to feel like one is holding a little painting. The Via really provides that feeling of a high-end, substantial little piece of art.”
Langley & Co.
Fellow NYU grad Liz Langley of Langley & Co. is a painter and photographer whose travels and family life color much of her work. She uses Printswell for her cards — and Printswell uses Superfine.
“I love how smooth and bright it is. My painted artwork prints on it fantastically well, true to color and detail, and it’s also a pleasure to write on. From an environmental standpoint, I appreciate that it’s an FSC-certified paper and that Mohawk offsets its electricity use by buying windpower credits.”
For those who like their stationery with Asian flair, there’s Toronto’s Gotamago. The name itself combines “go-cco” (a self-contained Japanese printing press) + “tamago” (the Japanese word for egg as well as a reminder of our perfect impermanence). Founder and Designer Lichia Liu emigrated from Taiwan to Canada at age seven, and her love of travel, urban spaces and wordplay characterizes her illustrations.
“We’ve used Mohawk Via Felt from the very beginning,” she told me. “I was drawn to Via mostly for its subtle, pleasing texture. Our designs are all original ink-and-watercolor illustrations, and I loved (how) Via Felt’s grooves and ripples resemble that of watercolor paper. This texture, combined with Via’s beautiful weight and finish, enhances the printed illustrations and make them come alive — so much so that we’re often asked whether the cards are original drawings!”