The Flight of 300 Paper Doves


Each year, an enormous yet delicate mobile is assembled by St. John’s Episcopal Church in Essex, Connecticut. The Pentecost Dove Mobile, designed by the late Roger H. James, “fills the chancel, rotates with the breeze, and symbolizes the Holy Spirit.” In a yearly tradition that began almost 15 years ago, parishioners gather to fold, thread and hang each of the 300-350 paper doves that adorn the mobile.


The mobile’s designer, Roger H. James, was an engineer at Pratt and Whitney with masters degrees in mechanical engineering and computer science. He was a member of St. John’s for over 15 years and a very talented person who enjoyed organ repair, sailing and sailboat repair and Change Ringing of handbells. Today, Roger’s original sketches and engineering drawings are kept by his wife Darlene and two sons, who are also engineers. The drawings remain a symbol of the expertise and craftsmanship that went into creating the mobile.


The design is rooted in balance. For the 300 dove version, a main support bar divides the mobile into two sections. Each section is then divided again three more times. This grid allows for 32 corners where strings of 4-5 doves can be hung using thread. Additional strings of doves are also added at the centers of the smaller bars to bring the total number to between 300 and 350. When the mobile is raised, it moves and spins slowly with the natural airflow to provide an amazing scene where the doves take flight on their own.


The families of St. John’s continue to provide a new collection of doves each spring. The doves are hand folded using detailed instructions that are distributed with the paper squares weeks before construction. On the evening of the raising, everyone gathers with their doves to thread them together and suspend them from the frame. The mobile is raised for Pentecost (roughly 5 weeks after Easter) and remains airborne through Labor Day.


Above, Roger’s granddaughter Katherine (shown top-right) contributes to the mobile. Roger (shown bottom-right overseeing dove assembly) also designed a larger mobile for Trinity Episcopal Church in Hartford, Connecticut in 2002. The large mobile (shown left) contained 500 paper doves, which when flying in formation actually numbered enough to set off the fire alarm within the church. Since his death, his plans have been shared with Episcopal churches in both Connecticut and Virginia, and the mobiles continue as great legacy which brings people together for creativity, community and worship.

How to Choose the Right Holiday Card?


There are plenty of daunting tasks in life. Selecting your company’s holiday cards does not need to be one of them. We know making this decision can be nerve-wracking, especially if your clients look forward to collecting your cards each year. To help you get started we’ve put together a few quick tips.

1. Start with the right product – All good holiday cards are display worthy. You want your clients to leave them up for their associates, vendors and customers to see. You should also consider how your audience will interact with your cards. Will they be displayed in offices on desks, in workshops or other environments? Will they be within reach for interaction or up high on a shelf? Understanding this will help ensure you pick a product type that is right for the environment, and will maximize the recognition of your brand’s holiday salutations.

2. Select the right art and design – Who knows what is trending this year? Do you even want to be trendy or will something else set you apart? We all know what a wall full of holiday cards looks like and it’s easy for the formality of sending and receiving greetings to overshadow the messages. You can select something “safe” or “generic,” but if a religious theme or a funny Santa on vacation is more your company’s style, go for it. You want the card to be about who you are as a company.

3. Personalize your cards – When it comes time to personalize your cards or design custom ones, there are a lot of options. Some of the best cards incorporate an important element of the company’s year. Did you move to a new building or launch a new product? Did you get a new logo or rebrand? Do you have a great staff who just loves posing for pictures? If not, then you may want a classical scene or elegant design to accompany your logo.

4. Keep logistics in mind – We’re not just talking shipping and in-time delivery here. It’s common to incorporate signatures from leaders or teams along with holiday wishes. However, signing and packing several hundred greetings can be a problem. Consider incorporating the signatures into your design for a personalized card that’s easy to produce. That way you can still use fulfillment and mailing services which can be a real time saver.

Remember, there isn’t a wrong way to go about card selection. As long as your end product represents who you are, your customers will recognize you when they receive your cards.

Case Study #1 – Port Of Long Beach


The Port of Long Beach (POLB), in California, founded in 1911, is the second largest seaport in the United States and an economic driver far beyond its local and regional impact. Over $155 billion dollars of trade goods pass through the Port and make their way into stores, homes and businesses throughout the country. But it’s probably not the first name that comes to mind when you think of a thrilling holiday greeting card.

You’d be wrong. For the past five years, the POLB has been a 3D Paper Greetings customer, using our paper-engineered, pop up designs to craft a unique holiday communication for employees, vendors, contractors and friends of the Port.

Choosing a different product each year, the Port’s design team has created a series of commemorative greeting cards, each highlighting some aspect of the Port, while retaining the Port’s brand identity.

“We love the possibilities we get with 3D Paper Graphics,” says Jen Choi, Manager of Creative Arts & Design, “they always have some new concept for us to play with, and the feedback we’ve received from the people who get the cards has been unbelievable. It’s become a real collectible.”

POLB maintains the cohesive theme of a 3-dimensional piece but mixes it up with art and copy, so the pieces play as a series, but never become boring. From a Custom Globe in 2009, a Roundabout in 2010, to a Spin Card in 2011, a Changing Picture in 2012 and a Custom Bottle for 2013 – we can’t wait to see what The Port of Long Beach comes up with for 2014!

Check out our newly updated Testimonials page for additional clients who will be featured in our case study series. To see your company featured, just drop us a line.

Did you hear about the restaurant on the moon? The food is good but there’s no atmosphere… 

In honor of today’s full moon on Friday the 13th, we’ve raided our book collection and client portfolio to gather up some of our favorite space-themed pop-ups…

“Tip + Top on the Moon” by Vojtech Kubasta, 1965


Back in 1965, when landing on the moon was still just a distant dream, Czechoslovakian artist, architect and book designer Vojtech Kubasta was already taking people there. His works were the subject of an exhibition at the Grolier Club in New York this past spring.

by Raymond Hawkey, 1987


You can’t timeline human history without concluding in space. Breaking the bonds of earth still remains one of mankind’s greatest achievements. The classic book details how we got there and what may be to come.

Sonoma State University / NASA SlideShow, 2008


Do you know what a Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope is? We didn’t, but this SlideShow we created for SSU / NASA certainly peaked our interest. These interactive cards were commissioned to commemorate the launch of the telescope at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in 2008.

The Space Shuttle Action Book by Patrick Moore, 1983


The shuttle program may have come to an end, but there’s no denying it was one of our most progressive periods in space exploration. This book features some of the most detailed Space Shuttle pop-ups that any enthusiast could ask for.

Star Trek: Giant in The Universe
, 1977


No space collection is complete without an icon of science fiction history. Sorry Star Wars fans, but we’ve chosen to highlight the 1977 Star Trek book Giant in The Universe. It’s a great example of mystical pop-ups combined with space and imagination.

If you’re looking some great space themed cards we’ve done with our clients, check out the Software/Technology section of our Custom Gallery.


“Christmas in July”


No, we’re not jumping the gun, but rather offering a suggestion on how to really enjoy the Christmas season: order your holiday cards now.

While some countries in the Southern hemisphere actually do celebrate “Christmas in July,” there are sound, practical reasons why it makes sense to order your organization’s holiday greeting cards early.

Typically, somewhere after Labor Day, someone in the company, (usually the CEO’s Executive Assistant), asks the boss what they are going to do this year about sending out cards.

The process usually requires months of cajoling, reminding, nagging and hounding the various departments and managers to make a selection, get their lists together, and finalize the decision.

Once the choice has been made, the stress, unfortunately doesn’t end, as factors beyond your control, such as UPS and FedEx weather-related delays, can undermine the most careful scheduling and leave you with the possibility that your cards will arrive after Christmas.

Stop the madness!

Order your 3-dimensional holiday cards now and you’ll be assured of:
• Cheerful customer service
• Excellent pricing
• Largest selection
• A smooth and timely process
• And best of all, a huge chunk of aggravation GONE, removed from your plate.

Check out our new designs at 3D Paper Greetings and enjoy the best holiday season ever!

Top 3 Misconceptions About Paper


When you live, work and play with paper, you end up hearing a lot of misconceptions about it. To help set the record straight, we’d like to share the top three that we encounter.

1. Paper is a dying medium.

True, digital is taking over many parts of life. Books, newspapers and magazines are changing format and gaining the letter “e” as a prefix. But as long as touch is still one of the five basic senses we know people will still want tactile things to hold, interact with and share. Objects pop-open on our screens everyday with little amazement or recollection. When it happens artfully with the paper in your hands, that experience is not easily forgotten.

2. Using paper is bad for the environment.

Every medium has its pros and cons. Do you know what’s in the battery of that smartphone, or how much energy is consumed by a server farm? Paper is one of the most recycled materials and the push for sustainable paper has never been stronger. Conservation isn’t about preventing progress, but rather using resources responsibly. That is why we continuously engineer our products to be efficient and lasting.

3. Paper is plain and unimaginative.

We see each piece of paper as a blank canvas. It’s a starting point for a world of creativity with a million different directions to go. It can become anything, and anything is possible. There’s nothing better than giving that sheet life by transforming it into something that naturally draws curiosity. If we’ve done our job well you won’t be thinking of that original sheet of paper, but we’ll know that’s where it all started.

To us, this is what paper is really about. When you need something captivating that stays in your audience’s hands, don’t overlook the power of paper.

Smithsonian X 3D


At any given time, the Smithsonian Institution can only display about 1% of their complete collection to the public. Many of their artifacts are often fragile and irreplaceable, meaning they can only be experienced from limited perspectives in controlled environments.

So how do you display these items to people around the world? How do you share locations like archeological dig sites, or educate on cosmic events occurring in space?

Here in the digital age the solution is 3D modeling. That’s why the Smithsonian has introduced Smithsonian X 3D, a beta version of the 3D software that allows everyone to experience some of the greatest exhibits of science and history. There’s already a sampling of items that can be previewed by clicking Browse Models on their site.

Whether it’s unique museum artifacts or intricate 3D paper products, 3D models help further exploration and understanding. A single model can be shared with an infinite audience without the expense of physical samples or in person handling. Motion can be incorporated to demonstrate functionality. Colors can be changed to provide alternate appearances. The options are limitless.

To learn more about Smithsonian X 3D, check out this video. To see what we’ve been up to with 3D modeling, check out our BrandStand Business Card demo.