Jason Bradley-Krauss married his husband, Chris, last October in New York City, and they received numerous gift cards of congratulationsincluding six of the exact same card, sent from friends.
"I quickly realized that there was a big hole in the marketplace; there weren't a lot of card options to be sent to gay people, to congratulate them on being married," Bradley-Krauss said. "I did more research and realized that there were not a lot of greeting cards that talked to the gay community as a whole.
"So I decided to jump into that market."
Design with Hearta progressive, inclusive, new greeting card and gift-wrap design studio dedicated to the idea that "love is love"made its debut in mid-May at the National Stationery Show in New York.
"Design with Heart adheres to a belief that love is an all-embracing truth all people have in commonno matter who they are, who they love or what the occasion," said Bradley-Krauss, 47, who lives in Worthington, Ohio, with his husband and their two adopted children ( Spencer, 11; and Maria, 8 ).
He decided this past January to develop the greeting card line and soon had designed 250 cards. He launched 160 of them at the National Stationary Show.
"We worked 'round the clock [since January], spent considerable time thinking about the look of the cards, and as much about the messaging," he said. "I'm very proud of the line we now offer."
To get to the launch, and make it as affective as possible, they once had 250 cards spread out on their living room floor. They had friends over to vote on the strongest cards, the ones which would have the most impact. "That was kind of fun," he said.
"I founded this company on a simple but powerful premisethat love is love. Love permeates all that is good and hopeful," Bradley-Krauss said. "I have had a smile on my face every day that I have been able to work on this [project].
"I thought I would be developing a line of greeting cards that was purely marriage equality-based, and purely LGBT community-based. Instead, what I ended up developing is a line [of greeting cards] that really supports those causes beautifully, but what has come back to me is, love does permeate all that is good and hopeful and it's universal."
In addition to a full line of greeting cards, his company also has developed wedding invitations for LGBT, and they also will do custom invitations.
"It's been a really wonderful experience. I feel re-invigorated as a creative person jumping into this line," said Bradley-Krauss, who has worked as a graphic designer and art director, and has owned a graphic design firm for 18 years.
He has long worked with Fortune 500 companies, "but to work on something so personal, and to bring it to market, it just feels … different, so much more personal," he said.
And vulnerable, too, he admitted. "I'm putting myself out there on the line," he said.
"My goal is with the company is, now the LGBT community will have some options. I want to design a line [of cards] that is classic, crisp, and one that also allows us to freely use our own voices."
The card line includes offerings for families that are adopting, for anniversaries with LGBT-focused text, and more.
"We were very well-received" at the National Stationary Show, he said.
The cards have been picked up by 18 national companies, including the Museum of Art Design in New York City. Meanwhile, Bed, Bath and Beyond commissioned the company to produce 20 different cards for same-sex weddings. The cards also are available through finestationary.com and elsewhere.
The cards are available locally at Elizabeth Grace Paperie & Gifts, 2438 N. Clark St.
For more information, go to www.designwithheart.com .