Searching for the perfect card...
(or Gift!)

Detroit_05It was fall of 2004, and Pat Vintevoghel, Executive Assistant to Faye Nelson, President & CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy faced a deadline for sending holiday cards. She wanted to capture the beauty of the Detroit riverfront.  She searched for a Michigan artist who could work with her to create something distinctive.  Vintevoghel saw art by Maggie LaNoue on one of LaNoue’s web sites,, contacted her to create the first of a series of holiday cards depicting the Detroit Riverfront.

Each card in the series of four to date, has a frosty glow and crisp look that has turned  the holiday cards into collector’s items.  The notecards are printed on acid-free archival quality stock and often feature something new along the riverfront. The art from the cards designs is also framed and hanging on the wall outside the CEO’s office where it is seen by visitors to the Conservancy. It’s one of the special touches that comes with working with designer Maggie LaNoue, owner of Albion Design, who creates custom note cards and gifts for a limited number of corporations each year. 

PaperweightLaNoue’s work comes out of a need for businesses to send something special at the holidays, a card made with custom art that tells a story.  LaNoue says her clients get compliments on the custom created cards they send, and many of the recipients keep the cards, and sometimes frame them. LaNoue also creates custom gifts with art she has created for her corporate clients, such as heavy etched paperweights created for the Conservancy board members recently. 

Michigan MugVisitors come from out of town, sometimes out of the country. Businesses struggle to think about what kind of a gift would leave guests feeling special, and also leave them with a positive image of the place they have just visited? Maggie has created “Michigan Mugs” also, with art of Michigan, that have been given to visitors from around the world as a souvenir of Michigan.

Maggie LaNoue, owner and president of Albion Design, has been creating custom cards, prints and gifts for over 25 years.  Maggie has found that businesses are working harder than ever to keep in touch with their clients, and has found that advertising is getting costlier and sometimes cut. Every mailing that goes out is being examined for cost effectiveness – does this mailing piece leave a memorable and upbeat feeling?

By working with her clients over the internet, Maggie has developed a style of art that shows businesses, landmarks and memorable views in their best light, and in a way that leaves a lasting impression.  She shows proofs over the web in real time, so the client can see the art taking shape, and has the option to offer suggestions and comments along the way.  Some of her clients have told her the cards she created for them were “more than cards, they were gifts” that captured the essence of our business and the holiday spirit.

With decreasing staff numbers, there is little time for most businesses to oversee custom created gifts, or note cards, and little budget to hire a big ad agency to oversee the work of a uniquely designed product.  Albion Design fills the gap between businesses that no longer have an art department of their own, want something more than a printing business would offer, but much less expensive than an agency would offer.
CSM Minneapolis

Jennifer Blair, Administrative Assistant at CSM Corporation in Minneapolis MN needed art of the Milwaukee Road Depot, that CSM is renovating.  She had a summer photograph, but it was not suitable for holiday greetings.  She wanted a sepia toned painting of the building, with snow, mist, clouds and holiday décor added, a car and newsstand removed.  She wanted lamp posts, and the feel of Victorian hand drawn art  and she wanted the history of the building printed on the back of the card.  She wanted some cards with different imprints.  Blair searched for custom cards of riverfront revitalization projects and found LaNoue, who designed cards for two of the branches of the CSM group, meeting a tight deadline and budget in the process.

SIster City GiftsIn a similar fashion, LaNoue created custom designed porcelain plates for the City of Albion, her hometown, when a delegation of Sister City visitors came from Noisy-le-Roi France.  The plates had scenes of Noisy, Albion, and Albion College, with the dividing spaces between the views representing the forks of the river in Albion.


Captial Hotel Management Last year a real estate business in Massachusetts, Capital Hotel Management, decided to send note cards with art of their home office that has a unique history. They wanted their cards to have the history printed on the cards, and their principals’ signatures. Kristin Amos-Guido, Executive Assistant did a search on the internet for an artist that could create these custom cards, and be sure that the little details were not overlooked in the printing.   Amos-Guido said the cards that were created by Albion Design were well received, and versatile enough so that the extra cards could be used for an open house.

Lab School
Maggie was contacted by Lizzy Gillespie of Lab School to oversee printing of student art into note cards, which were packaged as gifts for an annual holiday gala. LaNoue met a tight deadline and budget to get beautiful full color cards created for the school. Gillespie raved about the cards, “ they look fabulous! We are very happy with how they turned out and are sure our guests will love them!… it has been a pleasure working with you and we hope to do so again in the future… the guests loved the notecards- they were a big hit!”

LaNoue uses her art to promote her own business as well. The backs of her business card show a snow scene of Albion during the Great Blizzard of ’78.  The art has a bright blue sky and blowing snow.  LaNoue says that many of the businesses she visits have her card posted where the recipient can see it, art side up, because of the friendly feel of the view.  “It’s the blue sky effect,” LaNoue says with a smile.  “My goal is to brighten the day of people who see my art.”   And these days, that is a worthy goal.

Albion Michigan

Free samples of Maggie’s note cards are available to corporations who are interested in having custom note cards created – for thank you cards, for invitations, for anniversary cards for a corporations who reach a hallmark year, or for old-fashioned holiday greeting cards. 

Why waste your time and money sending boxed notes, or cards with only your logo -- cards that are tossed out? You could be sending art - cards that are like a gift, with a little bit of history perhaps, something people will keep.

Request a free sample custom corporate card! Find out about our "early bird specials" - discounts on art and or printing for ordering cards earlier in the year. Get a quote on custom note cards for your business. Our cards are special, they are often kept by the recipient and sometimes framed. We work with you to create a unique message - signatures if you like, and perhaps a history or mission statement and logo on the back of the cards.

To receive a free sample card, or to ask for a quote for custom cards, use our handy contact form or call 1-517-629-3840.

See more art and comments from our clients on the Client Stories page

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Artwork copyright 2011 Maggie LaNoue | Albion Design