Latest trends in fine stationery, custom invitations and announcements from the Stationers Guild

This may seem like a silly question, since sending a Thank You note is a gracious way to express your appreciation for an act of kindness or hospitality. Sheila May, owner of Therérè Saint Clair, a stationery store located in Greenwich, CT, goes further and says “it is not only the ‘gracious’ thing to do, but simply proper etiquette and common sense.”

While Thérèse Saint Clair carries several lines of engraved Thank You notes from many fine paper companies, Ms. May explains “that boxed Thank You notes are simply an inferior substitute for personalized stationery.” She goes on to explain that “a fold-over note with the words ‘Thank You’ engraved on the card strikes me as a bit impersonal and somewhat last-minute. Where possible, I try and steer our clients toward designing their own personalized stationery. Don’t you think it is more refined to say ‘thank you’ inside your card than have it as a bold pre-printed headline?”

“The hand-written note is one of the most intimate and personal forms of communication,” says Sheila. “Your selection of the paper, font style, monogram, motif, ink color and envelope lining all working in harmony is often as much an expression of your personality as the words you write.”

One of the great advantages of personalized stationery is its versatility. It works equally well for “Thank You” notes as it does for congratulatory messages or sympathy notes. While most boxed “Thank You” notes tend to be fold-over cards, other options are available if you design your own personal stationery. Ms. May notes that “bordered cards tend to be very popular for both men and women and, after somewhat of a lull, we have seen a resurgence of half-sheets, particularly among business executives.”

Ms. May suggests that you work with an experienced stationer, preferably a Guild member, to design your stationery. “Paper is tactile,” explains Ms. May, “and it is absolutely essential to sort through many paper samples to choose the paper that feels right to you. Once you have selected your paper, concentrate on a font style or monogram style. Monograms are great for social stationery, but your printed name or initials are best suited for business correspondence. The printing process is an important final step in crafting your stationery. Engraving and letterpress are the most traditional forms of printing. Nevertheless, they are more expensive than thermography or lithography. If you select colored paper stock, I strongly recommend that you consider engraving since the opaque nature of this printing process will not distort ink colors.

Personalized stationery need not be expensive. There are many design and printing options for you to consider. “The most important consideration is the paper stock,” notes Ms. May. “Crane, William Arthur and several other fine paper companies have beautifully-designed and affordable boxed correspondence that can be personalized by your local stationer. I strongly recommend that you base your selection on how the paper feels rather than any promotional hype.”

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