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From Creation to Fruition: The Making of Noteworthy Goods

 

“What began with just a handful of card designs, has grown into a comprehensive collection of over 800 products. Our line features over 250 greeting cards and a variety of unique gift and stationery items, including our signature letterpress and die-cut postcards— all inspired by nature and this beautiful place we call home.”

This is the phrase you’ll find at the front of every single one of our Noteworthy Paper & Press product catalogs. But have you ever wondered how we actually make all these amazing products? Come along with me, JoAnn, through the process of creating the goods that make up the Noteworthy brand! I sat down with our wholesale design team, Adrienne and Taylor, to get the scoop of what exactly goes on in the product development from start to finish! 

 


 

Deciding which projects to tackle throughout the year has to come with some flexibility, Taylor mentions. Sorting through new regional product requests and other custom product requests can take precedence, but there are also always questions on the mind about how to make our offerings more well-rounded. I’m talking about looking for the gaps in our product catalogs. Do we need more holiday cards? More sympathy cards? What else are we missing? Is there time to make new cards before the holiday orders start rolling in during the summer months? 

Other long-term project ideas are also constantly running in the background– finishing products for major national parks, finally completing every state die-cut postcard, expanding the Noteworthy T-shirt line, and rounding out regional product collections in general, like adding more stickers, enamel pins, and totes. Just to mention a few! 

Both Taylor and Adrienne emphasized the game plan to also expand upon what we already have. This means taking Noteworthy artwork already created, like our Hearts & Rainbows pattern or our Monarch Butterfly design, and using it to create a well-rounded selection of coordinating merchandise, like Noteworthy gift wrapping sheets which may make an appearance this upcoming holiday season. 

So where are we headed for the rest of this year? Well, Adrienne is already chipping away at the next round of puzzle designs and cranking out more regional postcards, and as Taylor states, “I think our goal for this year is to start thinking about next year.” 

 

 

Once the team has determined the direction for new projects, it’s time to start designing. Except . . . we have to back up an extra step before we get to the actual designing process. Once a project is decided on, research becomes the name of the game. Looking into costs and the actual development and quality of the product (translation: is this actually going to look good when it’s done?) are crucial before fully committing to making a new product. 

The research doesn’t stop there. When designing a regional product, Adrienne looks at multiple angles of the actual region to make sure her work is accurate and isn’t missing any details. “I always take four or more different elements from three or four different angles to make sure what we’re creating feels unique.” She’ll also add in other elements like animals and foliage specific to that region to make it one-of-a-kind. 

When the actual design process starts, preliminary sketches are drawn up first. Once that’s done, the drawings are then scanned into the computer for further detailing. Drawing is done first to achieve the overall composition, but working digitally makes it easier to create details and layers, as well as change colors as necessary. Layering digitally also makes it easier to add and take away elements to reformat the same design into different products, like turning postcards into puzzles. 

 

 

But teamwork really does makes the dream work here. Adrienne does the preliminary sketches and later fully develops the design, while Taylor will sketch out new elements to add in, adjust colors, and, in the end, approve the final design. Taylor, while also being one of the co-owners of Noteworthy, takes on the role of the creative director in this duo, overseeing and guiding the design decisions. The two are in constant communication and go back and forth on all the elements of a design project. 

As if on cue, while we're talking, Adrienne got a check-in message of feedback from Taylor on a puzzle design she’s currently working on for Zion National Park: “Looking good... I want to see the animals stand out a bit more, maybe they need to be lighter? I like how it looks like the sun is pouring in through the canyon!” 

How long it can take to get a design done depends on the intensity of the project. Stickers, like our latest Javelina sticker, can take just a handful of hours to design and get ready for production. Other products like postcards and greeting cards can take about a week to make and print, but bigger projects like puzzles and notebooks can take hours into the high double digits and take months to be produced. When it comes to the larger projects, Adrienne says, you have to factor in time for more details in the design and outsourcing production.

 

 

Once designs are complete, they move into the production stage, where the design turns into the actual product! Production preparation takes a larger chunk of time than you would think. Adrienne has to go through all of the design files and format them for printing, double-checking that all of the lines are going to appear and no details are so fine that they risk dropping out in the actual printing process. If the product is being made on our Original Heidelberg presses, printing plates must also be ordered. She and Taylor also have to choose the Pantone colors that will be used.

“I think physically printing prototypes is the most important thing to check,” Adrienne says.
“And double check, and measure, and double measure,” Taylor adds. 

When products are being created in-house here at Noteworthy, it’s easy for Adrienne and Taylor to check in every step of the way, examining the registration and print quality, and checking for color issues. When outsourcing product creation, products are approved via digital proofs and sometimes through physical samples. And, of course, final quality checks are done when the product arrives at Noteworthy. 

 


 

Once the product is finally in stock and quality checks are done, it’s time to get it ready to sell! Dani, press operator and media assistant, creates product listings, and photographs every item for each of the five platforms where we sell Noteworthy goods–Etsy, Shopify, Amazon, Faire, and Abound. Once the digital listings are complete and inventory is accounted for, it’s ready for you to purchase! 

And that’s how it’s done! From start to finish, there’s a lot that goes into creating our line of Noteworthy products. I know I can’t wait to see what our Noteworthy crew comes up with next– did you see the FOUR new Noteworthy puzzles that were just released this week? They're a true reflection of the talent and love this team puts into every product it creates.