The Five Questions: Jason Arbuckle

The Five Questions is another new department, capsule profiles of those dynamic minds that make the stationery industry so interesting. My first is Jason Arbuckle, creative director of J. Falkner Cards, who I met in 2011 when he first showed his clean yet colorful line at National Stationery Show. I recall lingering longer in his booth than I should have when I still had so much ground to cover — but it was hard to leave after learning that not only does he live in one of my all-time favorite cities — Palm Beach — the colors and mood of which inspire much of his line, but that Jason’s background is also in publishing, having worked as design director with several London and New York book publishers and fashion magazines. Part of what makes his line so interesting to me, I think, is that very combination— thumbing through his designs evokes the same feeling as thumbing through a favorite design magazine; the overall mood is classic yet bright and graphic, witty and always very cool. You can see that in the new designs (along with some classics) that he has shared here.

Jason is yet another 10 Designers to Watch veteran, this time in 2012, and it was no surprise to me this year when I started picking his brain when we redesigned Stationery Trends in spring, and then again (though much more so) when I launched this blog. Not only did Jason design The Paper Chronicle’s logo, he has patiently and promptly replied to every one of my million questions. His feedback is unfailingly patient and honest (if very diplomatic). Lately Jason has been spending time in London, and I’m curious to see how that city informs his upcoming collections.


1. SS:  How did you get into this crazy business?

JA: I started with just three Valentine cards in a sweet little shop in Palm Beach.  When I went back to collect what remained, I discovered they’d sold them all!  And so my adventure in card creating began …  now, three years and over 350 stores later, these first three cards are still among our bestsellers.

2. SS: Are there any design or lifestyle trends you are finding yourself particularly intrigued with these days?

JA: For card-spiration I’m always checking for the latest runway collections, and stopping by my newsagent to feed my magazine addiction.  In fashion, I see a return to prettiness — florals and feminine colors (like pink for winter!) continue strong, as does the princess polish that Kate Middleton brought to the world. Meanwhile, in magazines, type is getting cleaner and less complicated. A new classicism is emerging in both worlds of fashion and magazine.

3. SS: What letter or card comes to mind immediately as the best you’ve received?

JA: I have to confess I’m a proud uncle, so anything my 7-year old nephew Costello puts to paper becomes my new favorite.  I think we can learn a lot from the way fresh young eyes look at things.

4. SS: Can you name your three paper lines you find most worth chronicling?


— Fugu Fugu Press. I’m always cheered by the charm and whimsy of their illustrations, and what’s not to love about a paper company who chooses a heart as their recurring design motif?

— kate spade new york. I love the optimistic energy of their new line, while the crisp, simple use of type gladdens the graphic designer in me.

— StudioSarah. A London discovery, her restrained palette of aqua, pink and grey and fine use of gold foil makes for a very elegant paper line. Her new range of notebooks are especially appealing.

5. SS: Is there anything you do to keep letter-writing, card-sending and invitation-using alive?

JA: I definitely try to practice what I preach. I keep a list of birthdays, and find any excuse for a thank you card. But I often think the cards most appreciated are the ones least expected — a simple “hello” to a friend who has been on my mind.