Inside Design Scoop: Summer Memories Planner Collection

Crystal

Crystal Chabowski

Crystal Chabowski graduated with her BFA in Graphic Design from SUNY New Paltz, just a couple towns away from the Paper House office in Saugerties, New York. Seven years later, she designs new products using a signature, playful style.

Crystal’s latest collection is launching this summer, and we’ve got a sneak peek here. Crystal gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the design process and how she found inspiration to create the Summer Memories Planner Collection.


Where did you get the inspiration for this product?

I remember summers as a kid, when you’re carefree and spend the whole day playing outside. I tried to capture that feeling in the collection: the warmth, the taste of s’mores, and the smell of the grill at a cookout. Knowing that the collection would have many different uses, I also wanted to maintain a degree of sophistication.

Were you influenced by an outside design or artist?

I tried to channel bright geometric accents, colors, and fonts for a modern look rather than something more vintage. It helps keep it fresh, and this is the feeling that many of us have when we think about summer.

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A look at the Summer Memories planner collection

 

What was the design process like?

When I start working on a collection or a project, I gather images that I find interesting. There were a few other styles that I was considering for this collection, including summer nights with dark blues, purples, and pinks, as well as the kawaii style, with faces on inanimate objects. When you create an image board, you find patterns that inspire you, and I was most inspired by the colors and imagery of summer—hence the look and feel of this collection and the name: Summer Memories.

How does it feel to see someone using your creation?

I absolutely love when people use something I’ve made, because it’s such a long process to put a new collection together. It makes all the work worth it!

Is there a particular item within the collection that you’re most excited about?

I really love how the puffy stickers came out. They have a little bit of dimension, which creates an interesting effect when used on just about anything!

What’s in store for the future?

Paper House will keep evolving and adjusting its style; it makes for a more interesting line of products. For this Summer Memories collection, it’s likely that you’ll see additional coordinating accessories released in the future.

Stay tuned to the Paper House blog for more inside design scoops!

Inside Design Scoop: The Southwest Adventure Collection

Sean McManus has been a graphic designer at Paper House for almost 5 years. He went to school in Rochester before joining the company in the beautiful Hudson Valley. When it came time for his latest collection, he drew inspiration from the iconography and imagery of the Southwest. Sean has always had a love for the natural tones of the sprawling desert and the way they contrast with the vivid blues of the sky and the turquoises of Native American art and patterns.

As every artist and designer knows, there’s always a little more to the creation process than first meets the eye. Sean explains how the Southwest Adventure Collection came to life.

How did you come up with the concept for the Southwest Adventure Collection?

It was something I had wanted to do for a while. I was inspired by the area and wanted to create a really epic feel with saturated colors and an inspirational aspect. I was particularly influenced by Native American patterns and the natural beauty of the Southwest.

I’ve always had a love for the scenery of the region. Traditional Hopi and Navajo patterns and art from the area made a big impact on the final look of the collection.

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Sean’s inspiration for the Southwest Collection

Does this build on a past Paper House product? Were you influenced by an outside design or artist?

We’ve had a few Grand Canyon and National Park items in the past, but this is a new product for Paper House.

What was the process like to go from an idea to the final product?

I built an inspiration folder and included patterns and photos that I liked. I looked at what other people were doing with Southwest scrapbooking supplies and knew I wanted to go in a different direction.

We have a great team here that really knows their stuff, and with everyone’s input, we made something that really clicked in the end.

What’s it like to see something you created being used by others for their projects?

It’s always really satisfying to see your product out in the world; to go from something you’ve made digitally to seeing it exist as a physical thing. I was really happy with this one. It felt very accurate to my vision and captured the richness of the Southwest.

I’ve seen a lot of creative and beautiful uses of the products, especially from our design team. One of my favorites is a photo album using the collection that has a really unique and innovative construction.

A look inside the Southwest Collection

What’s next for the Southwest Adventure Collection?

We may have a planner for the collection in the future, and hopefully there will be more stickers down the road. This is one of my favorite products I’ve done, and I’d really like to see the collection fleshed out more.

Are you inspired? You can find the Southwest Collection here.

Sneak Peak: Inside Look at Candy Heart Micro Stickers

Rebecca Benedict is one of Paper House’s newest designers. She recently moved up from production artist to junior designer, and this is the first product that she’s seen through to completion. Rebecca was inspired by the Japanese “kawaii” aesthetic, combining it with Paper House’s signature photographic style for something new and different. Rebecca talks about the design process and what it’s like to wait for her product to hit the shelves.

  1. How would you describe the vibe of this product?

It’s fun and a little bit silly. It’s a combination of photographic candy hearts plus cartoony faces. They’re cute little characters that you can add to your planner, to Valentine’s Day cards, or anything else that you’re making.

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  1. Where did you get the inspiration for this product?

In the office one day, we were watching a Youtube video where someone drew in faces and expressions to make objects in the video into characters.

Paper House has a long history of photographic imagery, so we took this video inspiration and incorporated imagery from the Japanese “kawaii” style we’ve been learning more about. Several people from Paper House even visited Japan recently to do research and gather inspiration from this style and others. As part of this kawaii style, Japanese designers often add cute, cartoon-like faces to create characters and give things personality.

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  1.  Does this build on a past Paper House product? Were you influenced by an outside design or artist?

This product reflects Paper House’s specialty in photographic imagery and elements. As the same time, it’s also a nod toward our future. In fact, the stickers are part of our new Life Organized intro being released this July.   

We have so many ideas for micro stickers and we’d like to make tons of them – they’re adorable and perfect for cards, planners, and bullet journaling. It’s likely you’ll see many more from us in the near feature.

  1. What process did you go through for getting from the idea to the final version?  

I was really inspired by Crystal’s version of this style where she made candy corn into characters for a Halloween sticker. Another one of our designers, Sean, passed me some photographic candy hearts from one of his designs (things are very collaborative here!) as a starting point. I decided to leave the iconic phrases on some of the hearts, and I made some into characters by adding different faces.

I received lots of advice from my fellow Paper House designers throughout the process, which led me to play with and scale to make them smaller and more cute, and skew them more towards a Valentine’s Day aesthetic by adding in more pink and purple.

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  1. How does it feel to have finished your first product?

I’m so excited for the summer release! We come up with concepts for SO many different stickers and other products, and I’m so excited that one of mine was chosen to be mass-produced. I can’t wait to be able to use these stickers in my planner!

  1. What’s next for this product?

Microstickers are a format that we’d like to do more of, for sure. We’ve been exploring a lot of things with the kawaii style, and have lots of new things to reveal shortly! Stay tuned!

These stickers will be released as part of a new Life Organized collection this July. Follow Paper House on Facebook to make sure you hear when the collection is released!

Behind the Scenes at Paper House: Creating the Autumn Collection

Tara Sturm has been a designer at Paper House for five years. An avid artist, Tara often brings inspiration from other projects into her designs. Introduced last year, the Autumn Woods Collection was one of Tara’s first projects, and includes Autumn Air, Pumpkin Spice, Autumn Woods, and the Woodland Friends scrapbook paper, and Autumn Woods Cardstock Sticker. Tara talks about what it means to take a project from start to completion, and how exciting it is to see it come to life.  

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Fall in New York’s Hudson Valley

Where did you get the inspiration for this product?

I’ve always loved the fall. In Upstate New York [where Paper House is located and where Tara is from] it’s one of the most beautiful seasons. I really love the colors. I wanted to make sure that this beauty was reflected in some of the products that we offer.

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Tara is an artist as well as a designer, and drew much of her inspiration from her love for watercolors.

What were some of the influencing factors?

We had a couple papers that really needed a refresh. This was my first collection, so it was also my foot in the door. I was asked what I’d like to do and I chose autumn. As an artist and a painter, watercolor was a big component of the collection that I wanted to make sure was included in the collection.

Tell us about the design process.

To get started, I put up images onto an image board to help refine what we’re looking for. As we moved forward, our team has a few benchmarkers during which everyone will give a critique. Since it was my first time, we went through a few edits. I wanted to add an unexpected color pallet, so I added teal and dark purple to the typical orange and greens. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

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Most new products at Paper House start with a mood board.

What’s it like to see your product in the real world?

When we got the samples back from the printer, it was amazing to see something go from a design on the computer to something you can hold in your hands. I got some really feedback from a lot of the shows we went to, just for being different. The teal isn’t something you might expect from an autumn-themed collection, and the contrast really helps the colors pop.

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Adding teal really helped the traditional fall colors to come alive.

What’s next for this product?

Coming up this summer we’ve got a new Autumn Woods planner collection, including stickers, clips, and washi tape! Stay tuned….

You can shop the Autumn Collection here! And make sure to stay tuned to the Paper House blog to read more “Behind the Scenes” features.

Paper House “Went Wild” at the 2017 Go Wild Planner Conference

We just got back from Nashville for the 2017 Go Wild Planners Conference and it was, in a word, AMAZING! This was the planning event’s second year, and it is quickly becoming one of the largest gathering of planning enthusiasts in the country. This year, Opryland hosted over 700 attendees.

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While it’s always great to see what people are making and get inspiration for our own projects, the event was so much more than that. It demonstrates the strong community of planner enthusiasts, and it’s a chance for them to come together and celebrate their work. In just three short years, their Facebook group already has over 39,000 members (and counting!). This year, tickets for the conference sold out in all of three minutes. We made tons of new friends, and it was reaffirming to see the support of the community.

That’s not to mention all the awesome swag. Michael’s donated a huge bag of some of the great products they carry, including a Fiskar’s punch and an Instax camera, and don’t even get us started on all the great stickers and washi!

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Using planners is more than just keeping track of your to-do list. They help us engage with our lives, and break down our aspirations into manageable tasks and actions so we can make them happen. We were most inspired by Michelle Carter, an Olympic gold medalist and conference keynote. During her empowering talk, she spoke about how planners have helped her to overcome life’s setbacks, to organize her goals, and to focus on the daily actions she needed to take to reach those goals.

The power of planners comes from writing down your goals and dreams and creating actionability. We were so inspired by this year’s conference, and we hope to see you at the next one!

-Shaena and Gretchen


Ready to get started? Here are a few Paper House planners we recommend.

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Adventure awaits

Always and forever

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In Case You Missed It: The Best Travel-Themed Creations from Our Design Team

At Paper House, we’ve been working with great designers making incredible work for over thirty years. Recently, we’ve had the joys of travel on our minds after our trip to Japan (read about it here!), and we’ve rounded up some of the best travel-themed crafting projects to help inspire your next project. In case you missed it, here’s some of our favorites from the last couple of months.

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First up, we’ve got Christine Meyer’s rustic commemoration of her trip to Boston. Christine was inspired by the color palette of the Let Freedom Ring Boston paper crafting kit. Be sure to see how she took her project to the next level with her creative use of string art in her tutorial video

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Renee Timmerman has been crafting amazing projects with Paper House products for years! Renee used a variety of different kits to create a lasting tribute to her time on the road, including the Discover USA kit, the Road Is Life scrapbook paper kit, and the Road Trip Mixed card pack. Visit her blog for more of her amazing work!

Paper House Productions Southwest Adventure Card

Melinda Beltran’s epic birthday card was made with the Southwest Adventure paper crafting kit. Melinda used foam tape to give some dimension for multiple layers to form something really special. View a couple more of her Southwest-inspired creations here.

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Finally, Samantha Taylor captured her trip with her husband in one of her favorite formats: mini-albums. Like Renee, Samantha combined a variety of different Paper House products to help realize her vision. She combines the Cruise and Paradise Found double-sided scrapbook paper kits with the Discover The World and Island Life 3D sticker packs. As Samantha describes her approach, “small photo albums this size are perfect for using lots of stickers as embellishments!”

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Journey To Create: Finding Inspiration in Japan

Last month, the Paper House team traveled all the way to Japan to see the sights, hear the sounds, and learn more about the country’s ancient culture.

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Why did we travel halfway across the world to look at paper?

We believe it’s important to always be discovering – to understand what’s useful and trending, not just from our computers and in our own space, but globally. To be inspired, as artists, by new cultures & their lifestyles; by materials, makers and processes that were developed literally hundreds of years before us. And, to bring that knowledge and creativity back with us to develop a new product line that will totally blow you away! This product line will be a perfect fusion between old and new, between us back home and our experiences here.

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Nowhere in the world have we seen such a love for all things paper than in Japan. From sublime elegance to whimsical kawaii, the culture celebrates stationery, crafting, origami and writing like no other country.

Perhaps it’s because of the intimacy that comes from living together so closely that so many Japanese choose to communicate through physical means, like stationery. As a hard-working society, paper, stickers, diaries, and planners allow them to show a playful side of their disciplined lives. The adorable characters they love are like avatars, allowing them to have fun and laugh together.

There were so many types of crafts here that we don’t often see in the US. We saw many aisles devoted to resin crafting, epoxy jewelry and decor, miniatures and even leather-crafting. We were surprised to see the difference in space devoted to paper crafting versus other types of crafts. In the states, we’re much more heavily focused on scrapbooking and paper crafts. We’re excited to see what opportunities there are for us in new and different product categories!

In one store called Loft, we even saw two customers actively shopping for Paper House stickers while we were standing right there! Seeing products we’ve designed in such a major retail space, halfway across the world from us, was incredible. It was amazingly inspiring and humbling at the same time.

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Unlike Hijemi Castle, it’s certainly difficult for paper goods to last for half a millennium (even with acid & lignin free materials!). But we hope and know that our products—especially scrapbooks—give people the tools to pass down their memories and share their legacies with their children, grandchildren and beyond. We’re not building a castle per se, but we’re so thankful to be a part of helping people build their stories.

Having shipped about fifteen pounds of assorted products back to the states from the trip, we’re definitely bringing a considerable piece of our experience and those new ideas home with us, and we can’t wait to share with all of you what we’re planning. Stay tuned!

-Shaena, Sean, Roni, and Don
Paper House Productions