Personal Luxuries | The Reconnoisseur

The greeting card that’s a gift in itself

These are not just greeting cards – they’re works of art

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The greeting card that’s a gift in itself

October 17 2011
Paul Richardson

When I wanted a wedding invitation that would blow the more conventional suppliers out of the water, I knew just who to call. What Charlie Willcock created for me was a fabulous farrago with Victorian lettering in bright colours and block-printed motifs that suggested perfectly the fun and the hilarity of the occasion. Though I might not have known it beforehand, it was exactly what I wanted.

Trained at Central St Martins, Willcock was creative director at super-cool branding agency The Nest, conjuring up “identities” for luxury brands such as perfumer Miller Harris. Since moving to a Jacobean house in deepest Sussex, she has taken her graphic design talents in a new direction with MadeSpecially, a web-based business specialising in quirkily gorgeous personalised prints.

A browse through her website reveals graphic temptations aplenty. Her designs are eye-catching, breezily contemporary, and often warmly witty. Her suggestion for a boy’s bedroom door reads “Keep Out of X’s Room – No Girls Allowed”. (You provide the names.) A pupil’s thank-you note to a teacher becomes a bright red apple with the logo “You’re Amazing Mrs X” (first picture). And I loved her “X Family Circus” poster (second picture) with star billing for its “Astounding!” and “Amazing!” family members. There’s also a bespoke service starting at £150 which allows the client to choose the theme.

What Charlie Willcock proposes are not greeting cards as such (which she swears she has never bought in her life) but something more substantial which is both gift and greeting. Her prints are genuine artworks which are so cool the receiver will want to keep them on display or even frame and hang them on the wall; I know for sure that our wedding invitation still stands on mantelpieces to this day.

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