NYNOW Through the Eyes of Gus & Ruby Letterpress

Hi Everyone! I always look forward to the twice-a-year NYNOW trade show – but with my due date rapidly approaching I was sadly unable to attend the Summer 2014 NYNOW in August. Luckily, Samantha and Whitney from Gus & Ruby Letterpress – one of my favorite stationery stores in Portsmouth, New Hampshire – were planning to attend and agreed to share a few of their favorite finds from the show with us! Thanks so much ladies! –Nole

Hello Oh So Beautiful friends (see what we did there?), Sam & Whit here from Gus & Ruby Letterpress! A few weeks ago, we jetted off to NYC for a mad dash through the aisles of the NYNOW summer show in search of some rad new products for the shelves of our little shop. We walked the show for 2.5 days and found oodles of gorgeous new products that we can’t wait to share. We were writing orders like crazy and trying to visit as many new booths as we possibly could during our quick trip. Here are a few snaps of some standout booths:

Hand in Hand

This gorgeous skincare & fragrance line had us smitten with their hand-made paper-flower booth design – you know we’re suckers for some gorgeous paper blooms! The packaging of each product was just darling and the scents were divine. Even better, it’s a company with a cause: for each product sold, Hand in Hand saves 50 square feet of rainforest and donates one bar of soap and one month of clean water to a child in a developing country. Beautiful products, beautiful mission.

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Photos via Hand in Hand

Yellow Owl Workshop

Yellow Owl Workshop always puts up a awesome booth and this show was no exception. We loved their new 3-color tiny ink pad sets and the holiday-themed carve-a-stamp kit.

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Produce Candles

We’ve been carrying this fresh line of hand-poured soy candles for some time now and just can’t get enough. With new fall and winter scents on the way, it was a treat to sniff the next harvest. And it’s always so great to meet our beloved vendors in person.

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Banquet Atelier & Workshop

Banquet Workshop goodies absolutely fly off the shelves at Gus & Ruby, so we were jazzed to see the new advent calendar, monthly calendar, and some lovely new pillows and greeting cards from this talented group.

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Photo via Banquet Workshop

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Coral & Tusk

The intricate embroidery of Coral & Tusk is too good to miss. Each print and pillow is a work of art.

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Photos via Coral & Tusk

Belle & Union

We were totally digging the new recipe card boxes from Belle & Union as well as their gift wrap and cheeky cards. And let’s give it up to B&U for a super clean, cohesive booth design, too!

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Photos via Belle & Union

Haptic Lab

We had been lusting after these hand-made kite ships for some time so we were eager to see the pieces in person. The booth design was absolutely magical and the kites proved to be as lovely and whimsical as we’d hoped.

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Photo via Haptic Lab

Rebecca Atwood Designs & Light + Ladder

Oh, Rebecca, where do we even begin? Your gorgeous hand-dyed fabric pillows and bags made us weak in the knees. Please let us live in your booth? Thank you.

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Light + Ladder

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Light + Ladder / Rebecca Atwood photos via Rebecca Atwood

It was a slap-dash, so-much-to-see, exhausting trip to be sure. But, man oh man, are there some talented makers out there! We left feeling inspired and excited or what’s to come. Thank you for letting us share a teencey weency snippet of our time in NYC – we had a blast!

xoxo, Samantha & Whitney

Except where noted, photos by Gus & Ruby Letterpress

Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Hi Everyone! The ladies of Ladyfingers Letterpress were kind enough to fill in during my summer vacation last year, and this post on Arley-Rose’s signature hand lettering was one of my favorite posts that week! So I jumped at the chance when Arley-Rose volunteered to stop by with some tips and tricks for adorning your envelopes with beautiful and whimsical hand lettered addresses. Take it away ladies! –Nole

With the majority of correspondence these days taking place in the digital realm, it’s always such a treat to get something real and tangible in the mail. Heck, even before e-mail dominated our lines of communication, you knew something was really special when it arrived through your mail slot all decked out with big, beautiful lettering that you knew someone took time to carefully create. Hopefully by the end of this post you will want to sit yourself down and experiment with some of the styles shown below to make your own beautifully styled envelope addresses. –Arley-Rose of Ladyfingers Letterpress

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP8 Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

I like to think of hand-lettering as more of an “illustration using letters” more than a “trained handwriting” kinda thing, so I choose pens that give me the most control as possible. People are doing beautiful things with pointed pens and modern calligraphy these days, and I encourage you to experiment with pointed pens if you like, but for now I am going to stick the tools that I know and love.

We’ll begin our journey into the world of lettering with familiarizing ourselves with a few different lettering styles that will act as our foundation and give us some variation in style that we can draw upon throughout our lettering endeavors! Personally, I like to combine different lettering styles, fluctuating between scripts, roman, and sans-serif characters to give the piece a lot of motion and personality. Not sure what a roman character is? Read on! Have questions about the etiquette and formality of addressing your envelopes? Martha Stewart has a terrific go-to tutorial about that!

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP Roman Serif Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Roman lettering, which can also be called a “Serif,” has some of the earliest origins dating back to, well, the Romans! The word “Serif” is latin for “foot”, which makes sense when you look at the letters. See? They all have feet (except o’s)! Serifed typefaces such as Garamond or Baskerville look great as all caps and spaced out (which us type nerds refer to as “tracking”), or spelled out in both caps and lowercase with normal tracking. I sometimes like to make tall condensed roman letters if the address is really long and I need to make the most of my space. On capital As, Rs, Ns, Ys, Ks, Hs, and sometimes Gs, I like to add a little flourish, as you’ll notice on some of the envelope samples below.

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP SansSerif Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Now that you know that the word “Serif” means “foot”, naturally “Sans Serif” means “Without Feet!” Sans Serif letters were popularized in the mid twentieth century with the arrival of Helvetica, Gill Sans and Futura. I think they look great as all caps, tall and condensed! I also find that they’re easy to draw because they most closely resemble a clean, handwritten print style.

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP Script Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Now the fun part begins! Getting the hang of lettering a script might take some time to get the hang of, but here’s a secret! Write in cursive as you normally would, and then darken the strokes that should have accents. Feel free to refer to other scripts with a quick google image search to see where those accents should be. Have some fun with your script: it’s not necessary to keep a straight baseline, in fact I tend to like scripts that dance around a little bit on the page. They have more character! Ha! Get it! Character? Typography? Joke? Uhhh….. Nevermind.

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP4 Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

My favorite go-to pen is the Pigma Micron from Sakura of America. I’ve been drawing with Micron pens since I was a wee young artist, and they continue to be my favorite pen for all types of uses, especially drawing on light-colored envelopes. My size of choice is an 08 but there was a time when all I used was the smaller 03s to get a really nice fine line.

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP7 Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP10 Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Keep it classy! Sometimes a white pen is all you need to do the trick, especially on dark or brightly colored envelopes. My go-to is the White Gelly Roll 08, which gives me a nice smooth line without any breaks or clogs. I’ve found that the Metallic Silver Gelly Roll pen is also super awesome! It’s not really too sparkly, but is super opaque which is exactly what I want. I also like the Moonlight pens for an extra burst of color.

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP3 Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

Sometimes I like the swift expression that can only be found with a brush pen. When I don’t have time to whip out the gouache and brushes, the Pigma Brush pens really do the trick. They also come in  a variety of colors, so if you’re not feeling like black ink is your thing that day, you can also choose from a variety of other colors that look great on white or light colored envelopes.

Hand Lettering Envelope Address Tutorial Ladyfingers Letterpress OSBP11 Envelope Address Hand Lettering Tutorial from Ladyfingers Letterpress

The Do Not Open Lettering Project  by Erik Marinovich was recently brought to my attention by my amazing typographer friend Jeremy Mickel, and it blew my mind. It still does blow my mind. Every time I look at it. I thought I would refer to it here because it shows how creative you can be with large oversize envelopes. Besides, envelopes: they’re really just a canvas for beautiful lettering, right? Anyway, the Permapaque markers are incredible for this task. They’re nice and opaque like a paint marker without the nasty smell, and you get a huge variety of colors!

Now that you’ve seen some samples, I’d love to see what you come up with! Don’t forget to tag your work on Instagram with @beautifulpaper, @ladyfingersletterpress and @sakuraofamerica. Thanks and happy lettering!

Pens provided by Sakura of America, with awesome stamps provided by Pack & Post!

Photo Credits: Ladyfingers Letterpress

Swiss Cottage Designs: Day of Wedding Stationery Inspiration

image 4.1A Swiss Cottage Designs: Day of Wedding Stationery Inspiration

I can’t believe it’s already our final blog post of this week – time is just flying by these days. It’s been a great week posting here on Oh So Beautiful Paper! Thank you to all the lovely readers for stopping by and a big thanks to Nole for the great content. We’ve had a blast! – Courtney of Swiss Cottage Designs

Back to the paper! With the summer wedding season upon us, many of our conversations have been moving towards the topic of day of elements. What are those you ask? These are all the little bits and pieces that really help make your wedding day special. You can go traditional and create lovely menus, place cards and table numbers that match your wedding theme or you can get creative with unique cocktail napkins, tote bags, custom buttons or even rub-on tattoos. The possibilities are endless! I really believe that the day of items are almost just as important as your wedding suite. They help create the look and feel of your big day while leaving your guests with something to remember. Below are some fun ideas and inspiration for brides planning their big day:

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Photo by Edyta Szyszlo Photography via 100 Layer Cake

Coasters and matchbooks make great little take-home pieces for guests. They’re useful around the house without being cumbersome in the least and serve as a fun reminder of the special celebration.

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Photo by Hello Love Photo

Cocktail napkins make an awesome day of item. They’re the perfect blend of design and function (so long as you don’t mind them getting a little dirty!). I’ve even seen people use them as pocket squares at weddings – creative!

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Photo by Kristen Marie Photography via 100 Layer Cake

A well-styled wedding is all in the details. Custom table signage may seem like a small consideration, but goes a long way to unify the style and mood of the occasion.

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Photo by Joe Mikos

Welcome bags are a lovely gift and greeting to guests who have come from near and far. They also establish the tone of the festivities to come. A personalized tote, travel mug, water bottle and custom map of the area are just a few of the items you can include.

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Photo by Joe Mikos

I love this idea – fly your flag high and proud on your big day! Banners are an adorable day of addition, especially for outdoor tented occasions. Plus, they can serve as a signal to guide a wayward guest back towards the party!

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Photo by Max Wagner via 100 Layer Cake

People always say your wedding day will fly by and they’re right! This great idea takes the standard guest book to the next level with credit card sized photos and personal messages. Re-living your guests excitement and well wishes is a priceless gift.

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Photo by Trent Bailey

Guests may not notice every detail, but you can bet they’ll be looking at the menu! Such a key part of the reception is a perfect place to provide both information and continue the aesthetic of the celebration. This menu was designed so you can place the napkin over the content but the pattern still pops out on the sides.

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Photo by Hello Love Photo

Tote bags make an excellent day of item. Guests will inevitably have lots of bits and bobs to carry around during the weekend and will appreciate the extra help. I personally like making the design more neutral so guests are able to use it after the wedding weekend.

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Photo by Weddings by Two

Remember how fun it was to put on temporary tattoos when you were a kid? Now you can bring that awesomeness to your big day! Tattly has tons of fun designs to choose from for weddings of all kinds. I made custom ones for my big day and they were for sure the sleeper success of my wedding.

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Photo by Weddings by Two

I love when a favor is something that your guests can use again and again, it makes it worth the effort! I’m obsessed with mugs and created custom ones for my wedding favor. Perfect for coffee, tea, or water on those days when everything else is in the dishwasher. Your guests will always remember your big day when they use it.

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Photo by Weddings by Two

As a teenager, pins were arguably the best way to let everyone know what we liked, from music to brands. Guests can don these little guys are the reception or take them home for later. We used them to break up “Groom” vs. “Bride” (though some guests picked Switzerland to be neutral).

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Photo by Joe Mikos

 Programs are one of the most traditional day of elements. I am all about making pieces that will work for you again. I like to make the investment count! If you do an illustrated program, you’ll have this art as a way commemorate your big day for years to come.

We hope these ideas have your creative ideas flowing! Thank you again for letting us share our two cents over here on Oh So Beautiful paper, see you next time!

{images via their respective sources}

Getting Started in the Stationery Industry

image 3.1 Getting Started in the Stationery Industry

When I was first starting out with my business, I would frequent different design blogs for inspiration and guidance on the industry. I’m lucky to be in Brooklyn with so many other talented designers. Being part of that community was amazing but it’s still tough going solo! I thought it’d be fun to share some tips on getting started in the stationery industry today. Now, I’m certainly no expert and am always learning more and more as each day passes, but below are a few things I’ve picked up over the last few years that might help inspire some of the young talent out there! – Courtney of Swiss Cottage Designs

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1. Have a plan: I know this sounds pretty basic and obvious but it’s surprisingly challenging. Decide what your end game is and how you want to get there. It’s so easy to get distracted and quickly drawn off course which is why it’s important to identify your strengths that set you apart and then really make them work for you. Once you’ve established the big picture of where you’re headed, you can start to hone in on smaller details and little side projects. It’s certainly easy to get overwhelmed by everything, but I’ve found having a solid plan and really sticking to it helped me greatly in the early days.

2. Reach out & ask for help: Don’t feel like you have to do it all on your own. When I made the decision to go out on my own, I reached out to other designers in the area who were all were so incredibly helpful and supportive. Their amazing work and kind words inspired me even more to pursue my goal. A community is key! I’ve met some great friends this way. It’s fun to chat with people who understand what you’re going through and who have been there themselves. Also, ask for help! I used to think staying up late and trying to do everything myself was me hustling, when in fact it was the exact opposite! I was tired all the time and burning out at a rapid pace. Have friends and family help you in the beginning and when you get more established, hire help! It makes everything so much better.

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3. Have the resources: Nailing down vendors and resources ahead of time is big. It’s important to have vendors who you can trust and that you work well with. With the paper industry, your printer becomes your best friend. Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify and have different vendors for different items and timelines. I find that keeping my options open helps alleviate stress! I really love working with local vendors which is why we get most of our goods right here in New York City. Any extra bits and bobs we try to source off small Etsy shops.

4. Expect to make mistakes: As much as we all wish we were perfect, we ain’t. Believe me you when I say, expect to make mistakes! Nothing makes your stomach drop like seeing a typo on your final printed pieces. Oye! But it happens. It’s how you handle the mistake that will make you better. Take a deep breath and then focus on the solution. There’s no going back in time, so it’s best to keep your eye on the prize and keep moving forward.

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5. Know Your Audience: You can’t appeal to everyone, it’s just not possible. Know the kind of clients and customers you want to appeal to and cater to them. I’m not very traditional, so I know requests for a more classic style of work aren’t always in my wheelhouse. Every time I try to create work like that, I always come up short. That’s why it’s best to know what you do well, stick to it, and trust that the rest will fall into place.

Photo Credits: Swiss Cottage Designs

Swiss Cottage Designs: A Peek at Our Process

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Every designer has a unique method that works for them. With so many different ways to arrive at the final product, there is always room for experimenting with different styles, supplies and ideas; it’s all about trial and error. Illustration is a process that is near and dear to my heart. I studied illustration at Syracuse University and it’s been the consistent force in my life (sorry flair jeans). I thought I’d share our illustration process here and give you a few tips on how we go about our projects. – Courtney of Swiss Cottage Designs

This one is a fun one: it was a crest for a client’s wedding invitation suite. Her last name is Buck and his last name is Scott, so they wanted to play off that and personify drawings of a deer and scottie dog to represent them. I was in love with this idea right from the get-got! Here is how we started Marie’s crest.

Tools

Every good project starts with your most tried and trusted tools. The ones shown here were not all used for this project but I thought I’d share a few of our favorites:

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1. Pentel Brush Pens: I bought these while in London recently and they blew me away. They are amazing for loose sketches and lettering.

2. Poketo Ballpoint Pens: I couldn’t go a day without these guys. They have a fine point and make marking up proofs pretty neat and tidy.

3. Micron Pens: The amount of Micron pens I have is unhealthy. I color code them with Washi tape so I know which points work better than others.

Step 1: After I get my supplies sorted out, I like to start with sourcing a few inspiration images. While the internet can be both blessing and a curse (who hasn’t fallen down a Pinterest black hole before?), it’s a wonderful resource to get started! I always remind myself that I don’t have to create in a vacuum. If I’m struggling to draw a deer, a million source images are only a few clicks away. One of the lessons I’ve had burned in my mind from college was photographic reference. It helps bring a certain likeness to the drawings.

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Step 2: Next, I sketch out a few options in my sketch book. I love using Straedtler pencils, I find they erase nice and clean so I don’t end up with a muddy mess before it’s all over. If you find yourself at an art supply shop, there are loads of options for leads, colors, weights, etc. so you can find what works best for you and your drawing style.

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Step 3: Once I’m happy with the sketches, I’ll redraw them on vellum tracing paper using micron pens. Micron pens come in every thickness and weight under the sun, so I never have trouble creating the line style I’m after. Line weight change is key! The beauty of this step is that is allows me to add or subtract anything I wasn’t wild about from the original sketch.

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Step 4: Next I head over to my trust scanner! This little guy is key in the whole process. While I love digital illustration, nothing beats drawing by hand. Without my scanner, I wouldn’t be able to translate anything to digital. I scan in each image at a high resolution and always in black and white as I find it maintains the line integrity better.

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Step 5: Now that everything has been scanned, I can start working with color and placement. When I draw, I tend to illustrate everything in smaller pieces. This provides more flexibility in terms of adding, subtracting, or moving elements around. If I drew everything in one large image, it’d be more difficult to edit it down the road. Photoshop brushes are my best friend! It’s astounding how many textures and styles you can achieve using them. For this particular project, I’m looking for a softer, watercolor wash effect. This is the really fun part as it allows for experimentation. If I don’t like it, I can always undo or delete the layer.

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And finally (drum roll!) I’m all done and ready for the client to have a look.

image 2.7 Swiss Cottage Designs: A Peek at Our Process… an illustration from start to finish! Some days I might bust out the watercolors or my trusty brush pens depending on the project, but it’s always great to experiment with what works best for you and refine your process as you learn. It’s always a lot of fun and very exciting to see the end result.

Photo/Image Credits: Swiss Cottage Designs