The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: April

by April May

This month our National Stationery Show (NSS) prep falls into all three categories! Read on for a look behind the scenes. 

THE GOOD. We bring our own hard walls to NSS. So far we've built or patched up all of the walls. We have also measured and cut our shelving and pre-drilled holes in the walls for easy hanging during setup. Eric and I truly love working together, and this kind of project is a fun change of pace. 

Eric setting up shelving - NSS 2017
Pre-drilling shelving

We have to work in our garage because it's been pretty rainy here. When it's cold we set up space heaters and wear winter jackets. It's pretty glamorous, obviously.

Eric measuring and cutting shelves - NSS 2017
Measuring and cutting shelves and display pieces

There are so many pieces to this big puzzle. We work from the 2-D booth layout using a scaled ruler to measure and place everything correctly. As we place shelves on the wall I label them and make notes everywhere—sometimes directly on the shelves! 

Close up details - NSS 2017 My notes on the shelf that will hold our new jotter!

Wes helping with the booth - NSS 2017Wes, age 4, helps by handing us tools and by providing comic relief

Walls - NSS 2017The back wall is 20' long but we can only set up 12' at a time in the garage! 

Clayton's 3-D model has really helped us visualize the booth, which is awesome! If you haven't yet, go check out his great post about designing the booth layout

It's also been wonderful knowing that my team can hold down the fort at the office while I'm working on the booth. It makes this process so much easier. Go, team!  

THE BAD. There's still so much left to do. Every night Eric heads out the garage for an hour to work on the booth. We're currently preparing to paint everything—the walls, the shelves, the furniture (that we have yet to build!). Wish us so much luck. 

THE UGLY. The pile of tissues on my desk right now is pretty ugly! Season allergies are attacking with a vengeance right now.



National Stationery Show Prep

by Clayton Beltran

Rome was not built in a day, and the same goes for a successful National Stationery Show (NSS)! Sending fun and beautiful mailers to stores and paper friends alike only hits the tip of the NSS iceberg. As you may or may not know, we must build a booth too! Building ours (Booth 1421!) comes with both its joys and challenges.

It all starts with a plan, and for us, that plan started months ago. Priority numero uno: our booth had to be fun! Priority 2: all of our productsand I mean ALLmust be displayed on the booth walls. Priority 3: the entire booth must be able to fit in the boss's mini van. With this in mind, we hit the illustrator art board (and the ground) running.

National Stationery Show Prep | Blog | Smudge InkNational Stationery Show Prep | Blog | Smudge Ink(image: select 2-D renderings of our NSS booth)

To start, I designed 2-D models of the wall display and fixtures to essentially serve as our building and assembly blueprint. When we actually go to set up the booth, everyone gets a printout (and scaled ruler to boot!) telling us exactly what goes where right down to the quarter-inch. Putting in the effort upfront to create a detailed to-scale model saves us loads of time and guess work when we're deep in the setup trenches.  

This year’s booth measures nearly twice the size of last year’s, so we more or less had to start from the ground up. But once we landed on a direction and liked what we were seeing on paper, the implementation of 3-D modeling began. Don’t flip out too much, no auto-cad software used here, just some humble paper cutouts (more fitting for a paper trade show I must say).

National Stationery Show Prep | Blog | Smudge Ink(image: 3-D model of our NSS booth)

The 3-D model really gave us a better understanding of the flow of space. The human figurines helped us visualize the experience our visitors might have in relation to our products and furniture when steeping into our booth. And though time-consuming, three scale models later we can be even more sure of the aesthetic and functional quality of our end result than we could have with solely a 2-D printout. Basically, the 2-D blueprint serves as our building guide and the 3-D model as our vision.

National Stationery Show Prep | Blog | Smudge Ink
(image: close up of 3-D model of our NSS booth)

Priority 1 has been met with the creation of larger than life party animals while Priority 2 has been met via the laborious hours of puzzle-piecing products upon our blueprinted booth walls. Priority 3? Well, April and Eric have started building and seem to be making great headway. Let’s just say they’re basically Booth 1421 gladiators! Stay tuned for the next blog post hear about their progress!



E.B. Goodale Baby Collection

by Sabrina Garber

We’ve been begging Emily (the E behind E.B. Goodale) to come out with a little baby collection for as long as I can remember. Her illustrations are so charming and capture a child-like innocence and wonder that tug at our heartstrings. In fact, keep your eyes out for her first children’s picture book making its debut this fall! Luckily for us, there was a more convincing force to nudge her along, and we’re thrilled to add her new baby card, thank you note setbaby gift wrap, and baby thank you note log to our shop.

E.B. Goodale Baby Collection | Blog | Smudge InkUtterly adorable, right? Read on to hear what Emily says about her inspiration behind the design …

I had just given birth to my first child, August, as I was thinking of new designs for Smudge Ink’s spring release. I remember getting such a kick out of the triangle swaddles and cute little hats that the nurses put the babies in at the hospital that I just had to draw them. I hadn't known at the time that I would use that very same drawing for August’s letterpress birth announcement.

E.B. Goodale Birth Announcement Illustration | Blog | Smudge Ink
(image: close up of August's birth announcement)

Everyone loved the drawing so much that I played with squeezing little August into a larger, swaddled babies pattern on a card, and then some wrap, and then also for a thank you note log!

To this day, I still put August into the same little hat he wore at the hospital (it fits a little tighter now at 6 months old!!) because it reminds me of him as a brand new, sweet little bundle. Truly the most precious gift!

E.B. Goodale Family Portrait with August | Blog | Smudge Ink(image: family portrait with Auggie in his birth hat!)


Oh, Baby! Our Fave Baby Cards

by Sabrina Garber

Springtime brings with it budding trees, birdsongs, and a sense of new beginnings. It’s no wonder why we’ve also got babies on our brains this time of year. (Full disclosure: I’m 6 months pregnant and it's nearly impossible for me not to think about babies.) For this round up, Sarah and I sought out our favorite cards for welcoming the newest chubby, rosy-cheeked little ones on the block!

Baby Card Round Up | Blog | Smudge Ink1. This darling Our Heiday card proves that every mama should rock the bump in sweet patterns and colors.

2. Pretty soon there won’t be any containing the baby toys and chaos as this messy but snuggly baby card points out.

3. Thanks to Detroit Card Co. for recognizing your heroic feats of friendship and supplying a card that makes sure everyone is on the same page.

4. Whatever happened to predictability? Oh yeah, you had a kid! Say congrats on the new arrival with Greenwich Letterpress’ flashback to our favorite 90s sitcom.

5. Egg Press' adorable peanut card makes our letterpress loving hearts melt!

6. Send the perfect words to the new mom and dad with this congratulations card by Print Therapy.

7. Babies love being swaddled, and we love printing swaddled babies on cards! You’ll gush over this E.B. Goodale card that was inspired by Emily’s own newborn son, Auggie.

8. Every soon-to-be parent in nesting mode will appreciate this heartwarming scene by Red Cap Cards.

9. Stop, collaborate, and listen! Rap hello to the newest baby/penguin in your life with this humorous card from Sanctuary Spring,

10. Celebrate your friends’ adoption journey and share your excitement and love with this artful card by Moglea.