Over the years we’ve received a mailbox (the big USPS blue variety, that is) worth of emails asking us for advice on how one goes about designing personalized stationery for someone else. After all, it is a gift that is so, well, personal. When we came across stationery enthusiast Lauren’s design for her parents, we knew she would have some words of wisdom.

A Gift Horse Worth A Look

What was the inspiration behind this design?
My dad works for the New York Racing Association and my mom is a horse lover through and through. They spend the summer in Saratoga, NY, going out almost every night of the week at someone’s home for cocktails or dinner. I thought these flat cards would be perfect for sending thank you notes to their hosts.

Nothing says classic to me like gold engraved stationery. I loved the idea of a simple equestrian motif. Given their involvement in racing, this horse was a perfect choice. I used my parents’ informal names and chose a striped envelope liner to add a little playfulness to the design.

What do you love most about giving personalized stationery as a gift?
I am an avid letter writer and think everyone should have his or her own stationery wardrobe. Paper is a utilitarian gift (you’ll always find a reason to pen a note), but it’s also beautiful and can be personalized especially for the recipient—a winning combo in my book.

It’s been a while since my parents owned joint stationery (they each have their own personalized set for correspondence), so I was eager to gift them something they could use as a couple. In full disclosure, I blame my recent wedding. My husband and I have joint stationery and I use it all the time.

When designing personalized stationery, what are the important details to think about?
No matter the gift, I always try and find something representative of the recipient’s style. My parents are classic and fairly formal, so gold engraving was the perfect choice for their stationery. Maybe going with something more modern or a colorful liner for one of my single girlfriends, for example.

I also try and think of how the giftee will use the paper—practicality counts! I have a friend who recently moved and was desperate to make new friends. She would meet women with similarly aged children at the local playground, but always found herself without a pen or paper to get their information. I gifted her a set of calling cards with her son’s name so she could easily swap phone numbers for future playdates. Much more useful than a new address stamp!

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