Over the past 20 years, I’ve encountered greeting cards with every possible enhancement you can imagine. Be it sound, QR codes, special apps you have to download, printing methods even *I* am a bit unclear about, embellishments of every conceivable variety … rest assured I have seen them all.

However, the newest range from Up With Paper is the first I’ve ever encountered that’s specifically created with a focus on the most natural and most necessary accompaniment to any great design: light. Up With Paper has already toyed with the concept by integrating light effects into its Panoramics and Treasures cards for several years now, and they have been consistent top sellers, even with a higher retail price.

A deeper exploration of the concept was obviously in order, so the newest pop-up range was created specifically with an eye toward light effects. A shadowbox format makes the most of the array of LED and fiber optic lights in several colors, each carefully selected to offset each designs. Accordingly, the range has been dubbed Delighted — and I’m sure that will the overriding response to it in a few short days when it premieres at Noted. A joyous harmony of design, embellishment, message and now light, these promise to transport card-sending into the 21st century!

I sat down with Monika Brandrup, Up With Paper’s Vice President & Creative Director, to learn more.

SS: From initial idea to release, how long did it take to develop this range?

MB: Once we decided to develop a new pop-up card line with light effects, it took six months to finalize the paper engineering style and complete 14 solid designs for the debut launch.

SS: Can you share some of the different lighting techniques to provide a sense of their breadth? How was the best one arrived at for each card?

MB: All lights are custom designed, and the type of light effects was driven by the art of each individual card design. Each LED or fiber optic light, as well as its color, were chosen to optimize the effect on the paper engineering, mixed media, and artwork used on the specific design.

SS: I would think that the interplay of light with metallic finishes and inks also came into play during design. Can you give an example of how these were combined for ultimate results?

MB: In our Disco Balls design, a combination of holographic foil, silver glitter, and flashing colored LED lights create a sparkling dance-floor environment. The interplay between the light effects and the paper engineering and mixed media on each design is what really makes each design “work” in this new format.

SS: I would love to get a glimpse at the life of one design in the range. Who conceptualizes it, and what did it go through before being finalized?

MB: Together, my in-house designers and I brainstorm to come up with a range of design concepts, which we share with our sales team. We then develop the ones that we are all the most excited about, considering potential market reaction and the applicability of light and shadows on the execution of the concept. This consists of a multi-step process of sketching how the finished pop-up will look and illustrating the art, while keeping the special finishes and light effects in mind.

SS: What were the biggest obstacles in developing this range?

MB: Technically, it is most challenging to determine how the light effects can and cannot be embedded into a complex pop-up card. The lights can only be added at specific points within the card, determined by the paper engineering and card construction, as well as the limitations of the electronics themselves. Each concept presented its own challenge, and some could not be overcome without negatively impacting the light/shadow interaction we were seeking. 

SS: Do the lights effect postage rates?

MB: The battery for the lights as well as our complex paper engineering do contribute to requiring slightly extra postage to mail our cards. The envelopes fit within the Postal Service regulations for a standard envelope, but the extra thickness and weight will require a Butterfly stamp and an extra ounce stamp.

SS: It seems that this is one product that must truly be seen in person to be truly experienced. Is it difficult to replicate the experience of these cards online? Are you taking any steps to address this?

MB: Of course, it is best to experience one of our cards coming to life in your own hands, and yes, it is difficult to replicate that experience online. However, we will incorporate videos on our website that really show off the pop-ups and light effects in our cards.

SS: How are you promoting the range? How do you recommend your wholesale accounts do?

MB: We will of course be featuring it prominently at all the summer shows, starting with our Noted launch. We are sending out a special catalog featuring the line and will also be supporting it through print and online advertising.  And our sales team will be bringing samples to all interested retailers this summer! We recommend that our retailers dedicate one side of our floor spinners to include all 14 Delighted designs in the initial launch, or, if preferred, dedicate an entire 12-pocket counter spinner to their favorite dozen designs. We do think this new line works well on its own or in conjunction with our other brands on a combo spinner.

SS: How do you see the Delighted range impacting card recipients? I would love to learn more about how you see the receiving of the card to be a “wow” moment — and then how it is displayed in the home or work space.

MB: I think that there is something nostalgic about opening a shadowbox card and feeling that you are part of the miniature environment that you hold in your hands. I hope that recipients of our Delighted cards feel the same way, especially once they discover the light effects that bring the card to life — providing a true “wow” moment. It is also important to note that all of our Delighted cards feature our patented, built-in card locks so recipients can display them fully open and enjoy them every day.

SS: Do you plan on adding new designs to the range?

MB: We are already working on our next releases and anticipate launching eight-12 new designs over the next year, three to four at a time to coincide with major show seasons (January, Noted, and summer).                       

SS: Is there anything else you’d like to share about Delighted with The Paper Chronicles readers?

MB: We hope that everyone will be as excited with our new line as we are! We are thrilled with the final result, and can’t wait for feedback at Noted in Brooklyn.

Okay folks, you saw them here first! But see the Delighted introduction in all its glory for yourself at Noted — you can register at the link — in a few short days. Before you know it, they’ll be in stores and online with a suggested MSRP of $9.99 a pulchritudinous pop!

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