Green Thumbs Letterpress is the product of my package design’s class only group project. The main goal of the project was not only know how to work in pairs, but to also learn how to use a letterpress. My teacher had a friend that owned quite a few letterpresses from across history in downtown Columbia. She wanted us to experience using a letterpress. The assignment was to come up with either stationery or prints and to create a business and target market for our letterpressed items. We could design any additional materials that would go with our prints or stationery as well.


My package design class was quite small, only 10 students, so we were all put into 5 pairs. I was paired up with Kathryn McCarthy for this assignment. Kathryn McCarthy was a Fashion Design major but was also pursuing a graphic design minor and was quite adept at both fashion design and graphic design. I was not worried at all about being paired up with her and I knew that we each would be carrying the project equally and she was someone I could count on. I can’t remember if we brainstormed our brand first and then we decided upon a stationery set, or if we picked the stationery first. Either way, we wanted to do a complete stationery set including cards, envelopes, gift tags, and a journal. We had a really hard time narrowing down our ideas for a specific niche market in order to provide a strong argument for our choices.


After much deliberation and even trying to get some advice from our peers, we decided to target baby boomer women who loved to garden. Both of our moms are baby boomers and we both mentioned how they liked to garden. We thought our ideal customer should be someone that we both know well. Thus, Green Thumbs Letterpress was born.

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At Stephens College I had the complete privilege to take the package design class my senior year.
To this day, it has been my favorite class that I have ever taken. I had never realized or thought about package design before. I didn’t understand that there was a science and an art to it and it was more than just designing boxes. I feel that every project that I completed for that class will stay with me and will be some of my proudest accomplishments even 10 years down the road. I learned an incredible amount of knowledge about design that I didn’t know before.


My favorite project from that class would have to be the chocolate/candy project. My teacher tasked us with coming up with a line of candy or chocolates. We were to come up with three variations, branding, and to physically execute our ideas with mockups. Because this class was known to be incredibly challenging and this was the first big project we had, I had a really hard time coming up with an idea. Also, previously, the project had been a coffee/tea project so I had already come up with an idea for that not knowing that it changes every year. I basically had to reroute my brainstorming and thinking to gear up for candy.


Because I had no clue where to start, I decided to conduct some research. I knew that I wanted my candy or chocolate to have international appeal,
I interviewed some of my international friends all
over the world. I asked them questions like what
their favorite memories are associated to candy/chocolate. What candy was their favorite?
A recurring memory that kept popping up was that
a lot of people had good memories connected to
being able to share it with someone else.
They liked that aspect of candy and the connection and thoughtfulness that comes along with gifting
it to someone else. Then, I understood the direction that I needed to take this project. The next step
was to decide what the context was and pick
a target market.


The Green Thumbs Letterpress Stationery Set is for the dedicated gardener. Whether you are a dedicated gardener, or you are shopping for a dedicated gardener, this stationery set is perfect for you. Our target market are women aged 52-65, she’s social and likes to entertain, and lives either in the suburbs or the country. It is a $59.99 stationery set that includes 8 cards and envelopes, 8 gift tags, a journal, and your choice of one of our 3 seed packets. Our biggest competitors are Papyrus, 1canoe2, Tinyprints, and PrintStitchandPaste. What sets us apart from those retailers are that our stationery set was hand created with love and with our customer in mind. Our clever and punny greeting cards can be used for any occasion and it comes with a packet of daisies to plant in your garden. The cards were hand pressed in a letterpress by the creators of the brand and all the illustrations were done by hand as well. No one card or gift tag is the same, because nobody is perfect. You can find the Green Thumbs Letterpress Stationery Set at your local nursery, botanical garden gift shops, and our pop-up shop. Some of our other products include a collection of packaged seeds, flower presses, art prints, and indoor storage boxes for the office or gardening room.


I believe that we had a very strong and specialized target market and were able to incorporate a perfect product along with the letterpress aspect. When we were divvying up the tasks, I was put in charge of creating the illustrations for the cards, creating the gift tags, designing the seed packet, designing the back of the product, and the product photography. The entirety of the set was all thought out by the both of us equally, supplies were purchased together, and Kate directed the product shoot. I don’t do a lot of watercolor illustrations ever, so this project was able to help me develop some skills I didn’t have before.
It put me out of my comfort zone in the best way.