Card Designer Spotlight x Shorthand Press

The Card Designer Spotlight is a series featuring independent makers whose greeting cards you can find in Paper Source stores. Meet and be inspired by a new designer every month on our blog!

This month, meet our Card Designer Rosanna of Shorthand Press. Celebrate International Women’s Month and find out how this woman owned business started 16 years ago and where a steady pace, original greetings and the magic of letterpress has lead to today in our blog post here.


How did you both begin your card-making career? 

Many years ago, I found myself drawn to this little store in Seattle. I would go in and just look at the greeting cards, feel the paper, read the words, look at the back to see who made them, and then try to find out more about the company and person who had made the cards. I learned that the printing method that I saw on these cards that I was so drawn to was called letterpress printing. I found a class and learned how to print on a  letterpress, bought my own press and started printing business cards and wedding invitations.

It wasn’t until I was a couple of years into printing that I thought to myself “Maybe I try my hand at making a greeting card. I have a few ideas!”. I made a little collection of about 12 cards, took photographs of them, assembled a tiny catalog and walked into a few stores in Seattle to peddle my wares. And the Shorthand greeting card line was born!

Creating greeting cards has been such a fulfilling and wonderful career and I am so glad that I discovered letterpress greeting cards in a little store in Seattle all those years ago. I can’t believe how far that little collection of 12 cards has come!

Where do you draw inspiration from? Food? Pop Culture? Timeless Motifs? Playful Puns? 

Inspiration comes from color combinations, from architecture, folk art, swatches of old fabric. Inspiration for sentiments comes from my life and the life of those around me – what are the cards we want to send that we don’t have the words for? What are the occasions we find ourselves celebrating?

It’s important to me that the sentiments we express on our cards for every situation are original. There are only so many ways to say Happy Birthday, but the challenge of coming up with a new way to say it is fun! When I think I’ve come up with an idea that I’ve never seen before, I google the combination of words to double check that someone else hasn’t already had this brilliant idea, haha. We have a couple older cards in our line that have sweet sentiments that are universal such as “I love you to the moon and back” – but even that line doesn’t have a specific author attributed to it.

What does your day look like as a card maker and designer? 

I drop my daughter off at school and then head into work. My desk is at our first store location in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Our print shop is located in the back of our store. At this point in my business journey, the bulk of my time is spent running this company – which I absolutely love. Each day brings various areas of focus in the business from thinking about wholesale sales, budgets, print schedules, social media, analyzing data, building systems, meetings, photo shoots, what each store needs. I love being in the print shop to see what Nick and Paul are printing that day, I love to get a glimpse of the orders Martin is shipping out, watching Coral, Corey and Ian make notebooks and fold greeting cards to fulfill orders. It’s fun to walk through the store and hear the retail team working with customers, to sit at my desk and work with the back of house team on the print shop and retail operations, or hear about the progress of our wholesale sales from Molly. I have an absolutely wonderful team and I am so fortunate every day to work in such a great environment.

And then before I know it, the afternoon comes and I race back home to pick my daughter up from school. Often the concrete work is done for the day, but just living life as a business owner and entrepreneur is full of inspiration. In the down time after work is often when my creative brain subconsciously thinks of new card ideas or continues to refine ideas for new products, or I have an idea of how to solve a question on a spreadsheet. I’ve learned that time spent NOT working is as valuable as time spent working and I love being open to the inspiration that will hit when I’m doing non-work related tasks.

What is your preferred medium? 

Letterpress printing is still our primary printing method and I just love it so much. The way colors overlap to create new colors, the way the texture of the paper adds an additional layer to the overall design is a magic I haven’t gotten tired of yet. For example: a field of flowers is printed on a card, the green ink pressing into the paper – the relief of the little white flowers left poking through the green have an almost 3-D aspect to them because the white paper has not been smooshed down by the press. The white flowers look like they are popping out of the field. Then blue ink is added to create the sky, and little flower stems and grass blades appear where the blue ink also overlaps in certain spots with the green ink. I don’t think I’ll ever get over how much I love letterpress printing!

What does your creative process look like? 

Ariel is my co-greeting card designer at Shorthand and since 2017 we have worked together to create all the cards. Every year we share inspiration with each other of what we’re loving (right now we are very floral heavy, and I just can’t get enough!). This includes particular motifs, color combinations, etc. And then as we work through each collection, each new release, we pull from our larger themes that we’ve compiled for that year and we think through the sentiments we want for each card. It is a true creative partnership. Ariel creates the visual elements, I think of the sentiments and do the handwriting for the cards, and then we refine our thoughts – it can be difficult to tell where her work stops and mine begins and vice versa. It has been such a joy to develop such a strong creative partnership and I think our work is stronger because of our teamwork.

What are you most proud of as a creator and card maker? 

I am so proud of the slow and steady journey this business has been on. I started printing in a little shed in my backyard in Seattle 16 years ago. The print shop moved to Los Angeles, the team expanded, we opened our first retail store 8 years ago, we just opened our second retail store last summer, our wholesale line continues to grow, we have such great relationships with both our vendors and our stockists. I am proud to have created jobs that pay people fairly, this work is honestly all so much more fulfilling because of the team doing this work with me. I am proud of the fact that I am still delighted by greeting cards even 16 years later.

Any personal tidbits? Special talents/fun facts?

This year, in an attempt to expand my brain beyond mothering and working, I bought a drum set. I have always wanted to learn how to play the drums, so now I have a kit in my garage and most afternoons I go out and play for a while while my daughter plays near me in the garage. This experience has been a great reminder that learning new skills is invigorating!!


Find Shorthand Press Cards, such as Funkier Cheese Birthday Card, Stoked for Your Engagement Card, and Planning a Wedding Card at our local store or online at For more inspiration and behind-the-scenes action, follow ShorthandPress on IG