is bringing modern design to stationary and invitations.

No more Hallmark for me... I now know where to get cool cards and invitations printed.

Posterous super-blogger Patrick Au-Yeung's wife just started the company Paperculture (I love the name, love the brand), and as you can see they're creating some impressive, ground-breaking modern designs that are customizable. They describe themselves as being inspired by brands like Kate Spade, Design Within Reach, Mini, Marc Jacobs and Apple. That's a damn fine list.

I guess I'm just a sucker for modern, vector-based designs and great typography. And for designer-owned-and-operated businesses too.

Check it out:  -- they just launched in "Preview" mode and are giving away 25% discounts.

Weekend Brand Critique: Cost Plus World Market

Steph and I are on a random tour of Stevens Creek Blvd in Santa Clara, CA. One of the places we decided to stop at was Cost Plus World Market. I never really realized it but the store aint half bad. There is a decent selection of reasonably priced houseware and relatively exotic imported food. It is like a Trader Joe's mixed with Crate and Barrel. I can't help but wonder if it would be much better served by a name that isn't quite so literal. By being called Cost Plus, they are needlessly diluting their brand equity. I would feel happier and more proud shopping at a distinctive name brand that has no low cost connotations, especially if rationally I know I am getting a great deal. That is how brands become sticky and addictive.