Fill-in-the-blanks stationery. "Useful for small events, like a dinner party for 12," says Megan Kuntze, brand director for Crane & Co., a stationery manufacturer. And you won't have to worry that you'll accidentally leave out an important detail.
Blank note cards. These are popular because they allow for personal expression, says Patti Stracher, manager of the National Stationery Show, held in New York City. "The resurgence of ink on paper," she adds, "is part of a drive toward distinguishing oneself from the constant flow of e-mail and text messages." Cherre Berry, owner of Cherre Berry Paper, agrees: "Handwritten notes directly reflect the person who wrote them. My sister has the sloppiest penmanship, but when I get a card from her, it still makes me happy, because her sloppy writing reminds me of her."
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Tiny Print Pool A2 Stationery by Paper Source
Recycled paper. Moss-colored envelopes. To buy: $9 for 10 cards*, paper-source.com.
Gold Airplane and Suitcase Cards by Dempsey & Carroll
Initials from A to Z are hand engraved and stamped in silver on an octagonal seal. To buy:Unfortunately, this product is no longer available.
"Call Me" Calling Cards by Paper Source
Printed on recycled paper. To buy:Unfortunately, this item is no longer available. Find similar products atpaper-source.com.
Aviary Desk Set by Violet
A selection of note cards, stationery sheets, and envelopes in a fabric-covered box. Cotton paper. Soy and vegetable inks. To buy:Unfortunately, this item is no longer available. Find similar produces atelumdesigns.com.
*All prices include envelopes.
2 of 3Monica Buck
In-store stationery can be purchased with the assistance of on-site consultants, who will help you navigate the various template designs. Many retailers offer free proofs so you can catch mistakes; others charge $5 to $20 per proof. Be sure to ask for a few extra envelopes (in case you make an error when addressing).
Online stationery often comes in styles your neighborhood shop may not carry. After choosing a pattern, type in your wording (before you hit "Purchase," make sure to spell-check). If you're worried about judging colors on-screen, request paper-and-ink samples; many companies will send them for free. If you'd like to do the printing yourself, opt for imprintables (sold at many online outlets), which are blank, predesigned invitations that can be made at home on your computer and printer.
Engraving. One of the most expensive options, involves the making of a metal plate that creates formal stationery with crisp, raised type on the front and indentations on the back. "We file every plate we make," says Nicholas Nicholson, a spokesperson for Mrs. John L. Strong, a retailer in New York City. "Some have been used for generations."
Letterpress. This has a more tactile charm. Some stationers still set type, resulting in "subtle impression changes," says master printer Robert Warner, who works with 19th-century presses at Bowne & Co., Stationers, in New York City.
Thermography. Imitates engraving, employs heat to produce raised type.
Offset. This is the most casual and inexpensive technique, yields flat (rather than raised) text, like that seen on most store-bought greeting cards.
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Fill-in-the-Blank Thank-Yous by Simply Silhouettes
Send in a profile shot of a family member or a pet. Then choose from more than 24 colors and a variety of fonts. Offset. To buy: $40 for 20, simplysilhouettes.com.
Folded Note Cards by Crane & Co.
Multiple liners available. Choose from 29 monograms. To buy: from $183 for 25, finestationery.com.