Trust us: A handwritten note will never go out of style. Lucky for you, local paper artists are churning out cards that show off letterpress designs, hand-painted images, and punny messages. Boost your card-giving game this holiday season (and all year!).
Arley-Rose Torsone has never met a pun she doesn’t like. “I come up with all the bad humor,” she says. Ladyfingers’ letterpress greeting cards carry that lighthearted vibe, and Torsone matches her words with simple hand-drawn illustrations. Regular releases mean she can keep up with what’s going on in pop culture (Torsone released a card with a Stranger Things theme this past summer). Her partner, Morgan Calderini, works the letterpress and runs the business. The design school graduates started Ladyfingers—which opened its first storefront in June in Colorado Springs—after an online post about their own wedding invitation went viral. While they still do custom wedding suites, Torsone limits it to 12 clients a year. But they continue to be inspired by that first invitation: Many of their greeting cards feature the same neon ink.
Don’t Miss: Ladyfingers’ portfolio includes cards observing less obvious occasions, such as a successful IVF treatment; its “Congrats on your bun in the freezer” version was named 2015 Card of the Year by the Greeting Card Association.
Our Pick: Deluxe “We’re Expecting” card, which requires the recipient to scratch off the stork’s bundle to reveal the child’s gender ($7)
113 E. Bijou St., Colorado Springs, 401-523-3087
—Photos courtesy of Ladyfingers Letterpress
If you were to ask Brian Wood what’s most important to letterpress designs, he’d tell you it’s all about the font. Since his initial foray into the medium four years ago, Wood has collected 30 antique wood types and transformed his second-bedroom hobby into a full-fledged business in Lafayette. Wood works solo and splits his time between custom projects and his greeting card line, which showcases his minimalist style, muted color combinations, and, of course, thoughtful text design. Find his cards at a few neighborhood shops, including East Simpson Coffee Company in Lafayette.
Don’t Miss: Wood isn’t just focused on greeting cards and invitations. His business cards, printed on heavy card stock, make a big impression.
Our Pick: A poster that speaks the truth: “A yawn is a silent scream for coffee” ($20)
—Photos courtesy of Dogs & Stars Letterpress and Design
3. Lana’s Shop
Lana Effron operates her three-year-old Denver paper goods company off a simple premise: The right card (or sheet of gift wrap featuring dogs in Santa outfits, if that’s your thing) can brighten someone’s day. Effron, a former graphic designer at Vogue, treats each project as if it’s a piece of fine art—and it is. The 32-year-old hand-paints every card’s design and lettering before digitally printing them. Her style is colorful, subtle, and watercolor-esque. “I want people to look at the card and feel like they’re getting an original painting every time,” she says.
Don’t Miss: Effron’s 3.5-by-five-inch greeting cards with beautiful, coordinating envelope liners.
Our Pick: “Hey, You’re Neat” birthday card featuring a glass filled two fingers deep with whiskey ($5.50)
910 Santa Fe Drive, 516-220-0220
—Photos courtesy of Lana’s Shop
4. Idea Chíc
Idea Chíc is the stalwart on this list—which just proves the Glendale retailer knows how to stay fresh and fun. Run by husband-and-wife team David and Julie Sandusky, the seven-year-old company is known for its vintage-meets-modern style and has grown from a collection of party favors and invitations to a one-stop shop for everything from desktop calendars (the minis are perfect stocking stuffers!) to cheerful holiday gift tags that double as tree ornaments. Some products are printed on their 800-pound letterpress, nicknamed Hazel, while others are printed flat. The Sanduskys aren’t artists by training, but Julie’s background in event planning means every detail is considered, such as the hand-sewn elements on the floral letterpress stationery sets.
Don’t Miss: The Sanduskys don’t just use their letterpress on paper—look for textured prints on wood, cork, and fabric, too.
Our Pick: Letterpress Ornament Gift Tags, an easy way to give your holiday packages a serious style boost ($5.95 for three)
4340 E. Kentucky Ave., Suite 121, Glendale, 303-884-7787
—Photos courtesy of Idea Chic