NYCxD Inspiration Recap

It's a wrap! The second annual NYCxDESIGN has come and gone, bringing great design talent and energy to the city, as well as featuring the many designers who call New York City home day in and day out. I've enjoyed sharing design inspirations each day during the festival as LAURA ANN launched online. These categories define much of my existing work, as well as designs to come, but this is just the beginning! If you missed the campaign on social media, here is recap of what inspires design by LAURA ANN, as well as details behind each design and product.

NYCxD Day 2: INSPIREDxART&ARCHITECTURE. The "Birthday Boating" watercolor and ink illustration of Central Park  was inspired by a memorable birthday party that I attended for a dear friend where we rented paddle boats near the Central Park boathouse. It became one of a series of New York Landmarks Stationery stationery set, my foray into stationery in 2009. It has been incorporated into party invitations ever since, and LAURA ANN is now pleased to be able to offer iPad friendly digital files in tandem with coordinating print invitations and stationery. Purchase any of the Landmarks scenes as a custom invitation. Or commission your own bespoke invitation and matching greeting card, then frame the watercolor illustration for yourself or as a gift!

NYCxD Day 3: INSPIREDxFAMILY.  On Mother's Day I gave a special shout out to my mother Ann, mother-in-law Laurie, and grandmothers Barbara, Ruth, and Judy. My mother Ann (bottom right photograph), is the ANN of LAURA ANN! They all inspire me with their everyday grace, style and love. Brian and I collected a wedding or couple portrait of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents to display at our wedding, and have found a special place for them in our home as a daily reminder of their love and marriages. The white rose cascade bouquet that I carried at our wedding was inspired by the rose bouquets of my mom and mother-in-law. We shopped for just the right vintage cake topper, and I designed our tiered cake with fresh flowers to match the gorgeous wedding cake of my Trimble grandparents. Shop  Cake Topper Stationery  for congratulatory notes to the bride and groom, or as bridal thank yous.

NYCxD Day 3: INSPIREDxFAMILY. On Mother's Day I gave a special shout out to my mother Ann, mother-in-law Laurie, and grandmothers Barbara, Ruth, and Judy. My mother Ann (bottom right photograph), is the ANN of LAURA ANN! They all inspire me with their everyday grace, style and love. Brian and I collected a wedding or couple portrait of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents to display at our wedding, and have found a special place for them in our home as a daily reminder of their love and marriages. The white rose cascade bouquet that I carried at our wedding was inspired by the rose bouquets of my mom and mother-in-law. We shopped for just the right vintage cake topper, and I designed our tiered cake with fresh flowers to match the gorgeous wedding cake of my Trimble grandparents. Shop Cake Topper Stationery for congratulatory notes to the bride and groom, or as bridal thank yous.

NYCxD Day 4: INSPIREDxFRIENDSHIP. I am endlessly amazed by the passions, talents, and generosity of my friends, and always grateful for the love they bring to my life. A special bond of friendship that I became a part of in college is the fraternal sisterhood of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. The key and fleur-de-lis illustrated on place cards and menus represent the love and loyalty that binds Kappa women. More generally, the abstracted lily fleur-de-lis symbolizes perfection, light, and life. Shop Key Escort / Place Cards and Key and Fleur-de-Lis Greeting Cards.

NYCxD Day 5: INSPIREDxHAND WRITING. My first paid job as a little girl was writing names in calligraphy on certificates for the Washington Township Schools Tennis Program in Indianapolis, Indiana (celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year!). I've never given up that love of calligraphy and typography, and the joy of recognizing a loved one's handwriting on a piece of mail. I continue to hone in on my craft, diving in to learn more of the endless styles of writing, to offer that personal handwritten touch to my stationery designs. LAURA ANN also offers calligraphy services for envelope addressing, escort cards, certificates and custom signage.

NYCxD Day 6: INSPIREDxTRAVEL. Travel opens up our eyes and minds to the world around us, and is a huge source of creative rejuvenation and energy. I often love the artistry of the maps as much as the places themselves. Day to day and on the road, I'm a fan of Google Maps as much as the next busy traveler, but does Google mark out your favorite ice cream shop, or the romantic bench where you got engaged for all to see and share? I don't think so! LAURA ANN specializes in custom illustrated maps which elegantly integrate the practical streets and landmarks along with the more personal markings to match the needs of a client. 

NYCxD Day 7: INSPIREDxFASHION. I came to New York City with two suitcases in 2007 to pursue one of my earliest design loves..fashion! I learned a lot from those early NYC days at kate spade and Brooks Brothers, and pursued other design interests since, but have never given up an eye for personal style. Why not let your own statement pieces inspire a set of bespoke personal stationery? These personal notes were inspired by timeless jewelry styles - an IWC watch and Tiffany cuff links. Sincere personal notes that reflect your own voice and fashion will never go out of style. No matter how much technology and digital communication  becomes part of our lives, a handwritten note will set you apart.

NYCxD Day 8: INSPIREDxNATURE. I will never tire of painting flowers. They are the ultimate natural beauty, and no wonder they are in abundance at celebrations of love. Nature's gifts remind us of life beyond greater than ourselves, and what joy its exotic colors, shapes and textures bring to our life on Earth. The Wildflower Collection anticipated the countryside wedding and captured the love of two close friends who are wildly in love with each other. Shop Wildflower Thank You Cards.

NYCxD Day 9: INSPIREDxHOSPITALITY. Nothing warms the home like guests. Whether greeting friends and family or opening one's home to strangers, we are all called to share our gifts. The love is the same whether you keep things simple or bring out grandmother's finest, but why not make your guests feel extra special with a few hand touches? The LAURA ANN Fish's Kisses Collection of invitations, escort cards, menus, thank you notes, and gift tags is inspired by my own everyday dinnerware, the Dansk Arabesque pattern. The blue and white dishes with matching fish shaped serving-ware remind me daily of our honeymoon in Greece, and bring a touch of Mediterranean island living to the middle of Manhattan. Shop Fish's Kisses Stationery and Fish's Kisses Escort/Place Cards.

NYCxD Day 10: INSPIREDxFAITH. Goin' to the Chapel, and we're gonna get married...Brian and I got married almost two years ago now in the Princeton University Chapel! Our wedding invitation captured for us all the anticipation, joy, and Gothic architectural drama that we looked forward to sharing at the altar with the Lord, each other and our guests. The gatefold "doors" of the invitation, opening to a custom illustration of the wedding altar, are the signature of the Chapel Collection. The Chapel Collection can be customized with bespoke art of a couple's wedding aisle. The original painting is a wonderful keepsake to frame and hang as a constant reminder of the momentous occasion and commitment of the wedding day vows.

NYCxD Day 11: INSPIREDxSPORT. Tennis anyone? As the 11th day of NYCxDESIGN marked the AIA New York's ninth annual "FitCity" conference, it was an appropriate day to share my own passion for sport, fitness, and of course, competition. As a life long tennis player and athlete, I believe in the power of athletics to shape both mind and body. And without a doubt, competitive moments aside, sports are a great way to share in friendship, love, and camaraderie. These tennis stationery cards are inspired by a bright racquet cover I once received as a favorite gift. It happened to match a towel I picked up at Wimbledon in 2005. The Brits and their tennis whites and lawns bring so much elegance to the sport. Share your passion and love off the court with "Tennis Love, Love" and "Breakfast at Wimbledon" Stationery.

NYCxD Day 12: INSPIREDxSERVICE. Princeton in the Nation's Service, and in the Service of All Nations! As alums we have a charge to share our unique interests, passions, and talents near and far. There was no better cheerleader than Dean Fred Hargadon. This Yes Collection "Tiger Spirit" card pays homage to Dean Fred and his signature "Yes!" admissions letter. He said "Yes!" Princeton students to attend, "Yes!" to Princetonians to pursuing their passions, and "Yes!" to Princeton tigers to go out into the world to make positive change. These cards will be available at the Princeton University Store at the start of Reunions 2014. 10% of profits will benefit The Class of 2007 Dean Fred Hargadon h07 Memorial Endowment Fund.

LAURA ANN Ladies, Meet Stella & Dot

It's with great excitement that I announce LAURA ANN's Bridesmaid Collection collaboration with Stella & Dot Stylist Joanna Roth! In the spirit of Bridal Fashion Week in New York City, LAURA ANN has launched a line of "Will you Be My Bridesmaid?" greeting and thank you cards inspired by Stella & Dot's Spring 2014 Elodie Necklace and Naomi Cluster Earrings (also available as Allanah Clip Earrings). The curated special collection calls out to the confident, bold and stylish bride attracted to both brands.

"Will You Be My Bridesmaid?" Greeting Card (LAURA ANN/$22.50 for a set of 3); Naomi Cluster or Allanah Clip Earrings (Stella & Dot/$44); Bridesmaid "Thank You" Card (LAURA ANN/$20 for a set of 6); "Bridesmaid = Love" Card (LAURA ANN/$20 for a set of 6); Elodie Necklace (Stella & Dot/$89)

At LAURA ANN, we believe in the art of the personal touch, and that inspiration from coordinated details makes an extra special impression. For engaged ladies overseeing the  hundreds of details that go into planning a wedding, sharing the love with your bridesmaids is one detail not to overlook. Let them know just how much they mean to you with a handwritten note when asking them to be part of your bridal party, as well as a note and gift when they shower you with love on your big day. The LAURA ANN "Will You Be My Bridesmaid" card was designed in conjunction with a "Bridesmaid = Love" and "Thank You" card to coordinate sentiments of gratitude to your bridesmaids across wedding related occasions.

I personally love the warm gesture that goes with giving and receiving jewelry between bride and bridesmaids, and have seen how bridal jewelry can be a strong point of inspiration when selecting bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and other accessories. I am a big fan of the clean, bold, and artistic aesthetic of Stella & Dot, and love that they have so many jewelry pieces that could capture the style of a bride and her maids! I sat down with my longtime friend and fashionista Joanna Roth, an Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot to discuss Stella & Dot bridal jewelry:

Laura Ann Elbogen, Founder and Creative Director, LAURA ANN and Joanna Roth, Independent Stylist, Stella & Dot.

Laura Ann Elbogen: As a Stella and Dot stylist, you are an expert in helping clients choose the right pieces for any occasion. What's particularly exciting about styling for weddings?
Joanna Roth: I love styling for weddings because it is such a joyous occasion! Women tend to wear more color during festive occasions and that makes me so happy. I wish everyone would wear bright colors all the time.

LAE: How would you describe the jewelry style trends for this spring / summer?
JR: There are three main trends happening this spring and summer. The first is fringe - you will be seeing it everywhere, on jewelry, bags, clothes. The second is a pop of color - we have some great pieces that are in a strong coral or blue that will liven up any summer outfit. The third is rocker chic - we have some beautiful floral pieces that were inspired by vintage Chanel necklaces our designers found in Paris. We added a little bit of edge to the design to make them cooler and more wearable for the modern woman. 

LAE: What advice do you have to brides about selecting jewelry for their bridal party?
JR: For anyone who loves our pieces, but would like to see them in person before purchasing, please reach out to me to set up a FREE trunk show! I'll show you all our latest jewelry and can bring over my favorite pieces for brides and bridesmaids.

Joanna Roth can be reached through her website at www.stelladot.com/sites/joannaroth.

Thank You, Thank You

It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving to show your gratitude. At LAURA ANN, we believe a hand written note of appreciation in personal correspondence and business goes a long way, and others agree. Guy Trebay in the Fashion & Style section of The New York Times recently penned on the cultural art that the "boring stuff your parents made you do never actually goes out of fashion" ("The Found Art of Thank-You Notes", April 4, 2014). Not only is it proper manners, but he brings up studies linking the old handwritten note to health benefits such as better sleep and stress reduction - who knew! 

Similarly, Regina Lewis reported in USA Today's weekly Money Quick Tips that a handwritten thank you note is helping individuals stand out in today's digital world of over communication ("Handwritten Notes making a comeback", March 22, 2014).

Here at LAURA ANN, where penmanship comes in many calligraphy styles, we believe in the art of personal communication, and helping our clients and customers communicate their own personal style and touch. How sweet is it to pick up a saved note from an old friend or loved one and hear their voice in you mind as know them by their handwriting? For my part, I know that any message written out to Laura Ann is from my parents, the only people who have ever called me by my full name.

It is with gratitude and thanks to friends and family who have supported LAURA ANN from its early days that the LAURA ANN online shop goes live with its first retail product category - Greetings and Thanks. From the bottom of my heart here in NYC, thank you for your interest!

The Manhattan Heart Collection Thank You is available in a set of 8 cards and envelopes ($20).


Four Score...and Many a Stationery Fold!

Have you ever wondered how stationery notes and escort cards at the store achieve such a straight edge, and how you can do the same at home? As a designer for the last five years who started out by printing my own notes at home, I'd like to reveal a secret to the DIY guys and gals - invest in a scoring blade. I recommend the Fiskars 93558097J 45mm Rotary Scoring Blade (just $5 on Amazon!). Carefully remove your every day trimming blade, or keep a separate board for scoring depending on the frequency of your at home card production. The Fiskars scoring blade pops easily into the Fiskars 12 Inch Classic Rotary Paper Trimmer. Line up your paper to the desired fold location and apply light pressure to your cutting motion. To avoid unintended outcomes, stay light handed, as this blade can cut all the way through if you're not careful. For crisp LAURA ANN designs with charm, polish and professionalism produced by the printer savvy DIY home studio customer,  a scoring blade is worth the extra effort. Print, score, cut, fold and send!

Rain, Rain, Go Away...Ice Cream Saves the Day

On a misty winter day in New York City, I was reminded that no matter how cold or dreary, there is one thing that always makes things better...ice cream. This playful scene of the nation's favorite ice cream truck was the illustration that sparked my design business, back in 2008, when I needed a condolence card for a design colleague at Brooks Brothers. Can you spot the location? The blue awning in the distance is the Brooks Brothers at W. 65th and Broadway, the store that I had the pleasure of opening as a women's sales associate shortly after arriving to NYC with two suitcases. Over five years later, a bus stop has won out over the ice cream truck at that location. But don't worry, be happy that spring is just a month away bringing ice cream trucks with it!

Design for the Every Day and the Special Days, With Love

Happy Valentine's Day from LAURA ANN! LAURA ANN first opened for design business on a special day - my mother's birthday (September 21, 2009, founded as LATinNYC)! It is only fitting that LAURA ANN's full time relaunch would fall on another love filled holiday. To mark the occasion and share the love, I whipped up a family favorite, coconut meringues, a special recipe passed down from my Great Grandmother Mary. My Aunt Lisa, and sister, Marie, had made them to rave reviews at the holidays, and I decided it was time to debut them in NYC. I called my Grandmother Barbara, who advised to be sure to beat the egg whites until they stood in peaks. Bagged and tied with a LAURA ANN "xoxo" illustrated valentine, they hit the spot! They made for a colorful splash of color and served as a loving edible favor at each place setting at a Valentine's luncheon. For those who couldn't taste them in person, I shared these images as digital Valentines.

Express your love with the art of a personal touch, on the every day and the special days!