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

One of my favorite puns and one which could well serve as tag line for the Stationers’ Guild is: “No matter how far you push the envelope, it is still stationery.”   While this is always good for a laugh – at least for those that know how to spell “stationery” – I suspect that the relevance of stationery is fast becoming lost to a growing number of people who live online.   This was brought home to me today when I received an email from Envelopes.com.

The subject line of the email was “Push the Design Envelope” followed by “Your Designs + Our Envelope = Perfect.”   Now, I have never heard of Envelope.com but I discovered near the bottom of their website that  Envelopes.com claims to be  “the leading supplier of plain and printed envelopes in all sizes, styles and colors, to businesses, organizations, and individuals. © 2010. All rights reserved.”

The fact that I have “never heard” of Envelope.com is not disturbing.  In fact, with a little research the company was formerly known as Action Envelope and is headquartered in Long Island.  I find it surprising that the “leading supplier” of envelopes would change their name if they were that well known, but very little surprises me anymore in the stationery industry.

Which brings to a serious question:  What is the difference – if any – between stationery and paper?  To many, I suspect there is not a lot.  Nevertheless, I hate it when people refer to Saint Clair as a “paper shop.”  Perhaps, I am getting a little sensitive as I grow older, but I am confident that I know the difference between “paper” and fine stationery.   It may simply be a question of style and elegance, but to me stationery is reflected in a quality paper that begs to be touched.   Monograms or names that are embossed or engraved on fine stationery simply add another layer of elegance to an already rich stationery experience.

The stationery industry is overrun with flat and insipid designs printed on “paper” – not paper that raises to the level of  “stationery.”   While we can lament the decline in the informed consumer, let us spend our time rejoicing in the many who still treasure the craftsmanship that goes into making fine stationery.

And for those designers and printing companies who are inspired to create beautiful stationery rather than become leaders of mass-marketed papers, we salute you and wish you well.

Richard W. May
Thérèse Saint Clair

Tags: Envelopes.com, fine stationery, paper, stationery

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