Will o’ the Willōughby

Willōughby Design has put their signature stamp on their new identity and stationery system. The identity celebrates both the firm’s 30th anniversary and their award-winning design barn. The stationery system puts a lot of Willōughby’s personality on paper.

The barn makes a great blind-embossed motif. It’s barely 3/8” square, and is the sole printed element on the front of the #10 envelope… with nice surprises on the back. Ann Willōughby and her team selected letterpress for all the type. “For the logo, we designed a script that emulates handwriting, as a carryover from our previous identity, for which everyone signed their names on their business cards. We wanted to keep it simple – there are so many complex identities.” By the way, the line over the o is a macron. Ann comments that Willōughby uses less letterhead than in years past, “but we like to send handwritten notes, either by themselves or with a package. Our notecard {with Willōughby at the top, barn at the bottom} fits inside our #10.” The policy-style #10 sports an orange interior.


The backs of the business cards are three different solid colors – each printed in a single letterpress pass. The coverage is deliberately imperfect – and the embossed barn from the front is de facto debossed on the back. Way wabi-sabi.

Ann offers this observation about the current market environment: “It’s critical to help clients make the most of their marketing budgets – they are willing to invest in the communications that bring tangible ROI. We start by creating a strategic brand position and simple graphic system. When it’s time for application, we work with clients to decide how to tell their story with high impact. Regardless of the communication application – exhibit, brochure, website – the identity has to be coherent. We often save clients tens of thousands of dollars by careful planning and by making strategic marketing choices.”

Willōughby {both the firm and its founder} has long been big on sustainability. You can buy a bit of the wit for yourself at www.willobag.comGotta love grocery totes with produce puns. And Willōughby’s new identity will be expanding onto the web in May.


Business card + note card: Strathmore Script, Smooth, 100% PC White, 130dtc (352 gsm)
Letterhead + #10 envelope: Strathmore Script, Smooth, 100% PC White, 80t (118 gsm)
Label: Strathmore Label, Recycled Bright White, 70t (104 gsm)
Client: Willōughby , Kansas City, MO
Designer: Nate Hardin, with collaborative input
Printer: Skylab Letterpress, Kansas City, MO, for letterpress and die-cutting. J and B Letterpress and Finishing, Kansas City, MO, for embossing.

Photo credits: Top left: Mike Sinclair  Bottom: Matthew Collins

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Comments (1)

  1. Posted by Janette Crawford on 03.23.09 at 12:37 pm

    Beautiful stationery for a beautiful company!

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