About Flying Twigs

This is an additional site to Flying Twigs. We publish news here about greeting cards, mugs, posters, and prints.

Here is the link to Flying Twigs, where we sell mugs, greeting cards, posters, and prints.

The reason we have this additional site is twofold. One reason is to write pieces that don’t fit with our e-commerce site. The other reason is to prevent cybersquatting, which you can read about by following the link.

So, if you want to read some snippets of news about Flying Twigs, greeting cards, mugs, posters, and prints – stick around here – otherwise head off to the main site at Flying Twigs.

Website Container Width

Screens are getting bigger and pixel density is getting greater. So is it time to increase the container size on Flying Twigs. The conventional wisdom looks at what container sizes popular websites use, and says to copy that.

That’s OK, but there is another consideration, and that is the aesthetic. The aesthetic asks what the images look like on the page. With images five across, there is a size that makes them look just right. That’s the Goldilocks version and for our images I settled on 1200px.

If you want to read more – look at this article ‘Quick Guide on Choosing Artboard and Container Widths for Responsive Website Design’ by Ram Shengale over on Fantastech.

Why We Only Use White Envelopes For Our GreetingCards


First of all, the greeting cards themselves have an inside surface that is easy to write on and is made to resist smudging. That is not a claim that we make lightly. We choose card stocks that feel good in the hand with a nice weight and ‘snap’ to them. And we test the no-smudge quality by writing on them as though we were sending a card on that card stock.

The same goes for the envelopes. We supply our cards with white envelopes that are easy to write on too. We test that by writing an address and return address on the envelopes.

In case you are wondering whether we use our own cards when we send cards to friends and family, well we generally do not use our own cards because we want to try different cards from different businesses. That’s how we learn how cards generally resist smudging.

That’s not just marketing fluff from us. You may have bought a card from some other brand where the inside surface of the card is SO shiny that the pen skates across the surface and the ink sits on the surface and smudges as soon as you touch it. The same with envelopes, especially those shiny silvery looking ones. So ours aren’t like that. We take care that our envelopes are made of paper that doesn’t smudge easily.

And then there’s colour. White is terrific for showing the best contract between the writing and the base colour. If you ever bought a deep red envelope, or a silver one, you know how difficult it is to see the writing clearly with good contrast. And we think brown Kraft ribbed envelopes have poor contrast.

This all matters for the obvious reason of someone being able to read it. But it also matters for the way the card goes through the system at the Royal Mail sorting office. It’s all done by machines. The first sort is to decipher the postcode. Then the system breaks the batch down to smaller blocks of address locations. And if the machine cannot read the envelope because of the poor contrast between the writing and the envelope, then a human has to manually check it. And that means a possible delay in getting through the system.

Getting back to colour, there is the obvious reason for using white and that is that it goes with every other colour. Our cards come in every colour you can think of, and white shows every colour well. And the card stock we use for the cards has a white base colour. So for us it is a no-brainer to use white envelopes.

This article first appeared on the Flying Twigs blog about white envelopes.

£4 for a card?

Someone on Reddit wondered why it should cost £4 for a card when it is ‘a bit of paper with Happy Birthday on it’.

I said

£4 is a lot, I agree, and walking along a row of cards in a shop you can see anything from £2.50 to more than £4 with no rhyme or reason as to why one is more than the other – but then there is a lot to cards. I can break it down.

The cost to a creator depends on size of the card, the card stock (weight of card, colour, and there are a lot of different kinds of card), the numbers printed, whether there is any metal foiling or die stamping on the card – and there is a worldwide paper shortage at the moment and paper prices are way up – let’s say 23p per card ex VAT for a card printed and creased for the fold, and left flat. Digital printing is as high quality as litho printing, so it is cost-effective to do short runs. But transport costs are high – and the printer charges for sending the cards to the creator. That could be £15. Next is the envelope and the cellophane wrapper or card clasp – let’s say another 6p. And they have to be shipped as well.

Let’s say the printer sends the card flat and creased – then the creator has got to sit and put all the cards tother with their envelopes and cellophanes or card clasps so they are ready to go out. If the creator is selling direct to consumers via a website or on market stalls, then they have those overheads.

With a website, it may be Shopify or Squarespace, or WooCoommerce – they probably all come out at about £20/month to run. if the creator ia selling to shops then they are gong to be able to charge shops something around £1 – and then the shop has its overheads and its markup.

Barcodes and Stamps

Royal Mail announced recently that they will be adding a barcode section at the side of their stamps. The barcodes match the stamp colour and sit alongside the main part of the stamp with what Royal Mail calls a ‘simulated perforation line’ separating the barcode from the rest of the stamp. How many people will be tearing along that perforation line, I wonder?

The barcode must not be separated because it is an integral part of the stamp and it has to be there for the stamp to be valid.

So what about non-barcoded stamps? They will be phased out and stop being valid after 31 January 2023. If anyone has non-barcoded stamps they can swap them for the new ones with the Royal Mail’s ‘Swap Out’ scheme that starts at the end of this month, on 31 March 2022 with ‘details to follow’.

Cybersquatting

As we explain in the ‘sticky’ post (the first one you will see if you come to the home page of this site), one of the reasons we use flyingtwigs dot wordpress dot com is to protect our brand at flyingtwigs dot com which you can reach via this link: Flying Twigs.

It is well known that people snap up website names in order to divert people from what they are looking for. Then, if someone searches for the name of the person or brand, they can get diverted onto some other unrelated site.

Another reason people buy domain names for which they have no real use, is in order to sell the name at a profit to the person or brand that might want it.

If you are not familiar with the term, it is called cybersquatting or domain squatting.

There have been some high profile cases of people registering a domain name precisely because it is the name of a person in the public eye. There are laws governing cybersquatting, but it’s a messy business as you can read if you google the term. For a taste of this area of law, The Independent newspaper reported in the year 2000 on the cases of the band Jethro Tull and the singer Sting.

Jethro Tull won the dispute against Denny Hammerton of Minneola, Florida. Mr Hammerton had offered the Web addresses to the band for $13,000 (£8,700). But the World Intellectual Property Organisation ruled that he had set up the addresses in bad faith and failed to show a legitimate interest in them. Jethro Tull was judged to have a more meaningful trademark interest.

Sting failed on the grounds that his name is in common usage. The WIPO ruled that the word “sting” was in common usage and not a trademark or service mark that had been registered by the singer.

New Cards

We have about 40 cards designed and proofed. One of them has been in the ‘Possibles’ drawer for a while. It is a ‘belated birthday’ card, and the text reads:

Happy belated birthday. It’s been a nightmare. The reminder system failed
and the tech people are working on it,.
They assure me that lessons have been learned and it will not happen again. So sorry!

birthday card with text that reads - Happy belated birthday. It’s been a nightmare. The reminder system failed and the tech people are working on it,. They assure me that lessons have been learned and it will not happen again. So sorry!

Things To Say #1

Thinking of you

Thinking about you on this special day. Hard to believe it has been three years since it happened. You have stood up to the changes with such strength of character, never letting the circumstances define you. And always making time for other people to have the benefit of your understanding.

Mugs


We have a range of over one hundred 11oz (312ml) dishwasher safe, decorated mugs in our shop at Flying Twigs. Here are just a few of them.

We have them decorated to order, so please allow seven working days for delivery by Royal Mail tracked. Delivery is to UK addresses only.

This Is An Envelope

There is a wonderful description of an envelope from Encore Envelopes

“An envelope is a common packaging item, usually made of thin flat material. It is designed to contain a flat object, such as a letter or card. Traditional envelopes are made from sheets of paper cut to one of three shapes: a rhombus, a short-arm cross, or a kite. These shapes allow for the creation of the envelope structure by folding the sheet sides around a central rectangular area. In this manner, a rectangle-faced enclosure is formed with an arrangement of four flaps on the reverse side.”

Flying Twigs in 2014


The Wayback Machine or Internet Archive keeps copies (sometimes incomplete) of thousands upon thousands (actually billions) of websites. Its mission is to preserve them for posterity. Out of curiosity I checked what Flying Twigs looked like as far back as I could find a reference, and here it is.