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Archive | January 14, 2009

Review: Ali Edwards for Technique Tuesday

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Creating Keepsakes’ Ali Edwards has in the past year been venturing into the area of product design. Earlier I wrote about her digital products, and most recently she is designing a line of stamps for Technique Tuesday.

Designing stamps is not only a departure from the usual way of doing things for Ali. Having a signature line by a designer is also a new venture for Technique Tuesday, who is producing the stamps. They’ve never done a signature line before.

So why start now, and why with Ali Edwards? Technique Tuesday’s marketing coordinator, Shelley Goff, tells Scrapbook Update, “When it came to a partnership we wanted to make sure it was someone we could do justice to what they do.” She also explains that “Ali seemed like the right place to start. We had a personal relationship with her, and we love her style.” Ali actually is local for Technique Tuesday, since she lives near the company’s headquarters in Oregon.

Goff says the company ordered conservatively for the first production run of Edwards’ stamps, unsure of what the reception for them would be. The production run sold out in two days, and the company realized it had a hit on its hands.

The Ali Edwards line of stamps are exactly what you would expect – and hope for – from her. There are classic text elements in her distinctive handwriting, and there are very journaling focused graphics. The stamps lend themselves easily to using in the graphic style that Ali is known for.

I own a lot of text stamps but I find it challenging sometimes to use them because the fonts are either very formal or very cutesy, not in line with the style I often use. Ali’s text stamps, in her trademark handwriting, are casual, making them easy to use without making a page feel stiff, and making them very versatile.

There is only one other designer I can think of who is making clear text stamps in a similar casual handwritten style – Heidi Swapp – and Heidi’s stamps are much larger, making them much more dominant on a page, and thus difficult to use repeatedly without looking repetitive. The smaller size of Ali’s text stamps makes them more subtle as design elements.

There are currently six sets of Ali Edwards signature stamps available, ranging in MSRP from $2.99 to $16.99. Three of the sets are mostly words, and the other three designs are frameworks for journaling boxes.

I tried out one of each type of the sets for the layout at the top of the article. I’m a long-time fan of both Technique Tuesday’s stamps and Ali’s style, so I had some pretty high expectations. The sets didn’t disappoint.

remember-stamps-by-ali-edwardsThe journaling set that I tried – Bits and Pieces by Ali Edwards – is actually three separate stamps, even though it looks like one solid journaling block with a border and a title. The outline border is one stamp, the journaling lines are a second stamp, and the title/subtitle are a third stamp.

The upside of this is that you can use the elements separately – make the border into a frame for a photo (instead of a journaling box), or substitute a different text element for the title (like I did on my layout). The downside of this is that you have to be extremely careful setting up your border stamp on your block, since it is basically just a tiny strip of stamp, or it will not be straight or square. This is definitely a stamp where you do not want to skip making a test imprint, so you can check how straight you have it lined up on the block.

The text set that I tried out – The Story by Ali Edwards – consists of six words that can be combined to make various phrases such as “sharing our story”, along with a circle element and a type element that says “The Story”.  Since each word is an individual stamp, it makes the set more flexible to use. I used the single word “sharing” on my layout. These words could also be combined with words in the other sets to create other phrases – they are similarly sized.

ali-edwards-stampsWhich brings me to one of my favorite things about these sets: the elements in Ali’s sets are virtually all interchangeable with each other! The text elements are similarly sized to each other for combining together, and there is no duplication other than “the” in the words. The words in the “The Story” set (and it looks like the other text sets as well) are sized nicely to work in the title area of the “Bits and Pieces” set. The icons in the “Peace, Joy, Love” set look like they will fit in the small boxes of the “Today You” set. The text from the various text sets looks like it will mostly fit in the large box in that set as well. This is a really practical design approach for these sets at a time when almost all of us are trying to get the most out of our tools and supplies. Combining these sets gets you more than just the sum of their parts.

One warning: Clear stamps are notorious for being somewhat difficult to get ink to stick to. They require the use of very wet inks for a good impression. While pigment ink is typically the recommended ink, I can usually get chalk inks and Staz-on to stick to clear stamps well enough for a good impression. However, due the fine lines (part of Ali’s signature style) on these stamps, there was virtually no surface to put ink on. The only ink that I could get a decent impression with was actual pigment ink. Using pigment ink did reward me with an absolutely beautiful impression, but it means that I will be more limited than usual on my color choice using these stamps (since I have a large collection of Cats Eye chalk ink pads and Staz-on pads). Lately I have been focusing my ink pad purchases on pigment pads instead of the others. Stamps like these are an excellent reason to continue that.

[Note: The journaling box on my layout was stamped with chalk ink, while the word "sharing" was stamped with pigment ink. The brown impression got so little ink it looks washed out - thus my advice about sticking with the pigment ink for these stamps, after doing some additional testing on them.]

This stamp collection is a great start for Ali Edwards and Technique Tuesday together – it is versatile and practical. For me, it is a must-have! I’m definitely putting the ones I don’t already have on my wishlist for my next scrapbook shopping trip.

Supply List – Patterned Papers: Basic Grey “Perhaps” Collection (Beatrice, East of the Sun and Sari); Ink: Clearsnap Colorbox Pigment Stamp Pad (Chianti); Clear Stamps: Technique Tuesday (Bits and Pieces by Ali Edwards, The Story by Ali Edwards, and Petal Pushers).

Pictured Stamp Sets: Bits and Pieces by Ali Edwards (middle), and Everyday Words by Ali Edwards (bottom).

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