Since this journal post, we have stopped selling Christmas cards. We continue to print packaging for our range of vintage lighting products using die-cutting and letterpress and personalise notebooks using mechanical typesetting and letterpress.
In 1843 John Callcott Horsley – a British painter noted for his objection to paintings of the nude – created a design for his friend Sir Henry Cole. The design, a triptych of images was lithographed onto 1,000 pieces of card and hand coloured. Each card bore the message ‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You’ thereby staking the best claim to being the first ever Christmas cards.
The greetings card industry is now estimated to be worth some £1.5 billion annually in the UK alone – which is a lot of card and paper. Prelogram’s cards represent a tiny fraction of the market and its environmental impact, but we’re still committed to sustainability. Our entire operation is heated – water & space – by biomass. We use packaging and envelopes which are exclusively or mostly from recycled materials and which is itself then easily recyclable. When we can’t used recycled materials, everything is FSC approved and we get through just 2 sheets of A4 paper per employee per day – not bad for a business with 5000+ transactions per month and a multi-million pound turnover.
Here’s a potted history of how Prelogram has tried to achieve both sustainability and creativity in the many different Christmas cards we’ve had a part in making to date.
Snowflake – James Hurst
Die-cut from recycled cereal boxes, this Prelogram classic is one of our favourite cards of all time. The design was a collaboration with James Hurst (Cure Studio) and was a blizzard of a success from day one. We were never able to repeat the genius of the first year’s envelopes (made out of an avalanche of Rocky Horror theatre posters), but our ‘flat-pack’ cards continued to be popular, especially with crafty types (the cards were slightly fiddly).
Various – Print Club London
A new direction was heralded when Prelogram collaborated with Print Club London in 2013. Print Club has a great roster of incredibly talented artists and illustrators. Prelogram’s Print Club London cards used some existing designs and also new work. The Christmas card collection included ‘Christmas Robin’ by Chris Andrews, ‘Christmas Pudding’ by Rose Blake and the classic ‘Heisenberg Santa’ by Ben Rider which gave Breaking Bad’s Walter White a seasonal makeover. All the cards were made on FSC approved stock and used 80% recycled envelopes. We’ve still a few of the 2013 Christmas cards.
Arborum Natalium – Harriet Paterson
In 2014, Prleogram partnered with top interior designer & stylist Harriet Paterson for the Arborum Natalium (Google translate Latin ⇄ English = Christmas trees) cards. Harriet chose the images from the Corbis archive – home to some of the world’s great photographic content – and the colourways. The cards are craft printed on FSC approved stock from responsible sources and the enveloped are 80% recycled material.