July 1, 2021 • Sarah Schwartz
Industry vs. Community
A note from the editor-in-chief
As I write this, the third iteration of *Noted is winding down. For the second year running, it was a virtual show. This edition also marked the second Noted @ *Noted Awards, which I had the pleasure of helping coordinate. Having not been able to physically hobnob with makers or experience new releases in about 18 months, this was finally an opportunity to do so, albeit in a radically different form.
To me, the 10 winners — as well as all the finalists, to say nothing of our mind-boggling 194 entries — are each tangible evidence that greeting card makers have responded to the events of the past year or so with thoughtful heart and soul. They support people they have never met, and most likely will never meet, to help them celebrate the good and navigate hardship and heartache. We all know that when you don’t know what to say, a card does the emotional heavy lifting and gets the conversation started.
Providing this service for others is no easy task. It takes a special kind of temperament to do it, so paper peeps tend to be a little different than everyone else. We are introspective, creative, articulate, visual, poetic, and thank goodness, incredibly quirky. We approach situations differently in order to help others do so as well. Somehow, the fact that I haven’t physically seen anyone in so long, yet still got to interact with them on this project, brought with it a refresher course in the extraordinary individuals that populate the stationery world.
Once I examined this world a little closer, I realized that I always referred to the stationery and greeting card market as “the industry,” but really “community” would be a better term. It’s a fine distinction, but an important one. After all, an industry is all about commerce, and a community — even one where everyone doesn’t live in the same physical space — is all about people.
So while we are all here to earn a living and sustain ourselves and our families, that’s a superficial description of what we do. So much carefully considered thought goes into every element — paper choice, color palette, printing method, trim size — in order for every last one to unite into one pleasing emotional punch. Frankly, it’s a little magical, and maybe that is why every last maker in our community continues to amaze and dazzle me.
As much as the future still feels uncertain — I know I can’t be the only one staying vigilant should the rug be pulled out from under me yet again — there are some positive signs. Weddings are back, parties are back, and perhaps now we’ll approach and appreciate them with fresh eyes as well.