How to Pick a Not-Awful Valentine’s Card
Photographs courtesy of Scribble & Daub
Swap the sickly for the stylish this year, with a bespoke card, hand-crafted by experts.
The beginning of February is a time when people in relationships start sweating, under the ever-increasing pressure of producing the perfect Valentine’s moment out of their back pockets, come the 14th. But to be honest, they need to relax. Because traditionally, Valentine’s Day isn’t even about them. In fact, the holiday is designed specifically for those among us who hold a crush – the idea is that you send a Valentine to your intended to let them know about your true feelings. Accepted formats for this process include chocolates, flowers, and other such schmaltzy things. But we at MR PORTER prefer the time-honoured mechanism of the card. They’re simple, humble and, for those lucky people of the world that find themselves receiving multiple declarations of love, don’t take up too much room.
When choosing the card, remind yourself that it will – if you’re lucky – be kept for many years to come. Imagine the person you give it to opening a box in 20, maybe 30 years’ time, and finding it. To ensure they see it and look back on you with a warm fuzzy feeling, go with something memorable, lighthearted, and for the love of god, don’t go cheap. A good way of ensuring you avoid this is to buy a card from an illustrator or designer as opposed to a regular shop. Never, ever buy from a supermarket.
With this in mind, here are three examples of card-makers, printers and illustrators who have got the right idea. Solicit them for their wares (or even a custom-made design, if you’re feeling super-romantic), and you’re sure to impress.
Scribble & Daub
Scribble & Daub is masterminded by Ms Caroline Kent, a former curator who now spends her days creating beautiful gifts and cards. As well as stocking ready-made cards on her site, she also works to bespoke commissions, allowing you to add a personal touch to your Valentine’s card, if you get in there now. In Ms Kent’s words: “As old-fashioned stationery and proper post become new luxuries, Scribble & Daub cards are designed to enhance any present, or to be tiny gifts in themselves, meticulously hand-crafted objects of enduring pleasure to both giver and receiver.” If that wasn’t enough to persuade you, just think on the fact that these hand-drawn and letterpressed cards are finished and packaged up in a tiny cottage studio in East Sussex. Romantic, no?
This incredibly handy website invites you to submit a message and have it hand-painted on to a poster or print in the design of your choice. Run by California-based designer Ms Nicole Lavelle, the service allows you a very large word-limit so you can express your love for someone in song lyrics, a poem, or even a short story. Whatever you submit will be reproduced by Ms Lavelle herself in her charming handwritten style. The nice thing about this service is how open Ms Lavelle is to getting this just right: “If you are interested in special papers, other sizes, bulk-order discounts, having me write you a poem, or tapping into my super nice cursive handwriting, get in touch,” she says. “I’m happy to talk details.”
Risotto Studio is a tiny and very popular risograph studio in Glasgow set up by graphic artist Ms Gabriella Marcella. The studio is a prolific one, thanks to its preferred medium of of risograph printing (a screen-print style method), and Risotto’s signature style has a bold, Mr Ettore-Sottsass-esque aesthetic, featuring the brightest colours imaginable. You can check out their store for an ever-changing variety of cards and prints (we particularly like the jiggling sausages – what’s more fun and provocative than that for Valentine’s Day?), or get in touch with Ms Marcella to request a bespoke commission.