Crane Stationery, A Tour – Part 1

Remember the blog field trip that I took a couple of weeks ago?  Well, I’m finally ready to share photos from the trip!  A couple months ago, Crane & Co. stationery invited me to visit and tour their facilities up in western Massachusetts (near the Berkshire mountains).  In case you’re not familiar with Crane’s history, the company was founded in 1801 and has been producing cotton paper and stationery ever since – making Crane one of the oldest companies in the United States!

Crane Model Farm

We started the tour off with lunch and a discussion at the Crane Model Farm in Dalton, Massachusetts.  The Model Farm was originally the home of founder Zenas Crane and is now used for social and business functions.

Crane Tour

Of course, a Crane facility wouldn’t be complete without a display of beautiful stationery…

Crane Stationery

Crane Stationery Crane Model Farm

Crane is known for its engraved stationery and invitations (I was particularly excited to see the engraving process in person during this visit), but also offers letterpress, flat printing, and thermography.  Fun fact: Crane also makes the currency paper for the United States and several other countries.  More on that a bit later on…

Crane Stationery

Crane Stationery

Later, we moved over to the Crane Personalized Design Services center, where all custom orders – from wedding invitations to business cards to personalized holiday and greeting cards – are processed and printed.  Now we get to some of the action shots!  First up, the pre-production process – where the custom text is etched onto a copper plate in preparation for printing.

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

{the red solution is a blocking material that prevents the chemicals from etching anything other than the actual text}

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

After the blocking material is applied, the plates go into a separate room to go through the etching solution…

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

{printing can get very dirty – no matter how elegant the result!}

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

{once the copper plate has spent enough time in the etching solution, it gets washed down to remove any residual chemicals}

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

{the photo above shows what the plate looks like after it comes out from the etching solution}

Crane tries to fit as much text onto each sheet of copper, often from multiple projects.  Once the plate is fully etched, the copper sheet is cut down to the appropriate size for each individual project.

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Crane Stationery Tour Engraving

Up next, the Crane printing floor – with engraving and foil stamping in action!

{all photos by me}

*Disclaimer – Crane & Co. provided my accommodations during this visit; but this is not a sponsored post.  For more on my editorial policies, please click here.

Amy + Forrest’s Modern Illustrated Wedding Invitations

Today’s second set of real invitations comes from Amy Hardy, a freelance designer who was married in Nashville this past June!  Amy put together a fun, modern wedding invitation suite with hand lettering (and letters individually constructed from paper!) that also incorporates her husband’s background in landscape architecture.  So cool!


From Amy: I am an art director and graphic designer, and my husband Forrest is studying Landscape Architecture.  We met through a mutual friend in 2007 and got to know each other as running partners.  Once we finally started dating, our friendship quickly became romantic and real.  Within the first year of dating, we knew this was it.  On June 26, 2010 we made the promise of marriage to one another.  Our wedding was in Nashville, Tennessee.


Our wedding stationery represented our creative and detail-oriented personalities, as well as our wedding’s charming Southern summer theme.  This included save-the-dates, invitations with a belly band and RSVP card, programs, favors, signage, and thank you cards.


I considered every detail in the stationery, from the stamps to the envelope liners. After constructing individual letters out of paper, I added vine details and Delicato as a secondary typeface.




I love bright colored accents (note my husband’s bright red hair!) and hand-rendered typography, so we knew our stationery had to be typographic and colorful. Because of his blue eyes, red hair, and fun personality, Forrest wanted to wear a bright blue bow tie. That led to a bright, jewel blue as our founding color, with yellow as the accent.


Because printing was digital, we used Mohawk Via Vellum to slightly raise the type.  The paper’s subtle and soft texture also complimented the cut paper typography.


I was inspired by our unique obsessions and the details that define us as a couple.  For instance, Forrest has a plant background, so I detailed the typography with vines. For favors, we made packets of wildflower seeds.  Each packet read, “Wildflower Seeds: Please plant these to celebrate the beauty of this day.”


We had a blast at our Save the Date photo shoot, as seen in the photo we chose.

Beautiful Amy, thank you so much for sharing your wedding invitations and stationery!  For more from Amy and Forrest’s gorgeous wedding just click right here, and you can check out more of Amy’s design work right here!

{image credits: invitation photos by Amy | reception photos by Kristyn Hogan}

*Mohawk Paper is one of our fantastic sponsors; for more on our editorial policies, please click here.

Buffy + Jeff’s Twine, Cork, and Branch Wedding Invitations

Happy Monday everyone!  Now that Fall is rapidly approaching, I thought I’d start off the week with a wedding invitation suite from Kathleen that incorporate lovely rustic details perfect for Fall – including branch design elements, twine, even cork!  All in a crisp color palette of dark brown and green…


From Kathleen: Buffy assigned Jeff with the task of finding an invitation designer for their wedding.  Jeff began his search on the internet when he came across my work on Oh So Beautiful Paper, then he discovered that I live just 20 minutes down the road in Oklahoma City!


Because I do so much work with couples that live all over the world it was really fun to meet with Buffy and Jeff in person to go over the details of their invitation designs.


Buffy and Jeff are using lots of natural materials and manzanita branches in their wedding décor so I used that as my primary inspiration.  Their colors are a dark chocolate brown and green.  Buffy and Jeff also specified that they wanted a nice balance of sophisticated yet modern.


As I started illustrating branches and designing the invitations I also began thinking of ways to make the suite extra special.  I decided to duplex the linen paper used for the invitation with cork on the back.  This cork is usually used for kitchen cabinetry – fortunately, I work with a wonderful printer who is willing track down materials like this for me when I’m thinking way outside the box.


Because we were spending a good part of our budget on paper and cork, we utilized digital printing to keep printing costs down.  We then bundled the invitations with twine and used kraft paper envelopes to keep the earthy wood theme throughout the suite.


I love the use of cork as a backing material for the invitations – such a cool idea!  Thank you so much Kathleen!  You can check out more of Kathleen’s work over on her blog, and you can see more of her invitation designs in the wedding invitation gallery!

{image credits: kathleen shannon}

{happy weekend!}

Happy Friday everyone!  It’s a glorious day here in DC, so I’m taking advantage of the slightly cooler air to run a few errands and enjoy the sunshine (while it lasts!).  It’s also apple season, which feels incredibly sudden since I feel like I was just out picking blackberries a few weekends ago, but I’m hoping to find some time to go apple picking over the next couple of weeks.  Hooray for Fall!  But in the meantime…

…a few links for your weekend!

…and in case you missed it, a round-up of this week’s posts:

That’s it for me this week!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll see you all back here on Monday!

{photo via truly smitten}


Okay West Coasters, this one’s for you!  I’m sure you’ve already heard about Hitched, a fantastic curated wedding event taking place on September 23 at the Smog Shoppe in Culver City, California.  Well, my friend Audrey (of the amazing stationery store Urbanic) is one of the organizers, and she’s letting me give away a pair of tickets to this fabulous event!

Since Hitched is just around the corner, we’re going to make this a quick one – you’ll have until midnight EST on Sunday to leave a comment below, and then I’ll announce the winner on Monday!

Bonne chance!

UPDATE: Congratulations to Carissa, the Hitched giveaway winner!  The ladies from Hitched will be in touch with you shortly!