The Card Designer Spotlight is a series featuring independent makers whose greeting cards you can find in Paper Source stores. Meet and be inspired by a new designer every month on our blog!
Cards By Allie is an ‘unapologetically corny’ and visually appetizing brand that was built on artistic passion, challenging one’s creativity and an expression of our card designer’s punny personality.
How did you begin your card-making career?
This story really comes full circle and has a lot to do with Paper Source.
My adult career started by interning all over New York City. My first internship was down the block from a Paper Source…the first I was ever in! I would walk to and from work and stop in at least once a week just to browse. I would recognize local New York City artists on the shelves with envy.
Fast forward about 3 years, I graduated college and landed my first full-time corporate job. Every Holiday season, the company would host an in-house fundraising event. For the event, the creative employees all donated hand-made goods to sell in a ‘market’. At the time, I was a ‘non-creative’ employee surrounded by a ton of talent! I was insecure that my job title didn’t reflect my artistic passion. I usually sat on the sidelines for these events, but that year decided I would doodle some greeting cards to put in the market. Long story short, the cards were well received by our employees, and I was hand-drawing the same illustrations over and over…and over and over! After that, I posted them on Instagram and people began requesting them in my DM’s. That’s when I realized I might be onto something!
My mind INSTANTLY went to Paper Source. I knew if I were going to see this through, my goal would be to sell my designs in Paper Source. And that’s just what I did.. Paper Source was Cards By Allie’s first customer!
Where do you draw inspiration from? Food? Pop Culture? Timeless Motifs? Playful Puns?
Food, obviously. Cards By Allie has a delicious card for every occasion! Additionally, I can’t make a card without a shameless pun. Cards By Allie represents my passion for drawing and my unapologetically corny sense of humor.
What does your day look like as a card maker and designer?
Some days are creative. There are tables full of paint, paper, and pens. Late nights drawing and accidentally drinking paint water. Some weeks are intense with busy production lines. When Cards By Allie gets bigger orders, it takes A LOT of work to get them filled. These weeks consist of long hours, cramped hands, and towers of boxes. In between creating and production, I am busy formatting/editing cards, reaching out to customers, filling orders, checking inventory, marketing, bookkeeping, and everything in between! Small business ownership is very BUSY, I have learned so much on this journey.
What is your preferred medium?
MICRONS! I love to draw with pen. I love to crosshatch and sketch. My comfort zone is in black and white. For the cards, I add watercolor in addition to my pen drawings. The juxtaposition really helps the illustration to pop!
What does your creative process look like?
I have a wall of inspiration Post-It’s in my apartment, neatly aligned with very rough silly sketches. Whenever I think of a pun, I write it down. Some days I glance at that wall and come up with an idea on how I want to illustrate a pun. On other days, I’ll scroll through Instagram and see a delicious sandwich, and then soon enough I’m drawing a delicious sandwich! Once the drawing starts, I lose track of time. This piece the process is like therapy! After the drawing is complete, I scan the artwork into the computer and format it for print!
What are you most proud of as a creator and card maker?
I am proud of so much. I never imagined I’d be able to achieve building a small business on my own. Looking back, I am so proud I that I didn’t give up because Cards By Allie brings me so much joy. For a very long time, I was scared to peruse art/creativity in a job. I was scared because I thought it would take the magic away and make it too serious. I was afraid of rejection and judgment. Card design gives me a safe space to create. Cards By Allie’s brand identity grants me permission to make bad jokes and silly drawings! I am just so happy I get to draw and that there are people who like what I am making.
I also recently designed a line of cards with my mom. She illustrated a mini-series for Cards By Allie called “The Masters Series”. I couldn’t be prouder to share these moments with my mom!
Any personal tidbits? Or special talents/fun facts that you would like to share with us?
My Cards-By-Allie fun fact: My boyfriend is a Chef and I run every illustration past him before sending them to print. I love to get his feedback on how the food illustrations look, he gives great feedback on color and texture!!
I would be remiss not to shout out my family and friends here! Building this brand has meant calling in a lot of favors from my loved ones. You all certainly know who you are!!