Sometimes, an origin story starts from humble beginnings. And for our ‘hello’ notecards, it started with a simple email.
One of our Lovely Paper customers, and a lovely friend, reached out asking if I stocked such a thing as letterpress notecards. Not a wild request, but the answer was sadly no. Well, not yet anyway.
But the question helped to germinate a seed planted many years before.
Of course, I didn’t get there straight away. That would be too easy! I dug out my trusty sketchbook and sketched a bunch of ideas of what Lovely Paper notecards could be. There were lots of ideas - nature inspired, architecture inspired, simple lettering. Some of them sucked (let’s be honest), but some of them I liked. But none of them *felt* right.
So I went back to the start.
The idea for a ‘hello’ notelet had been in the back of my head for a long long time, I’d honestly just failed to do much about it! But if COVID has taught us anything, it’s just to get on with it - so I dusted the idea off and got to work.
The eagle eyed amongst you will notice there’s some similarities to something else… Our logo! I always liked the way the letters wrapped around each other and bounced off each other, and that was an idea I wanted to play with further. Back when Lovely Paper first began and I was first thinking about the handwritten notes that I send with every order, I had thought it would be fun to rearrange the letters from the logo into a simple ‘hello’ and create cards from that print.
The idea died back then because of cost and complexity - a start up business has to make compromises on things like that. I found an alternative for our handwritten 'thank yous' that worked for me, and actually I think it suits its purpose better. Which means that ‘hello’ had the space to become something else!
Image: The notelets we use to handwrite thank you notes to our customers
Even though I can quite easily churn out ideas for what a notecard could be, I’m not a graphic designer - and although I have tried to digitise my own lettering before, it is a very challenging, time consuming and for me, massively frustrating, process. So I drew the idea again, toying with sizes and positioning and the trickier than you’d expect new addition of the ‘h’.
Image: Early original sketches for 'hello'
These very sketchy sketches went to my designer to be made into a digital design that could become a printing plate. Analog to digital, then back to analog!
The next step was to find a printing partner. I reached out to Hungry Workshop, an incredible letterpress printing studio based in Melbourne. After a lovely chat with their co-founder Jenna, I knew that they were the right people to work with. Their work is remarkable, my little notecards weren’t going to challenge them at all technically, but I knew the job would be in excellent hands with the highest quality print.
It was important to me that our first Lovely Paper product was Australian made - so I love that with the notecard design done here in Sydney, the letterpress notecard print came from Melbourne and the premium envelopes are made in lovely Western Australia.
Working with Hungry Workshop, we settled on two papers - first the very cool Extract Moon, made in the UK by GF Smith. This lovely creamy coloured FSC certified stock is 380gsm so has a lovely weight and slight rigidity to it. It’s smooth to the touch, shows blind impression of letterpress beautifully and is dreamy to write on. What’s most special about it is that it’s made from recycled coffee cups!
As the second paper for the colour prints (more on those later!), we selected Mohawk’s Superfine Eggshell. This is a slightly off-white stock in 324gsm and also FSC certified. It’s archival quality so will hold your beautiful words for posterity, and has a lovely texture and finish.
I’ve always loved blind impression so was sure I wanted some of those within the job, and the creamy colour of the recycled stock was the perfect match to show it off. Choosing matching envelopes for these notecards was easy, I had my hard set on a mustard-yellow shade.
I had fallen very hard for the beautiful shape of the flaps of Peterkin’s envelopes, and as soon as my samples arrived and I saw their Amber envelope, I knew it was the one. This envelope has a fantastic texture that adds another element of luxe to the beautiful simplicity of the blind impression letterpress notecards. I swooned!
Image: One of the Lovely Paper Co.'s new notecard range (blind impression letterpress notecard with amber envelope)
The final choice was how to package up our lovely letterpress notecards and envelopes. Sustainability was important to me - I didn’t want to go down the traditional cellophane route or the typical plastic-topped boxes that you see for notecard sets in stores. After a lot of research, I settled on the deceptively simple glassine envelope - used by stamp collectors for generations! They’re white but see-through - so you can get a glimpse of the treats inside. They’re great for storing paper as they’re acid-free but importantly, they’re also completely recyclable. You can just pop them into your home recycling bin!
It’s been such a thrill as each part of the puzzle has slowly arrived - the day the prints were delivered, I got so excited, I cried!
With all the parts in place, then came the manual labour for me - assembling each one of our luxury letterpress notecard sets. Of course - these are Lovely Paper products, so we’ve matched the letterpress notecards and envelopes with our lovely luxury address labels. All tied up with our lovely monochrome twine, and cocooned inside the smooth glassine envelope.
As our very first letterpress product to launch, it feels fitting that the design is tied so tightly to Lovely Paper and where we’ve come from. We hope you love our first design as much as we do.
Our Lovely Paper Co. 'hello' letterpress notecard set with envelopes is launching this Friday, 25th September. Sign up to our mailing list to be the first to access this brand new product, and watch out for the launch email to find out more!