The Beauty Of Bespoke Stationery

Having stationery that shows your personal style is a simple and sophisticated way to elevate any correspondence. From a custom monogram to a whimsical liner to a palette that truly reflects your personality, stationery designed by an expert expressly for you won’t just inspire you to write more letters, it will leave a lasting impression. To help us understand and appreciate what the bespoke stationery process entails—especially as we approach the holiday season—we reached out to stationnaire extraordinaire (and TSG Design Director) Erika Jack for advice on what to consider; her are her recommendations.

  1. Allow enough time. For any custom stationery job, I like to allow two to four weeks for the design concept phase. This allows me to create any custom artwork, such as a sketch, calligraphy, or a custom monogram, and perfect the layout. The printing phase can add another couple of days to one month, depending on the method you choose; flat printing will require a two- to four-day window, while letterpress/engraving requires two to four weeks.
  2. Be ready to collaborate. I follow a bespoke philosophy, which is a very involved process. My goal is always to create a one-of-a-kind piece for a client that is the most perfect representation of their style through paper. If a client offers up their favorite colors, inspiration—many people request family crests and send me old artwork that has been passed down for generations to work from, which I love—or has a certain type of paper (such as cotton, handmade, or deckle) that they favor, these are all things I like to go over.
  3. Remember that size matters. A lot of papers I spec are Italian sizing, and therefore require more postage, which I let clients know in advance. I’m really into long Italian notes, which are very horizontal and approximately 4 x 8, since you can have a monogram on one side and write next to it, but I think 4 x 6 (A6) is a nice standard size.
  4. Have fun with liners. Envelope liners are a beautiful way to add movement and color to your personal stationery, and a great way to add personality if you go with a more classic, simple design. Remember that you use certain stationery for certain people, so I recommend getting some envelopes lined with a more formal pattern and some with a more playful one.
  5. When giving, keep it simple. Custom stationery is a wonderful gift for newlyweds or for someone special during the holiday season, especially if you know the recipient(s) very well, as you’ll want the stationery to reflect their style and favorite color palette. I recommend keeping the design simple and classic, and staying away from monograms, which can be very hit-or-miss.

Expert tip from Erika Jack in Charlottesville, VA.