Q&A with Aparna of Green Bean Studio

  Q: We love your illustrations  – where do you draw inspiration for your drawings? A: Thanks! The funny thing is I can’t pin point to any particular source, it’s really random… I’ve had ideas that stemmed from things I saw on a long bus ride, a walk in the park, a trip to the grocery store, while cooking… I always keep a diary handy to jot these ideas down. There have been times when I’ve requested my husband remind me of the ideas I mumbled mid-sleep 😀 Our new Raccoon love card is an example of that.     Q: What comes first – the illustration or the sentiment?  A: It’s usually the sentiment that sparks a series of scribbles and thumbnails  – and sometimes during these image brainstorming sessions, I end up illustrating something that sparks a strong sentiment.     Q: In addition to illustrating cheery animals, monsters and more, your sentiments are hand lettered. How have you developed your lettering style? A: I’ve always been fascinated how calligraphers and typography artists are able to emote certain feelings, draw attention to specific parts of a phrase – by playing with placement, font type and font combinations. Since most of my cards have a phrase along with the illustration – I try many different types of lettering styles to compliment the illustration and sentiment. Through trial, error and practice, I have built a library of sorts overtime of personal lettering styles that I pick and choose from.     Q: You’ve recently added recipe journals to your line. What is your favorite thing to cook? A: Chicken...

Q&A with Lesley of Swell Made Co.

  Q: What led you to create your own line of stationery and pretty gift items? A: After years of working as a graphic designer and art director, I finally found my signature design style. 3 years ago, I felt a push to finally pull it all together and jump into creating Swell Made Co. It’s a perfect extension of the creative work I’ve done for over a decade. Everything I love is represented in my paper goods and I am beyond happy to share them with my customers. They’re swell. Q: Please tell us about a memorable piece of snail mail that you’ve sent or received. A: As a teen I moved far away from my family and friends and snail mail is what kept me connected for years. I would write to my grandmother and best friend most frequently. There was nothing better than opening the mail box to find my grandmother’s delicate handwriting on her adorable choice of stationery, or a post card from my best friend’s travels abroad. This connection to snail mail has definitely inspired my own line of stationery and a continued love of the handwritten message.   Q: We love the simplicity and elegance of your designs. What made you decide to limit your colour palette to while, black and gold? A: I value simplicity in design, so it was an easy choice for me. It’s understated and beautiful. Less is more, but with a little bit of gold and wit. Keeping a simple palette and design aesthetic may seem restrictive to some, but for me it feels like a challenge to explore how far it can go. So far,...

Q&A with Alexia & Natasha of Foxhat

  Q: Foxhat is more than stationery – it’s a lifestyle brand. Please tell us about the inception of Foxhat and what made you and Alexia start the brand. A: Alexia and I started Foxhat as a result of being creatively unsatisfied at our job. We met in advertising and soon realized it wasn’t the place for us. The idea itself was conceived over a beer on a patio, but we tossed around several similar ideas before landing on what it is today. It actually took us about a year to get into motion.   Q: We love your designs – where do you draw inspiration for your illustrations? A: We typically draw inspiration from pop culture but also try to be aware of whats trending season to season. Our style is a mixture of whit and charm as we tend to illustrate  things based on what makes us happy hoping it will do the same in return. I think what contributes to our inspiration is that we both work full-time as commercial designers so Foxhat tends to be a result of the things we can’t accomplish in our day job. It’s an outlet for us explore new ideas. Q: What is the most memorable piece of snail mail you’ve sent or received? Alexia: A direct mail piece by a major telecommunication company, commenting on my appearance without addressing me by name. It was “Hottie of the house”. Funny but also terrifying. Natasha: When I was younger, maybe grade 3? I was part of a chain letter and at the time I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Every few weeks I...

Q&A with Doris of Love Lettering

Q: Please tell us a bit about your lettering journey. A: Love Lettering began in early 2014 when I decided to leave my full time job and try to make a creative living because I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my daughter Melody who was 2.5 at that time. Having graduated from OCADU in illustration, what I knew was that I loved illustrating letters the most.  Not only were they beautiful, they were functional AND there was an infinite varieties of type.  I had to think long and hard about who would need my service and it was very obvious that there was a great possibility in the wedding and event industry, and the restaurant/hospitality industry.  Along with using my hand lettering as a service for hire, I also use it as inspiration to create products that make lettering a bit easier, or stationery that I sell in handmade markets. Q: What are some tips you’d give someone just starting out? A: I think that it is so very important to not be afraid to talk to people, join creative groups, reach out for advice.  Also have a clear vision of what it is you want to achieve and your path to get there, not saying you cannot stray off that path, but having a direction is super important.  It keeps you from wandering aimlessly.  Also, TRY TRY TRY to be as creative as possible, with Instagram and the internet, it may seem really easy to just copy or make something similar to others, but that will not set you apart, you will only stand out...
September Letterbox Reveal

September Letterbox Reveal

We hope you are enjoying your second quarterly Q&A Letterbox! We have such fun putting each letterbox together. We were excited to be able to include a great tool to help you address your envelopes in style – Love Lettering’s envelope address template – created by designer Doris after addressing loads of envelopes with her gorgeous calligraphy. We know you love mail as much as we do, so we asked Lesley of Swell Made Co. to design one of her super cute key tags for us. And, we included a set of lunchbox notes too! We know that the cards we included this month will bring a smile to their recipients. Clockwise from the top right, we have Love Lettering’s address template, Hubbub Paper Co.’s “You Rule” card, paper ephemera from Michelle Mackintosh, Swell Made Co.’s notecards and key tag, Foxhat’s “eye love u” card and Green Bean Studio’s “Birthday Cake Recipe” card. Don’t forget to read our Q&As with our designers. Learn more about featured designers, their inspiration and creative process. Sign up by November 10th to receive the holiday...

Q&A with Emily of Cabin Journal

Q: We love your vintage aesthetic – please tell us about some of the inspiration for your designs.  A: Thank you! Antique and vintage shows are my favourite hunting grounds for sources of inspiration; there was such an attention to aesthetic details then that I find is lost today. The most mundane objects and products were given beautiful tins alive with florals and scrollwork, gold accents and gorgeous typography. I collect milk glass (which inspired the Milk Glass Tea Towel) and am currently researching vintage tins for some upcoming products. I think risograph printing lends a the perfect vintage feel to anything it prints because of its delicate visible benday dot that mimics those found on old lithograph prints.   Q: Your colour palette is gorgeous, at once muted and bright, and stunning colour pairings – how do you select your colours? A: Printing risograph can be a blessing and a curse – there are limited flat colours to print with, but with overlaying the colours the possibilities can be endless. There are colours I am naturally drawn to, colours like fresh grass greens, blush pinks, bright poppy reds, blues. I tend to use those colours a lot.   Q: Nature features heavily in your designs. What are some of your favourite spots to visit and sketch? A: I have two favourite places, both of which are out of the city. A few hours north of Toronto my family has a farm; there are apple trees and bee hives, bubbling creeks, thick forests and fields of wildflowers in the summer. A lot of projects are dreamed up there first,...

Q&A with Grace Song

  Q: Please tell me what sparked your interest in lettering and calligraphy. A: I’ve always been drawn to beautiful lettering and calligraphy but it didn’t occur to me that I could learn the skills myself until the summer of 2015.  While surfing online one day shortly after the summer holidays started (I am a full-time elementary school teacher), I came across someone’s beautiful wedding calligraphy and in an instant I knew that now was the time to learn.  I had the luxury of having time off of work to really delve into this new skill and took advantage of it.  After more Googling, I came across artists who used different tools like brush pens and the pointed pen and realized that there were a slew of tutorials and helpful information that I could learn from.  Although I intended to start with the pointed pen, I thought using brush pens were more approachable so I started with those and never looked back.  The more I got into it, the more I was exposed to different styles, from traditional to modern, created with different tools and on different mediums.  The idea that I could take this learning in different directions and as far as I would like to take it, really excited me.     Q: What made you decide to invest the time to nurture your love of lettering and develop your own style?  A: When I first started learning, I found Nina Tran (@anintran) and Sharisse DeLeon (@piecescalligraphy) on Instagram and they had just made an announcement about creating a daily alphabet challenge and, thus, @handletteredabcs was born. ...

Q&A with Litsa of That Sky Blue

Q: Please tell us a bit about your stationery journey – what inspired you to create That Sky Blue? A: It was probably more than one single inspired moment that led me to quit my job and start something unusual and risky.  My inspiration mainly comes from the ability to be as creative as I want to be and perhaps show people something they may have never otherwise known much about…letterpress. Q: What appeals to you about the process of letterpress? A: Seeing my designs on the computer is cool but having the ability to use my hands to manoeuvre these machines that are over 100 years old in order to make my designs come to life…that’s an incredible feeling. Q: What do you think makes sending and receiving greeting cards special? A: There’s something about the human touch that can never be replaced by technology. I think we crave personalized experiences that matter. Q: Please share one of your own snail mail memories with us. A: One of my best friends during college took some time off to backpack through Europe. He would send me postcards and lengthy letters from each city and country he visited. I remember running to the mailbox every morning waiting for his next letter, excited to read about his new adventures. I still have those letters to this day. Q: Where do you draw inspiration for your designs from? A: Peers, family, travel…there are no restraints as to what or who I draw inspiration from to turn a thought into a design. I often tune out and focus on my own thoughts for a...
June Reveal

June Reveal

Our first quarterly letterbox! We hope you are enjoying your first quarterly Q&A Letterbox! We were so excited to be able to include Michelle Mackintosh’s Snail Mail book – we hope that you are inspired as you flip through the pages. We love being part of a community of people that enjoy sending love and kind words, penned by hand. We enjoyed collaborating with Toronto-based calligrapher Grace Song on the creation of a custom card. And, as always, we loved seeking out stationery that we thought you’d like – and that says summer. Clockwise from the top right, we have That Sky Blue‘s  “Shell Phone” card, Jonesy‘s “Hi” card and paper pen,  Cabin Journal‘s risograph printed postcards, and a custom card created by Grace Song for Q&A. And, of course, Michelle Mackintosh‘s book, Snail Mail. Don’t forget to read our Q&As with our designers. Learn more about featured designers, their inspiration and creative process. Sign up by August 16th to receive the September...

Q&A with Nina Jones of Jonesy

Q: What inspired you to create a line of stationery? A: I love stationery! Although starting a stationery company wasn’t planned, it has certainly become a passion and part of me. The tradition of writing and sending a handwritten note has always been a part of my life. I still have letters from my grandmother, my parents, sister, my friends, and my boyfriend (now husband).These are special little reminders of moments in time, and I am thrilled to be able to provide the canvas for someone to create a memory. Q: How do your greeting cards move from kernel of an idea to finished paper product? What is your process? A: My background in Anthropology gives me the desire to really connect to someone with a memory or feeling a card will give them.  This is what gives me pleasure in designing. There is no rhyme or reason to my madness! Q: Please tell us about a memorable piece of snail mail you’ve sent or received.  A: One memorable piece of mail was a handmade card that a friend sent when our cat Mr. Thomas died. My friend had taken the time to dig into her daughters construction paper and created a card with Mr. T on it, and let us know that she was thinking of us. I loved it. The kids loved it. We loved it.  I still have it… such an amazing piece of awesomeness. Q: You are committed to social goodness. What made you decide to donate 15% of each sale to the Canadian Cancer Society? A: I love to give back, and cancer is affecting too many...