We leave, in less than a week, for our umpteenth stationery show. It’s the sixth or seventh–I can’t remember exactly, and I’d have to go dig through accounting records to figure it out. And I’d prefer not to dig through accounting records.
I just checked out Anna Griffin‘s latest blog post, and was thoroughly amused by her early scrapbooking. I have one of those I could pull out, but we’ll save that for another day. Her scrapbooking journey did send me off on a sentimental tangent of my own, however, and I started to think about our early days as a company, and how far we’ve come.
Back in 2001, when I was graduating from college and trying to decide if I should move to Dallas or start a stationery company, I journaled–nay, TYPESET–my thoughts about my future. At the top of the list was “start a stationery company–should I, or shouldn’t I?” I should have, because I moved to Dallas and found heaps of trouble instead, only to return a year later and THEN start a stationery company.
At the very beginning I called it Whitney&Co.;, no spaces please. The telephone bill still lists us as Whitney&Co.;, so every time I call to change something I have to reflect back to why I named it Whitney&Co;, and I can’t remember. I was working during the day, and drawing all night, putting together my first album, so let’s just say the sleeplessness caused memory loss. I used Microsoft Publisher, gasp. The logo was Caslon and Bernhard Roman. I was crazy about kate spade.
I couldn’t find a picture of the “Whitney&Co.” logo, so here’s a picture of my desk, early on. PC? What was I thinking? Zebra carpet? That’s more like it.
At some point in the next year, someone told me I should just call the company “Whitney English”, and I paid good money to have them come up with a tagline, “Define the Moment”. It’s still on some of my old business cards. I couldn’t decide if I liked aqua or pink best, so I flip flopped between color schemes, and typography case. Our first National Stationery Show used all lower-case Baskerville as a font, and we used a monogram I had created in AutoCad in college as a motif.
Somewhere along the line, I read an article that said, “NEVER change your logo.” You may get sick of the color, DON’T CHANGE IT. You may get tired of the typeface, DON’T CHANGE IT. You may get disgusted with the layout, DON’T CHANGE IT. And I realized I had been changing our logo far too much.
I was a big fan of the “notched out corner”, (evidence above) and hadn’t seen it very many places yet. It reminded me of paneling on old ballrooms, in the Sound of Music and in Grace Farrell’s suite in Annie. It was French, and I was English, but who cared? I wanted life to be EVERYTHING that a notched-out corner represented. I was also rather pre-possessed with small caps, and having recently upgraded from, ahem, publisher to Adobe suite products, found that Adobe Garamond Pro had everything dreamy to offer when it came to small caps.
And so, our logo, in it’s NEVER-CHANGE-IT format, was born. We made it black and white, because I was still struggling with the pink vs. aqua vs. lime green vs. brown color scheme. And let’s face it, black and white goes with everything, right?
It’s a good logo, and it’s stood us in good stead. We’re not changing it–it’s still the core of who we are at Whitney English. But the monogram, re-released on our candles last fall, caught fire with our fans quickly.
We are introducing some new products at the stationery show this year with our monogram–you’ll have to stop by and check them out! In addition to this minor expansion to the Whitney English brand, I’m also excited to debut a few others–some new, some classics–under the English Paper Company brand.