filed under: humor, let's chat!, paper
i nearly spit my drink out when i opened my birthday card from a dear friend recently. actually i may have and i am still a little embarrassed about it, but i couldn’t help it. it was a laugh-out-loud funny, harsh and absolutely inimitable naughty betty card, from the dark and stormy minds of chicago designers christine montaquila and courtney weinberg. christine and courtney clearly have a bright sense of humor and a keen sense of style. their cards are sharp and truthful but are tempered with just a skinch of sentimentality. this formidable combination has enough visual jet fuel to teleport you to a playful place, stand by patiently idling its engines while you play around there for a bit and get you back to planet earth satisfied and smiling. let’s have a chat with c + c and find out more!
q: where do you live, and where do you create your collection?
a: we live in the northern suburbs of chicago. weâ€™re minivan driving, latte drinking suburban moms. canâ€™t even try to hide it. we either create our cards in our home offices, borders, or crouched in a broom closet so our toddlers donâ€™t find us.
q: how did you two come together to create naughty betty?
a: we worked together as a writer/art director team at ogilvy & mather in chicago. we did many, many campaigns for womenâ€™s brands that we loved but never made it out the door. so we started to craft a voice and look we loved that was brutally honest, and talked to women the way women talk to women.
q: can you tell us a bit about your creative process? how do these cards get out of your head and onto the paper?
a: it really is a very organic process. a lot of our inspiration comes from our lives. our hectic, crazy, extremely average lives. we tend to write down funny stuff along the way and see how it feels as a card and if it captures a sentiment just right. then we revise, revise, revise.
q: your collection is so memorable thanks in part to its bold and clean graphic style. do either of you have a design background?
a: the design is courtneyâ€™s gig, but since iâ€™m the writer i will speak for her. sheâ€™s got a design background and a fabulous eye for cool, modern things. she obsesses over every color! sheâ€™s really a design whore. (ed. note: this is the quote of the week.)
q: the laugh-out-loud, descriptive imagery in your cards really hits the nail on the head and takes me (and i suspect everyone else!) to a specific place and time. have you drawn on your own experiences while creating them?
a: oh yes. all of it. i suspect my husband secretly watches porn, and i have been that drunk girl peeing in an alley. when courtney was ten she french kissed her pillow with braces on. anything you read, weâ€™ve lived.
q: what inspires you to make the line?
a: we love the idea of connecting with women and creating this dialogue about modern life. we certainly live differently then our motherâ€™s did, working, raising children etc., so part of it is a social commentary on it all. after working in advertising for 15 years, we also love the honesty weâ€™re able to have. you simply couldnâ€™t be this blunt in an ad, but the truth is, people love the truth. they respond to it. and we love being culturally relevant too. greeting cards have a shelf life, so we can talk about things in the world that work now, but may not in two years. plus, life is just a hoot. senators having gay sex in bathrooms, people eating cockroaches on tvâ€¦ this is good stuff!
q: exactly who is naughty betty? any relation to ugly betty?
a: naughty betty is the name we came up with on the phone when we realized all the other names we liked were trademarked. it was a bit before ugly betty got so big. we loved the idea of it being a womanâ€™s name, and the naughty gives us permission to offend people with our harsh language. â€œWeâ€™re not Politically Correct Bettyâ€ is what I like to say!
you can purchase naughty betty cards at multiple choices and paper boy here in chicago, as well as paper doll in portland, heartfelt in san francisco and nancy nancy in brooklyn. if you are a retailer contact calypso cards for distribution info, and for more general hilarity and to contact christine and courtney, see their website.
thank you ladies!