The Card Designer Spotlight is a series featuring independent makers whose greeting cards you can find in Paper Source stores. Meet and be inspired by a new designer every month on our blog!
E. Frances is a family business, made up of three cousins- Ali, Pippi & Jenni. Their designs & card collection are inspired out of their East Coast studio in Rhode Island. Whether sending their cute greeting cards or little notes, their stationery is motivated to delight anyone of any age and support their continued goal of creating meaningful personal connections.
How did you begin your card-making career?
It was never a stretch to enter the world of stationery- my childhood soundtrack was one of
scissors, tape, and the crinkle of paper. Our parents have graciously lived through decades of
homemade everything, especially cards. I grew into the world of fashion illustration, graphic
design, and eventually my own design business, but I had always wanted to own a business
with my sister Jenni, and in 2012, we decided that cards were the perfect fit for my artwork and
illustrations. We launched the company in the fall of 2013 with our cousin Pippi (we are a
real family biz!) and haven’t looked back.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Food? Pop Culture? Timeless Motifs? Playful Puns?
Everywhere- my kids, what makes us laugh, certain children’s books. I get obsessed with
certain colors. If you see me wearing head-to-toe ultramarine blue, you’re probably going to see
that color in the next release. If it’s puce green, tell me before I take another step. Though that’s
what’s great about working with your family…
What does your day look like as a card maker and designer?
It’s a real dream come true to work every day and run a business with your sister and cousin.
My days vary widely- some days are sketching and painting, and some days are all in front of the
computer or in meetings with our design and marketing team. Some days are awesomely
productive, and some… a kazillion drawings of a frog in legwarmers that we never use.
What is your preferred medium?
What does your creative process look like?
I have a billion sketchbooks everywhere and sketch all the time. Pretty much all thoughts in my
existence start with, “could that be a card?”
When we are planning a release, Jenni, Pippi and I sit and brainstorm ideas
together. Sometimes the words drive the idea, and sometimes it’s an illustration idea that starts
the card design. There’s a lot of, “is a sweaty chicken in a pot funny?” and then I sketch the ideas
out and we do another round of edits, and then the winning ideas are hand-painted in
watercolor. There are many, many rounds of edits and many paintings that go unused- we are
all extremely thoughtful and ultra-specific about what actually makes it into our card
line. Many, many times we come up with a card that truly only the three of us will laugh at.
When we get blank stares from the rest of the team, we gently move that idea to the side.
What are you most proud of as a creator and card designer?
I am so so proud and honored to be part of a business that employs over twenty amazing
people, and to be able to show up to work in a happy, light-filled, inclusive environment, where
we work hard to put a product out in the world that really does connect people. Cards’ sole
purpose for existing is to make people feel good, and connected. We think not about the
number of cards we sell, but about the number of happy recipients that is. It’s awesome.
Any personal tidbits? Special talents/fun facts?
Bueller Bueller … Ha, can’t think of anything that people would actually want to read! But
thank you so much for this spotlight!
Find E.Frances Cards and Note sets such as Big Heart Little Notes, Teacup Baby Card, and Lighthouse Here For You Card at your local store or online at papersource.com. For more inspiration and behind-the-scenes action, follow @efrancespaper on IG.