We sat down with Carrie Gifford of Red Cap Cards and asked her a few questions about how she got started and where she see the future of letter-writing heading. Be sure to check out the rest of our Designer Q&As after this.
Write_On: Tell us about yourself! What’s your background and what drew you to design cards and stationery?
Carrie: When Hal and I started Red Cap Cards I was directing children’s theater and Hal was running a coffee roasting company. We always wanted work together and had a lot of ideas brewing at the same time. In 2005 were playing with 3 business ideas. A brewing company (Hal’s a beverage man), a toy company ( I was making dolls) and last a card company. Long story short… our future was in the cards.
Write_On: How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Carrie: Our cards are art driven. I have a storytelling background and I tend to curate art of this nature. The artist that we work with are animators, painters, designers and illustrators that all have a distinctive look and an amazing capability to tell a story in one picture.
Write_On: How do you use your designs to inspire people to connect in writing?
Carrie: I think when people find our cards they are inspired by the art. They see a story that’s familiar or intriguing and make it their own. They want to share what they’ve discovered and they sit down and write. I love how our cards can trigger a memory or create a dream world that people want to connect through.
Write_On: What does your process look like for creating a new card or stationery design?
Carrie: It all begins with the artist that we are working with. Every artist is different so the process is always changing. Our goal is always the same, to support our artists in creating work that they love. We typically give our artists minimal direction in the beginning, such as an occasion to help inspire a story or perhaps a general story concept, then we let the artist create what they feel. Creating art for greeting cards is not as easy as it seems. We often receive beautiful artwork, but then you have to figure out how to turn it into a card. That can be tricky.
Write_On: How have hand-written letters shaped your life and relationships?
Carrie: All I can say is that anytime I’ve ever sat down to write a letter it’s always felt amazing. I think the process of sharing our feelings with someone through pen and paper is a healing meditation and a great habit.
Write_On: What do you find most difficult about writing a letter?
Carrie: These days it’s just the discipline of sitting down to write.
Write_On: What does your letter-writing practice look like?
Carrie: Well it’s not as creative as it was when I was in 7th grade. Boy, those were the days. The amount of time and effort I put into writing was beyond! I must have written a million letters a day. Not to mention I had pen pals. Do you remember having those? I had a teacher that set us up with complete strangers in other countries and we’d write to them every week. How awesome is that. It makes my current letter writing process seem very sad. That’s why I’m looking forward to your challenge!
Write_On: Modern times have made digital correspondence increasingly available and convenient. Why is it important for people to send handwritten cards and letters?
Carrie: Recently my Dad passed away and I found a box in his desk with all the letters and cards I had written to him over the years. Each letter was a bit different. I thanked him for money, I wished him a happy birthday, I reminded him of favorite childhood memories, but in each letter at some point I always express my love and gratitude for him and my mom. As I read each letter I realized how important they were to him and how grateful I was that I took the time to sitdown and let him know how I felt. Connection through hand written letters in invaluable, we should all do it more often….
Write_On: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about letter-writing?
Carrie: Not to edit. To let go and free flow.
Write_On: What’s the next letter you’re planning to write?
Carrie: I think it’s time to send a love letter to my husband. It’s been a long time and I think it’s overdue.