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Up On The Desktop - A Christmas Story Part 1

It's that time of year again! 'Tis the season to be jolly and creative, thanks to the annual Sigler Christmas card. The Sigler design and marketing team brainstormed quite a list of possibilities, but in the end, one idea rose to the top (the desktop, that is!): a Christmas card featuring a 3-D papercraft, complete with Santa and his sleigh.

Here's how we made a tangible, lasting paper impression, spreading Sigler cheer, creativity and craftsmanship to clients and friends quite literally "Up on the Desktop."


1: Begin with the end

With the general idea in mind, we needed to choose the best and most cost-effective way to mail it. Consulting with the Sigler Mailing Department, we landed on a 9 x 6 booklet envelope mailing as a Presort Standard letter. Once the envelope size was determined, we could move on to design.


PROTIP: Be sure your finished mail pieces have ample clearance within the envelope. A good rule of thumb is to reduce the size of your inserts by at least ⅛” on each side. Test it. Is it easy to remove and insert? Also, know your weight limits. The max weight for a standard letter is 3.3 ounces without incurring extra postage. When in doubt, test by weighing a mock-up with similar paper to simulate. Or, just call your friends at Sigler and we can ensure your mailing goes off without a hitch!


2: Send prototypes early and often

Now the challenge was to perfect our papercraft sleigh utilizing our maximum sheet size. Not too big, not too small and easy to put together. Sounds easy, right?


After MANY prototypes and some good old-fashioned trial and error, it was clear we needed to double our flat sheet and fold it to fit the envelope. At last, our sleigh was just right and we turned our attention to fitting Santa and as many other accessories as possible. We wanted the pieces to punch-out easily, yet stay intact when folded and inserted into the envelope.

Working closely with our finishing vendor, FinishBinders, we determined kiss cuts would give us a nice clean edge. We tested our preliminary die line on several paper weights to see which would score nicely, retain their shape and still meet the weight limit for mailing. After a few adjustments, we were able to include two reindeer to go along with Santa and his sleigh. HO, HO, HO, Punch and Fold!  


3: Never underestimate the power of paper

Our goal with this mailing was to showcase multiple specialty finishes and unique papers. We chose Aspire Petallics Black Ore and Snow Willow by CTI Paper. Ooh-la-la!

Aspire Petallics offers outstanding mica coated colors with just the right amount of shimmer and shine – perfect for this project! We incorporated a silver foil stamp for the runners and sides of the sleigh, blind embossing for the Sigler logo and silver metallic ink to add even more Christmas sparkle.

We were calling this effort “Up on the Desktop,” a riff on the Christmas song “Up on the Housetop.” After lots of random bursting into song, we realized the perfect copy for our card was a parody just begging to be written. Jen, our copywriter extraordinaire, set to work and soon had new lyrics that conveyed the spirit of Christmas – Sigler style! The copy stacked itself perfectly into a chimney shape, donned with silver snow and a red foil Santa silhouette. After sketching out some assembly instructions, we scanned them to create a hand-drawn touch. With a few flourishes and festive pattern combinations added here and there, our design was complete!


4: Allow proper finishing and drying time

Off to prepress for precise trapping and backing. With foil colors chosen and final die lines submitted, it was time to hang the plates with care. Plates were decorated with 877 silver and 485 red, printed expertly by our fine craftsmen on the SM52 and the QM. The printed pieces were passed on to FinishBinders to work their die magic and safely returned for our hand-bindery team to insert into their pre-inkjetted envelopes.

With our mailing list checked twice (we already know our clients are nice), the finished Christmas cards were sent on their merry way.

Now you've seen how an idea is generated and brought to life at Sigler. We start with a budget and wring as much originality, craft and expertise as we can from it. We push ourselves, collaborate, work closely with trusted partners, fine-tune and iterate until the perfect solution reveals itself. From idea, copy, design, print, and mailing – we love nothing more than bringing it all together.

To learn how we extended the life of this print piece with digital marketing efforts, click on over to PART 2!


  • PAPER: Aspire Petallics BLACK ORE 105 Cover weight / Aspire Petallics SNOW WILLOW 105 Cover weight
  • Envelope: Stardream CRYSTAL 6x9 Booklet
  • INK: PMS Metallic 877 and PMS Red 485
  • SPECIALS: Blind Emboss, Foil Stamp, Kiss Cuts, Scores and Cuts
  • DESIGNERS: Reid, Amy, Heather
Heather Cramer
Creative Director