hello {tram}

last week i recieved an unexpected email from a woman only giving me her name and a few questions about blogging..this then snowballed into more inquiries about each other and eventually a beautiful discovery. my secret readers name is Tram Pham, a half of a husband and wife award winning graphic design team based out of portland oregon. This beautiful lasercut chinese "lucky money" card was six years in the making! can you believe it...well tram, it was well worth those six years i think! Tram explained to her unique design ritual when explaoring and experimenting for this project:

"i've been a graphic designer for ten years and finally had the guts to do this card. about 6 years ago, my husband (an industrial designer) and i started this weekly ritual of brainstorming and called it Design Night. every Thursday, we would sit down with a bottle of wine and start sketching and talking about our dream projects (furniture, products, stationery, etc.). the sky was the limit. this is the first "real" project that came out from that collaboration. the design process including researching Chinese papercuts (books) then contacting a lasercutting company to see if they could work with the paper that i fell in love with (Eames Case Study Red). after many reiterations, the design got the thumbs up from the lasercutting company and we were off."

i love to hear about other peoples lives, especially creativbe processes because everone has a different way of doing things. Tram also gave me some super interesting info about what the chinese tradition comes from and the delicate art of paper cutting. before i leave you with her fantastic facts, i just wanted to say thank you tram for letting me know about your creative process and sharing your beautiful and inspiring work with me (us)!

TRADITION Traditionally, Li Xi envelopes containing “lucky money” were given during Chinese New Year. Graphic designer Tram Pham was introduced to the custom as a child during this festive time. Today, the red envelopes are used throughout the year for other special occasions including weddings and birthdays. Wishing to preserve this tradition, Mrs. Pham wanted to make the envelope available not only to the Asian community but also to other people who crave products
with cultural richness.

CRAFT The card was inspired by the ancient craft of papercuts, an original art form created in China. To replicate the craft, lasers were used to cut the delicate crepe paper. The new technology of lasercutting permits an extremely high level of detail compared to traditional die cutting methods. Ornate silhouettes and shadows are created by the positive
and negative shapes. Because of the delicate nature of the paper and design, each envelope is hand assembled.

SYMBOLISM The card is rich in meaning. The symbols in the envelope are inspired by the Chinese Zodiac. The
Chinese Zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, each year being represented by an animal. 2007 is the Year of
the Pig. The striking red and gold colors symbolize joy and wealth.


  1. Wow. Just wow. That is beyond amazing. So intricate, so bold...I'm going to start sounding like an uneducated wine taster so I'll just stop there.

  2. Love the card and everything about the post. SO inspiring. I love that they have a "Design Night" I want to have one too!

  3. Wow, what an interesting post and absolutely beautiful card. What a great idea to have "design night" so inspiring! Amazing collaboration.

  4. Hi Nicole and Friends,
    Thank you for the kind words and support. Your blog is a great resource for inspiration!

  5. Thank you so much for sharing this story on your blog.

  6. That paper cut is so beautiful! Thanks for the amazing post.



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