Q&A with Cassie & Christine of I’ll Know It When I See It

Q: You met in design school – at the time, what were your career goals?

A: Despite varying career goals at the time, our common interest in design led us to meeting in school. Our program encompassed Interior Design, Graphic Design, Visual Merchandising, and Special Events and it was really appealing to be able to learn some of everything. At the start, Cassie was actually more interested in visual merchandising, and she was glad she explored other design disciplines because it turns out she liked graphic design much more. For Christine, it was more about augmenting a career in marketing but similar to Cassie, graphic design was much more exciting and interesting to pursue!

Q: When did you know you wanted to start your own line?

A: Neither of us set out to! We walked the One of a Kind Show one year when it was in Vancouver and we saw some other card makers there – and we suppose that’s what inspired us to start. If others can do it, why can’t we? Even back then, we both were paper goods fanatics, and both gravitated towards funny and sarcastic cards. We felt there was a lack of snarky cards available and thought that we could fill the gap.

Q: Tell us a bit about your design process. How do you collaborate?

A: It starts with figuring out what occasion or product we want to work on. From there, Cassie usually brainstorms the copy (a.k.a. the snarky words) and comes up with a long list for Christine to consider. We both pick our favourites and we refine the list some more. Once that’s fairly solidified, Christine takes over creating multiple mood boards for inspiration, and sketches out ideas that get refined through several rounds of design. This isn’t set in stone. Sometimes, one of us will get stuck so the other will take over or if inspiration strikes, we’re happy to let the other lead the way. For example, the two things Cassie currently does design and takes the lead on are the wine tags and the calendar. We naturally fell into this arrangement and it works for us!

Q: We think your cards are hilarious! Where do you draw inspiration from?

A: Everyday life. Our friends, family and strangers on occasion. People say and do really funny things and we’re just there to observe and listen. We think one of the reasons why our cards strike such a chord with people is because they are relatable and we simply highlight the humour we all experience.

Q: When you’re not creating slightly snarky greetings, you design custom wedding invitations. What do you enjoy about this work?

A: We’ve been so lucky to have such great wedding clients. Cassie actually takes care of all this work as Christine’s passions mainly revolve around growing our card business. But what Cassie really enjoys about this other side of the business is meeting clients who love design too and want their stationery to be more than ordinary and a reflection of their taste. It’s such a collaborative process and it’s fantastic to work with people who trust Cassie as a professional and are open to a shared vision that puts creativity and design at the forefront.

Q: Any dream projects that you’d like to work on?

A: We would love to work on collaborations that see our snarky sentiments and design aesthetics on products other than paper. It’d be super fun to explore what that may be. Other than that, it’s already pretty dreamy to be running our own paper goods company!

I’ll Know It When I See It is a studio based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We create sweet and slightly snarky paper goods such greeting cards, calendars, prints, notebooks, notepads and more. We also specialize in wedding stationery for soon-to-be-marrieds who demand, and deserve, something better than typical.So, who’s ‘we’? It’s us! Christine Chee + Cassie Leung. People ask us all the time if we’re sisters (we’re not). In design school (where we met), teachers mixed us up constantly. Fair enough, we really are two peas in the same design pod. Sometimes, it’s like we share the same brain, which is handy for designing and running a business together.We started our studio because we had a hard time finding greeting cards we were excited to give. Lots were too sappy and girly. Many weren’t funny. Like the three little bears, they just weren’t quite right (for us). So we set out to create our own and trusted there would be others out there who, like us, wanted something different.We combine clean and modern design that’s typographically driven with our snarky and sarcastic perspective on life. Sometimes we do sweet, too. Truly, at the heart of every creation is a little piece of us, and we hope that our products are the answer to any shopper who, when asked what they’re looking for, say, “I’ll know it when I see it”.