mood boards

Our Home at the National Stationery Show
May 27th, 2013
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jfalkner-signage

When a little 10′x10′ box in New York becomes our home for the better part of a week, it can only mean one thing: the National Stationery Show! It’s when the world of paper converges on the city to put on their smiles and peddle their wares to buyers from across the country — and, as ever, the energy and creativity on display was a real inspiration.

booth-moodboard

The concept (above): With our booth, the idea was to bring a bright, little patch of Palm Beach to the Javits Center. We started our moodboard (see above) back in January, and what emerged over the months was: kelly green, sisal carpet and storage bins, sunburst mirrors, crisp white frames and jewel-tone ottoman stools.

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The end result (above): Et voila! We were delighted to see all these elements fall into place in the stage set we created for J.Falkner. And there must have been something lucky in that gorgeous shade of green — we had our best show ever, with great stores reordering and new stores discovering us.

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Cards were ranged along white shelves (see above). “Fabulous. (Is what you are, my friend.)” is from a new card collection we launched at the show.

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After spending the days cooped up in the convention center, everyone’s ready for a good party. The Louie Awards are always a high point, and this year we were greeted by dramatic swirls of paper cut-outs (above), which became even more incredible as one looked to see the details of flying birds and airplanes.

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Though our nominated card didn’t win, it was wonderful to be welcomed into this special crowd, and see, hand-cut into one of the paper airplanes, the letters of J.Falkner Cards (above).

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.)

Our Magazine Visit in New York
February 21st, 2012

When the good people of Redbook magazine — who featured our Peacock Thank You card in their March issue (above, top right) — invited us to visit them in their snazzy offices in the Hearst Building, we were there in a New York minute.

Hearst, one of the Big Three magazine publishers (Harper’s Bazaar, Esquire and Cosmopolitan to name just a few of its titles), has since 2006 a glittering new HQ that outpaces its rivals, and we were keen to see it.

Norman Foster set a very-21st century skyscraper into the shell of Joseph Urban’s original 1928 landmark (above). It’s a wonderful combination of old and new that The New Yorker called “the most beautiful skyscraper to go up in New York since 1967.” And it is truly marvelous to behold on a sparkling New York day.

It’s also a very “green” building, with extensive use of recycled materials. The fountain in the 3-story atrium (above) that greets visitors, for example, circulates filtered rainwater that has been collected from the roof of the tower.

(Mind you, the building can be a little bossy, in that “green” sort of we-know-better way. To take an elevator you must input your floor on a central panel, whereupon you are directed to a specific elevator for your trip. Don’t try to skip this step. You’ll find there are no buttons inside the elevators themselves, which is all a bit Space Odyssey for us.)

Fans of mood boards that we are, we were immediately drawn to the wall that the Creative Director, Holland Utley, put together to steer the design vision for the magazine (above). Redbook had a big relaunch last summer, and these boards were used to help communicate the new direction.

The magazine is for women in their 30s and up, leading full lives, busy with relationships and families. We like the positive, spirited feel of these images — the couples, cozy and loving in lots of cashmere (above), and families at play (below). Okay, no one really lives like this, but mood boards are meant for inspiration and day-dreaming.

The Peacock card featured in the pages of Redbook is available as a thank you card, or blank (ie. without greeting), and can be found at our online store, here.

In Defense of the Desk
September 27th, 2011

We’ve had a terrific response to this past weekend’s article (read it here) in the Palm Beach Daily News, and one thing that intrigued us is how many people wanted to know more about our design space. So we’re happy to take ourselves out of the picture — quite literally, see above top — and look at our desk.

Let it be said that sitting at your desk generally gets a bad rap. Anais Nin proudly declared, “My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living”, while John LeCarré warned, “A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world.”

Which is all well and good if you can gallivant around 30′s Paris, or need to stalk the Cold War stage, but if like the rest of us you have to earn a living, you tend to be hunkered down at a desk. So we counter Ms Nin and Mr LeCarré with our favorite French proverb: Appetite comes with eating.

Day after day we sit ourselves down and design, and it’s only then that the ideas start to flow. Fortunately, our desk is a place we love to be. It at once reminds us of where we are, and where we’ve been.

Our desk itself, with its raffia and bamboo effect, anchors us here in Palm Beach’s golden light. The cane chair and lamp also speak to the good luck of our tropical locale. In front of us we often range a collection of mementos. Here we have our white porcelain dachshund, a small Fornasetti dish and a brass puppy — each one sourced from a different trip, these memories keep us happy company.

Perhaps this is our guide to a good work space. If you need to be at your desk anyway, populate it with fine things that you truly love — why not dump that old plastic pencil pot for a silver beaker? — and maybe you won’t always feel the need to escape it.

September Moodboard: Camel & Lilac
September 21st, 2011

When a newspaper stopped by our studio recently to do a profile on us (yes! we were thrilled), it was a great excuse to re-imagine our moodboard for Fall. And since ‘Fall’ is a very relative term here in Florida — we’re expecting 92’c this weekend — there is all the more reason to signal it with a new color story.

Generally we start with one or two key images on our moodboard, then mix in a few more to complement the whole. Then we take a step back. And then we normally start all over again, because the right mood isn’t quite there yet.

But this time, from the moment we found this picture of a camel skirt set off by purple suede pumps, we knew we had it. The collection of paint cans soon followed (don’t you love that one confident punch of red among the soft lilac), and then a tearsheet from the Prada men’s Fall campaign — this time it’s a jolt of blue against brown— clicked into place.

We discovered we could assemble a similar palette from our own cards: lilac elephants, a brown rabbit, fuschia high heels, and balloons against an electric blue sky. We’re like children that way: we like matching things up.

Of course we love color in all its forms, but after a while all those acid colors of summer start to give us indigestion. So we nominate camel and lilac — muted, luxe and slightly unexpected — as our color combo for Fall.

Sources: House Beautiful (right now far and away the best interior mag for color ideas), J.Crew catalogue (always an inspired use of color): and the Ruben Toledo illustration (lower right) is from the Nordstrom Fall ad campaign.

Our colors: We favor pantone 2635 for the perfect lilac.

Summer Mood board: Fleeting, Happy Moments
August 31st, 2011

Just before we take down our ‘High Summer’ moodboard on this last day of August, we wanted to consider these images once more — and also what makes the season such a favored one.

A central aspect of summer’s joy is always to be found in color. Whether it’s rich yellow sunshine, shimmering blue pools, or ice cream colors, when we think of summer our minds automatically flash to a color. And, like drinking tea on a hot day to cool down, somehow hot fashion colors work especially well as the temperature intensifies.

It’s not surprising summer is also a season when painters can arrive at their most luminous work. To our mind, Georgia O’Keefe and Pierre Bonnard (both equally underrated) are two of the most significant colorists of the 20th century — to experience their paintings firsthand is to see pure joy in, and a deep inquiry of, color. On our board (lower left), we pinned O’Keefe’s New Mexico summer sky, and Bonnard’s nude of his wife.

What makes summer particularly sweet is its fleeting nature. While winter goes on and on, summer never lasts long enough. The afternoon spent on a sailboat, the lazy ride on a ferry, or the delicious afternoon dozing on a sofa — these are moments to savour before the real work of back-to-school Autumn begins.

* Selected sources: Hotel du Cap feature from WSJ Magazine, photo of Brigitte Bardot on Hydra from Paris Vogue, ice cream paint palette from House Beautiful.

New Month, New Mood board: Pink, Blue & White
August 1st, 2011

We probably spend way too much time on our mood boards at J. Falkner. Maybe it’s our background in magazine design, but we are constantly tweaking the scale and the colors to arrive at the right ‘mood’.

This summer, we are cooled by the combination of a rose-petal pink and a cerulean blue, like the chic Celine outfit (top right). We also noticed how much fresher everything looks with a crisp white border — whether it be the collar and cuffs on the blue, or the white ‘jackets required’ sign from the famously pink Lyford Cay Club in the Bahamas. Isn’t it better with the white grid? It’s one reason we like to sit our cards in a frame of white (for example, our flamingo).

And check out the Florida style 1920s pavilion (lower left): a maze of white lines in the ceiling and the furniture brings such air and light into the room. The pair of birds sitting on cherry blossoms, from the lobby of a swanky apartment building in Honolulu, are another delightful example of dusty pink and white. And the lovely folded bedding on the white shelves is from Canvas.

* Sources: Town & Country (April 2011), House Beautiful (March 2011), Vogue, shop.canvashomestore.com, chanceco.com.