As I mentioned in this month's newsletter, the Arlington Museum of Art has debuted a new line of my blank note cards in their gift shop. While the size of the note cards is the same as ones that I have been selling, the artwork, the paper, the printing and the packaging are all new.
I also shared in the article that I had been interested in producing boxed sets of note cards on heavier paper stock for some time. I like the medium weight paper that I print on with my laser printer at home, but it is near the upper limit of paper weight that I can print myself. In order to offer boxed sets of note cards I also needed to find a way to speed up the printing process as I have to feed the card stock one at a time on my laser printer. I had investigated a few full service printing options in the past but the price points and run sizes had never been in the range that would work out to allow me to keep my pricing where I wanted it. The missing pieces of my "how do I make this work" puzzle finally came together late last year.
A fellow artisan gave me a lead last November that I intended to follow up on after the first of the year when my show season was behind me. However, after attending docent training for the Arlington Museum of Art's upcoming Modern Masters exhibit just after receiving this lead and mentioning my Psychedelic Gazelle note card to the gift store's buyer, I was asked about boxed sets of cards. I scheduled an appointment and brought in some examples of my photographic art that tended towards pop. Some of it was selected for individually wrapped note cards on the stock that I print and others were selected for an anticipated boxed set of cards.
Two of my images for the boxed set, whose colors complemented each other, only needed to be cropped to the proper aspect ratio for my note card layout and tweaked a bit to ensure the colors would print well on matte paper instead of the photo paper that those photographic art images had previously been printed on. The third image of a dragonfly required quite a bit more work however. The dragonfly image was already pretty psychedelic, however the colors were way off to make a cohesive set. I was asked to see what I could do to get some purple into the image and match the color scheme of the other two cards. I came up with two versions, one with a lighter dragonfly on a dark background and the other with a darker dragonfly on a light background. Initially one of the two new color schemes was picked to make a set of nine cards, however once I received my test prints of all four potential new cards it was decided to put together a set of eight using all four images.
Those test prints sold me on the print shop I had been given the lead to. The colors were amazing, even better than my printer at home. The paper was a wonderful, heavy card stock. The only thing I was missing was proper packaging. Luckily I knew one of my other suppliers carried this type of product. I placed orders for clear boxes to fit sets of eight note cards with envelopes and a small print run of the four new note cards. Each set in the AMA gift shop contains two each of the four images. I put a different image at the top of four boxed sets so I could show what images come in a set in one photo.
After the Modern Masters exhibit comes to an end on February 21, 2016, I plan to offer boxed sets of these images. However when I do, I will sell sets of six cards, three each of two images. In order to purchase all four images outside of the museum, you would need to buy two different sets of six cards instead of one set of eight currently available at AMA.