How We Came up with Cards for Men
November 11th, 2012

Sometimes, it’s the smallest things that inspire us. Our new card collection for men happened to get its start from a cocktail napkin.

Though not just any napkin (see above). A martini glass, hand-stitched on a fine linen napkin, with an olive the single pop of color — the kind of simple chic design we love. (Though we can claim no credit for finding them; instead, these charming napkins arrived with a particularly generous dinner party guest.)

So when we started building the mood board for men’s cards, the cocktail napkin was one of the first items we pinned (see it in the top left hand corner). It was joined by images of dandy accessories, Mad Men suits, and 60’s movie icons like Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.

Inspired by the cognac leather jacket that Steve McQueen folds around Natalie Wood (top middle image of our mood board), we decided upon a rich, luxe color story of burgundy, olive and navy, accented with metallic silver ink (anniversary card, above).

The elegant martini glass naturally found its way onto its own birthday card (above).

To distinguish this line of cards, we printed them on a premium, textured paper and — because these are men who discern the details — splashed out on envelopes with deckled edges (see above).

Finally, we designed a trio of small note cards. The debonair icons — cufflinks, bow-tie and martini — and the “stitched” border detail are meant to evoke, no surprise here, a cocktail napkin. (Easy personalization idea: run these through any home inkjet printer to put a name or initials on them.)

And forgive us for leaping into a holiday frame of mind already, but this little box of 10 notecards (just $12.95) is a pretty swell stocking stuffer for men. Find them at select retail outlets, or order them online here.

Coastal Living in Palm Beach
October 29th, 2012

Since Palm Beach is, after all, an island, the idea of coastal living is second nature to us. This view of the Australian Dock, with its sleek white boats twinkling in the waters of the Intracoastal waterway (above, photographed just this morning), is one we count ourselves lucky to see every day.

So we were delighted when the editors of Coastal Living magazine found us, many months ago, in the crowded, and rather less sun-dappled, waters of the National Stationery Show at the Javits Center in New York.

Now here we are at last, with the new issue on our shores (photographed on sandy Palm Beach, above), and our card featured in their wrap-up of the best nautical-themed stationery (below).

Perhaps you can spot the bright blue and red J.Falkner card in the center of the page (above).

Our Lifesaver Thank You cards are available at fine stores across the country, including our fave local shop, Stationer on Sunrise here in Palm Beach. And naturally you can also find them at our online shop here.

A Little Lace Dress Becomes a Birthday Card
October 5th, 2012

Sometimes, we just get a feeling. And what we’ve been feeling lately is … Lace. Yes, that’s lace with a capital L, if the recent runways and red carpets are anything to go by. We’ve been pinning tearsheets of lovely lace dresses for the last few months (see our mood board above, featuring Jennifer Lopez, and fashion from Louis Vuitton, Valentino and Dolce Gabbana), thinking there must be a card in there somewhere.

After all, if we promise to be the card company that really delivers the latest fashion trends — and we do — we have to get down with lace.

The new approach to lace that makes it modern sees it being used as a overlay against a solid, often vibrant, color. Erdem, the talented young Canadian designer based in London, is proving a master at this, with fans such as Kate Middleton (top left) and, most recently, Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery (right).

We were inspired to create a similar effect with our design. We wanted the lace to appear like a drape of fabric over the rich pink panel, much like Michelle’s dress. Ok, now we have the visual — what about the words?

Think of lace, and the first thought that probably comes to mind is sexy. Which is not a word that sits immediately on our list of chic, witty card words. So we pondered, and discussed. Until finally someone exclaimed, with a measure of exasperation: “Surely no one would ever really mind being called sexy?”

So there you have it: Happy Birthday, Sexy. We hope you won’t mind receiving this card.

(This card is fresh from our brand new collection of greeting cards that mix up the latest fashion trends. Lipstick kisses, leopard patterns, and python prints — each is paired with a gold metallic envelope. Have a quick look at them here.)

A Fishers Island outpost for J.Falkner Cards
August 26th, 2012

While normally we try not to indulge the green-eyed serpent, we confess to being a bit jealous that our cards may be having a more glamorous summer than we are.

The cards that were delivered to a cool restaurant/boutique nestled in the Napa Valley? Sure, we’d love to join for a glass of crisp Chardonnay. Or the shipment that just went to Alaska last week? We, too, are raring for adventure in the northernmost state.

But for sheer exclusivity, the cards that flew to Fishers Island, NY (above), set a high bar. Fishers Island, situated at the entrance of Long Island Sound, is the kind of classic high-WASP-at-leisure place that seems staged by Wes Anderson, with quirky locals, rustic-chic amenities, and a collection of windswept lighthouses. Or so we hear — unlike our cards, we’ve never been.

Fortunately, our cards are keeping fine company in Fishers Island. They are staying at the CJ Laing store (above), a great Palm Beach label (see their fabulous stuff here) that popped up on Fishers Island for the summer season.

We adore the easy, beachy look that they created for the store. A stand-out is the wonderfully sculptural counter (above), made by the designers themselves, from driftwood collected nearby.

When CJ Laing approached us about selling J.Falkner cards in their pop-up store, our enthusiasm got the best of us. Not only did we design some cards exclusively for them (above), we also created a logo that they used on hangtags and signage (below). What can we say? We just can’t resist a good nautical theme.

While some cards were a limited release for Fishers Island, we have a nautical collection available at retailers across the country, and here online.

Embracing Our Inner Chic
August 7th, 2012

When we first starting talking about what we wanted our cards to be, a word that came up often was chic. But, for some reason, we were reluctant to go right out and say it.

Maybe it was memories of watching focus groups stumble over the word: on magazine covers, “cute”, “pretty”, and “hot” appealed, while “chic” did not. Particulary when it was often pronounced as — truth, readers, truth — “chick”.

Or perhaps we were swayed by British fashion designer Sir Hardy Amies’ famous pronouncement: “There’s something cold and rather cruel about chic.” So instead we talked up color (which we love), modern (which we are) and graphic (ditto). And kept chic to ourselves.

No longer! Since we can’t afford focus groups anyway, and also feel poor Hardy might have been embittered by his long years as the Queen’s dressmaker, we have decided to shout chic loud and proud.

So here it is, our new tagline (see our new landing page, below). After all, given the choice, who wouldn’t want to send something chic?

Dot Mania from Marc Jacobs — and from us, too!
July 18th, 2012

Fashion can be a fickle thing to predict, but generally you can be sure that wherever Marc Jacobs leads Louis Vuitton — the giant fashion house that he designs — legions of fashionistas are sure to follow. Check out the new windows at the LV flagship in New York (above), and get ready for a summer of spots.

Polka dots have long been a favored motif in Jacobs’ fashion collections, so it was only a matter of time before he hit upon a collaboration with the dotty queen of spots herself, Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (above, arriving at the launch party in New York last week). Learn a bit more about her, here.

This summer, her arresting, lady-bug patterns will be found on everything Vuitton from shoes to skirts to bags to sunglasses (that’s actually a waxwork of her in one of the windows, above, with a bag from the new collection).

To cap it off, Jacobs is putting out a new perfume of his own this month, called – what else – “Dot” (see the bottle, above).

But enough about MJ and LV, how about JF? Well, we’re in the spot game, too. We’ve always loved the cheerful, graphic appeal of dots, and as we drew and doodled for inspiration earlier this summer (see our original idea sketch, above), a whimsical spot-saying leaped to mind — and became a card.

So there you have it. “You knock the spots off everyone else” — our new anniversary card just happens to be on-trend. And we’re hoping to create more spotted cards soon. After all, as Marc Jacobs once sagely opined, “I don’t think there is ever a wrong time for a polka dot.”

Nautical Summer Dreaming
July 2nd, 2012

As July 4th races towards us, and temperatures edge past 100 degrees across the country, our minds inevitably turn to thoughts of the sea. After all, is there anything that better sweetens a summer than being at the beach?

So it’s no surprise that one of our most popular boards on Pinterest (yes, we’re addicted — check out all our boards at JFalkner Inspire) was our collection of Nautical Themes.

Many of these images (a selection, above) coalesced into cards: anchors, lifesavers, a red-striped bikini, the crisp color combo on a J.Crew bag … and everywhere a rich cyan blue, deep as the sea.

We’re delighted to introduce our new “Nautical & Nice” collection: a boldly colored thank you (above left), a birthday card full of summer spirit (above right) and a devoted pair of fish for an anniversary (below). Blue, white and a punch of red were the only colors we needed.

For this collection, we also spoiled ourselves with a new font. Sitting on the charming side of whimsy, the ropey ligatures of Memimas are also a wink at the nautical theme of these cards.

(And here’s a did-you-know for font fans: Memimas, now a darling of indie fashion labels and invitation designers, was originally created as the standard typeface to teach French school children proper handwriting. Amusant, non?)

Of course, not all nautical is created equal, so for these illustrations we went to our chicest source: London-based fashion illustrator Adrian Valencia (see his delightful portfolio here). In fact, we were so charmed by his work, we couldn’t resist going one step further with this collection and creating a little trio of Nautical Notes (above), with wavy-edged frames and light sea-blue envelopes.

If only we didn’t need to save the stock for our stores (it’s already one of our most popular new releases), this is the stationery we would use all summer long. Order a set for yourself, or any of these nautical cards, here.

A Day for Dad
June 14th, 2012

If, on a father’s day card, you’d like a pattern of neckties, a medal proclaiming “No. 1 Dad”, or perhaps a BBQ grill, you’re all set. On the other hand, if you think some of those ironic motifs are maybe a little played out, you’ll have found yourself in a greeting card emergency this week.

Charming Mother’s Day options abound, but somehow Father’s Day seems to leave cards tongue-tied. Call us old-fashioned, but with one day a year to celebrate fathers, why not send something genuine?

No matter how tall we grow, we know that fathers always remain large in our lives (above).

Are we the only ones to remember that first thrill of riding a bike on our own? With dad’s last, strong push, we took flight. Visually, we like how these two bikes seem to be cycling across the whole card (see above). And — spoiler alert, Dad! — this is the card we sent our father.

Because, let’s face it: one thing you can’t choose is your family. It’s all about luck.

These cards were created just this week for our staff, and will go into production for everyone next year. But, meanwhile, feel free to take a screen grab, or share this link – there’s still time to email your dad!

Lights, Paper, Action … Stationery Show!
May 28th, 2012

Once a year, in May, the stationery world converges on the Javits Convention Centre in New York to celebrate (and hopefully sell!) all things paper. And so naturally there we were last week, happy as a clam in our own cheery little J. Falkner booth (above).

We decided to let the colors of our cards do the talking and go crisp white with all our fixtures. It made a bright sunny statement, and more than one passerby told us, “It feels like Florida in here”.

The first night of the show brought the Louie Awards ceremony, the pre-eminent prizes for cards in this country. Though we didn’t get our podium moment, we were delighted to have two cards among the finalists — terrific recognition in our company’s first year.

There was a beautifully designed catalogue of the finalists, and there we were with our “Amazed Anniversary” card (above), one of the first cards we ever designed — and still a personal favorite.

The show also brought us some great press. This shout-out (above) appeared in the daily show magazine.

There was much ingenuity among the design of the other booths, but to us, Crane & Co always delivers the most elegant one. Evoking a Madison St boutique, it’s a purring piece of luxury, with a trio of chandeliers, cream carpeting and exquisitely detailed window displays.

As regular readers know, we’re mad for moodboards, so we were smitten by the charming visual vignettes from the Crane windows (a couple are featured above). The richly engraved salamander, with its red spotted coat (see detail, above), is a card we’d chose to send ourselves — if only we weren’t already stationery-committed.

With nearly 800 stationery companies at the show, each aisle brings a spirited range of creative delights. In our little block alone, we were able to put together this great card collection (above).

Clockwise, rom top left: A lovely silhouette of a bear from Banquet. A cool surfer’s desktop from Dear Hancock. A simple shell, letterpressed by Double Bravo Designs. Two bears make a charming father’s day card, from Fugu Fugu Press. A charming notebook, the cover made of birchwood, from Night Owl Paper Goods. And an imaginative use of the subway map, from Tastement.

We ourselves had a terrific response to the new collections we launched at the show, and we’ll be sharing those with you in our next few posts.

A Trio of Cards Takes Flight from the Runway
May 8th, 2012

We love following trends. What’s better than discovering the new?

Jewel tones, like purple and teal from Gucci (above, left), and flirtatious bird patterns, like those from Carolina Herrera (above, right), dominated fashion runways the last couple of seasons — and made us wonder how we could bring this luxury and whimsy to a range of cards.

First, we explored different paper options. We found a premium opalescent paper stock that gives flat color a wonderful, luxurious shimmer: mere purple and green alchemizes into amethyst and emerald (above).

Then we discovered a new font, Carolyna, with a lovely hand-lettered feel, to bring added flourish to these cards. See how the descender of the letter “y” swirls off the page and back again (above).

Speaking of showing off (above), imagine our delight to see, just last night at the Met Ball in New York, a further evolution of the fashion trend. Jewel tones and bird motifs suddenly combined as one in purple feather dresses, worn fearlessly by Beyonce (in Givenchy, below left), and Diane Kruger (Prada, below right).

Might we gently suggest it could be a little easier to stay on-trend by sending one of our cards than trying one of these dresses? “Flights of Fancy”, our trio of cards, is one the new collections we’ll be bringing to the National Stationery Show in New York (May 20-23). It will be in stores and available online from June.