design process

A Palm Beach Luncheon
February 20th, 2013
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Luncheon always seemed a faintly ridiculous term to us, when the simple word lunch was available. Then we started to experience Palm Beach lunches, and quickly realized these were events that definitely merited the extra syllable.

So when the Society of Four Arts approached us to design an invitation for one of their luncheons, we leaped at the chance. It would celebrate Alex Hitz and his splendid new cookbook, “My Beverly Hills Kitchen” (see above).

The brief was to be bright and sunny and glamorous, so we decided upon colonnades of Palm trees to evoke the famed boulevards of Beverly Hills, and paired them with a playful art deco font called VIP (naturally).

A majestic pair of bronze peacocks (above) stood sentry at the gates to the Four Arts garden where the event was held last week.

A beautiful breeze found us inside the shade of the Pannill Pavilion (above) in the garden.

The theme of invitations carried through to place cards and menu card, the latter which was designed to be a bookmark and memento of the day. And yes, the food was as delicious as it reads. Bloody Mary aspic? Fiendishly tasty. (Alex chose these recipes personally from those in his new book.)

The prettiest of pale turquoise shades banded the plates (above, holding the fresh and delicious dessert) …

… and matched the gift bags that sat on the back of the gold chairs. Those 5 numbers? The Palm Beach zipcode of course.

Alex’s book is now available everywhere, and learn more about Alex from his own website, My Beverly Hills Kitchen.

The Society of the Four Arts has a wonderful program of lectures and exhibitions, see their schedule here. And any visitor to Palm Beach should not miss a stroll in their renowned sculpture garden.

A Crafty Idea for Your Old Christmas Cards
December 28th, 2012

Soon it will be time to gather up those holiday cards, unplug the Christmas lights and try to find a corner in your closet to put them all.

Perhaps you’re like us and save your Christmas cards, visions of revisiting them another time, with warm memories and warm cocoa to hand. Though more likely than not — and this is definitely like us — you never find that moment and instead have boxes and boxes of old holiday cards you don’t know what to do with. Help, dear reader, is at hand!

Arm yourself with a scissors, a hole-punch, some old ribbon (or get a bit fancy with velvet like we did, above) and transform your cards into gift tags for next year. Snip through Santas and angels and reindeer and suddenly you’ve created a fun new perspective on the same old card.

(This kind of craftiness has long been a big movement in the art world — though then it’s called ‘Appropriation’, and not ‘just reusing an old image’. So, go on, appropriate away!)

Here’s the finished result (above), and a few more we couldn’t resist trying once we got started (below). We’ve used our own J.Falkner holiday cards throughout.

We had so much fun with this project, it’s likely we’ll introduce these gift tags to our stores next holiday season. Just in case you don’t save your old cards after all ….

Fashionable Holiday Cards!
December 1st, 2012

Of course Christmas is about snow flakes and Santa and lots of ho ho ho, but here at J.Falkner we are always looking to find a way to bring a bit of the unexpected to the world of paper. So why not turn to the world of fashion to see what’s new and now.

And there is one trend that seems to keep coming back, season after season: Leopard print (see our montage of tearsheets, and mens evening slippers, above). You might say, if you were as inclined to easy puns as we are, it’s a print with nine lives.

Now let’s have fun. Anchor the print in a bright Christmassy red, pair it with an amusing greeting — and, voila, a rather unique and playful new holiday card (see below). This is definitely a card that will stand out among a pile of haloed angels and lambs.

Plus! It’s now fashion-endorsed. This month, People Stylewatch features it as one of the best holiday cards of the season (see it peeking out on the lower left hand corner, below).

Order a box for yourself from our online store here, and send some holiday cheer to all the pussycats in your life.

Going for Holiday Gold
November 14th, 2012

It may seem counterintuitive to start a post about holiday cards with an envelope, but if you’re reading this, you know that here at J.Falkner we love the details. After all, in this world of first impressions, the envelope is the first thing your sendee will see.

The paper on our “gold-leaf” envelopes has a smooth iridescent finish that resembles metallic specks. And when they catch the light they really do shimmer (above).

For the cards themselves, we knew we wanted to do something very simple, and very chic. Just a few playful images, a restrained color palette (above), and a luxurious use of white space to appreciate the thick card stock. Finally, we tucked the holiday greeting inside the card so the design outside is crisp and clean.

Of course we love a cute reindeer, but are they really the only animal in the God’s kingdom that gets to celebrate Christmas? Surely there is some fabulous Santa Claus somewhere who would welcome a leaping Rudolph Zebra into his herd (like the one, above).

And step forward Flamingo. You’re every bit as able as a turtle dove to spread good holiday cheer, and — perhaps it’s our Florida-bias — rather more elegant.

These cards are now available at fine retailers across the country, and online holiday cards can be ordered from our own shop here. Or just email us at info@jfalkner.com and we’d be happy to let you know of a store that carries them near you.

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.

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.”

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.