For the man who has everything, regardless of age, personalized stationery can be the perfect present. In an era in which so much communication has gone digital, the act of sending a handwritten note has never been so impactful, and having handsome papers on which to draft correspondence adds the perfect polished touch. To help those who might be thinking about gifting a gentleman with a bespoke stationery set, we turned to Cheree Berry, CEO and creative director at Saint Louis, Missouri-based Cheree Berry Paper, for some professional advice. Here, she breaks down the key considerations.
Style: According to Berry, stationery can help reflect his personal style and act as an extension of his personality. “Think of it like picking out a shirt and tie,” Berry says. There are no hard and fast rules—just choose something that speaks to his personality. To help narrow down the options, Berry outlines five styles below:
- Preppy: For a Polo-with-the-collar-turned-up kind of guy, Berry says a style that’s anchored by a signet is a wise choice. This well-dressed stationery design is reminiscent of crisp, starched shirts, and looks especially sharp rendered in an eye-popping color like Kelly green for both the signet and envelope liner (see an example here).
- Modern: Those with a modern sensibility will favor a clean, no-nonsense look. In this case, Berry recommends a handsome notecard with a bold, strong font customized with his full name in lieu of initials. Give the set a chic touch with a black lacquer envelope, as seen here.
- Sporty: This style will appeal to the younger set, but also to the gentleman who is passionate about his favorite pastime. Berry suggests choosing a classic font for his full name on the notecard and adding an image of his preferred sport on the flap of the envelope—a set of tennis racquets, a baseball and glove, a football—for a full-court press.
- Minimalist: When the man in question has a less-is-more outlook, consider opting for a subtle, achromatic look. Berry recommends a white or cream card with his name blind debossed, where the lettering is sunken into the surface of the card. This clean look will allow his script and words to shine.
- Classic professional: If the recipient tends to send a lot of business correspondence via snail mail, a timeless and stately stationery set will likely be well-received. For this look, Berry recommends staying monochromatic—for example, putting his name in grey lettering on a card with a grey border. For one more personal touch, add his monogram to the envelope flap.
Moniker: While personal style truly defines this choice, Berry points out that there are other factors that come into play when choosing whether to adorn his suite with a monogram, full, or simply first name. Here, Berry discusses the options and a few key considerations for each:
- First and last name: A timeless classic, this is the most formal option.
- Monogram: Monograms are always in style, and if you’re interested in more casual correspondence, a monogram can be a good way to convey that. Note: if his monogram creates a reference that’s not to his liking (like EKG), then consider using his first or full name instead. Also, since most of us are not recognized by our initials alone, notes will likely require a signature.
- First name only: Go with his first name only if it’s one that’s easily recognized, he prefers to keep it short and sweet, or he’s more interested in keeping his correspondence casual.
Type: There are hundreds of options to choose from when picking out a font, which can make the process seem overwhelming. However, if you break them down into the main styles, it becomes somewhat more manageable. Here, Berry provides a general overview of each type:
- Block: This style is designed with mostly capital letters having thick curves and lines shaping the letters. Block type makes a strong statement.
- Script: Script means the letters are connected, like cursive, and tends to be more formal.
- Serif: Serif is when there is a small line or decorative flourish on a letter. Serif fonts convey a classic, elegant, formal, confident, and established look.
- Sans serif: Sans serif means the abovementioned flourishes are non-existent. Sans serif fonts are generally more modern, friendly, direct, clean, and minimal.
Paper and printing considerations: Once you’ve determined your style, moniker, and font, there are a few final aesthetic decisions to consider, including paper thickness, type of printing, and other embellishments. For those aspects, Berry provides these helpful suggestions:
- Paper thickness: The thickness of the paper will help convey formality and a degree of luxury. Standard card stock is always fine, but duplex paper will kick it up a notch, and, “If you don’t mind adding an extra stamp, opt for triplex paper,” Berry advises.
- Flat vs. letterpress: Flat printing is always a good choice, but if you are a tactile person, or a lover of bespoke printing, then choose letterpress for the pure luxury factor.
- Edge embellishments: “We always love to add a painted edge to the note card,” Berry says. “It can add a splash of color or be more neutral, but it’s that extra element that says so much.”
- Envelope liners: Don’t forget this important feature that makes the first impression. “Envelope liners are like a favorite tie or pocket square,” Berry says. “It’s a detail that’s beyond swell. Go for solid, stripes, or a pattern, whichever you prefer.”
Featured stationery by Cheree Berry Paper. Photography by Alex Kendall. TSG Tip 314 from Cheree Berry, CEO/creative director of Cheree Berry Paper in Saint Louis, Missouri. Cheree Berry Paper is featured in The Scout Guide Saint Louis.