Work Note: Christmas Cards

A little making-of of our Christmas cards.

Third Wave Christmas Card

Sometime last autumn we decided that we wanted to send out Christmas cards for the first time. The question was how we can make it something a little special. So we thought “Why not print them ourselves?”

Sabrina Sundermann is the owner of a print shop here in Berlin in Prenzlauer Berg called Small Caps. She has a wonderful collection of printing presses that she not only uses to produce all the cards and posters your can buy at here shop and in shops around Berlin. She also offers workshops on those printing presses.


On a Thursday afternoon in November, we met Sabrina at her shop to let her teach us how we can print our Christmas cards. First, she showed us how the serveral presses work and we decided for the Golding Pearl. Then it was time to get going and put together the quote we wanted to have on the front of our card.

After much brainstorming, Igor and I had decided to go with a quote from scifi author Ramez Naam:

To understand a thing is to gain the power to change it.

In the last months, this quote has become a bit of a company motto for us. It decribes the very heart of what motivates us in our consulting work.


Putting together a sentence in movable type is very fiddly work for untrained fingers like ours. It’s definitely not for the impatient (like a certain person in our company).


After putting the letters together and fixing the quote in a frame, we then had to do a test print to see if the quote was placed correctly on the card. It took quite a bit of test prints and adjusting the position until we got it right. When something that you usually do in seconds on a screen takes half an hour when done by hand, you gain a lot of respect for book printing before the computer.


Sometime that evening we also realized that with the mentioned quote on the front and our URL on the back of the card, we weren’t creating a specific Christmas card. Yeah, I know, we’re smart like that. So we printed 100 cards instead of just 40, because we can use them for all kinds of occasions.

Two weeks before Christmas, we finally found the time to sit down, write our thanks and best wishes inside the cards and sent them out to our clients and partners. The whole process from printing the cards to writing our messages by hand was quite a rewarding act. Good ol’ print never ceases to amaze us.

Photos by Nicola Holtkamp

Author: Johannes

Johannes is a strategist and consultant for digital communications. His work is informed by his experience of working with brands like Deutsche Telekom, MTV, Postbank, Maggi and Nike and by his insatiable appetite for finding the bigger patterns behind current developments in technology and science. Holding a diploma in Media System Design, Johannes is a regular speaker at web and marketing conferences like Republica and the Social Media Summit.