Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Designing Woman: Hanna Brooks Nation of Gadabout Stationery

GADABOUT-HannaNation[1] {GADABOUT Principal & Designer, Hanna Brooks Nation}

I recently became a fan of the wonderfully chic, stationery company, GADABOUT. The aptly named company (a gadabout is someone who seeks aimless pleasure and travels in search of enjoyment) is the brain-child of the talented, Hanna Brooks Nation who at only 22 years of age, has created one of the most stylish stationery lines I have set my eyes on. Officially founded in 2008, GADABOUT features over sixty designs created by Hanna. The 5x7 note cards are sold in sets of 25, are made with high-quality materials, and are banded and boxed in the company’s signature orange color. In addition, Hanna also offers custom design services including stationery and invitation design, custom illustration, rebranding, and logo design.

Like her designs, Hanna is an absolute delight! We have exchanged quite a few e-mails and she is as sweet and charming as you would imagine. About a month ago, I downloaded POST, Hanna’s iPhone app. At that time, I didn’t know of Hanna or GADABOUT. I was just thrilled to have found my favorite iPhone app yet! POST allows you to customize e-mails and text messages sent from your iPhone with Hanna’s gorgeous designs. It is the coolest thing ever and probably the best $0.99 I have ever spent! You can imagine how excited I was when Hanna contacted me and I realized that she was the creator of POST. Hanna was kind enough to agree to be interviewed for La Dolce Vita.


LDV: When did you first become interested in graphic design?

HBN: Probably the moment I realized how much was possible with it.


LDV: Why did you decide to start your own company?

HBN: I wanted to give myself the chance to wake up every morning and be excited about work. Being able to channel my interests and experiences into a company that challenges me to acquire new ones makes working so enjoyable.


LDV: How would you describe the GADABOUT aesthetic?

HBN: The GADABOUT aesthetic is guided by its own definition: an aimless pleasure seeker, a traveler in search of enjoyment or amusement, one who roams or roves for social activity. The designs celebrate home and what lies beyond it, often drawing from cultural artistry, textiles, interior design, vintage books, fashion, hobby and turn of phrase. I just love the idea of truly appreciating the world around us. I can see her, "the" gadabout, and she makes no exceptions in the scale of what brings her joy. Small or large, lengthy or brief, she wants to be defined by her experiences.  They are what make her, they are what make her social, and they are what gives her things to write thank you notes for. 


LDV: Who are your personal style icons?

HBN: Olivia Palermo, Tory Burch, Amy Smilovic of TIBI, and Reese Witherspoon.


LDV: What inspires you?

HBN: What inspires me is really anything that inspires a tangent thought. I love being interrupted. I am just as easily caught up in the eclectic as the everyday, and most of my designs start off as a "hey, those colors look great together.. what if I put that with that picture I found 3 days ago? It kinda reminds me of that fabric pattern..." It can be as simple a thing as flipping through a new magazine, or learning a new word but if it is visually or mentally interesting, whatever I was doing before that moment is out the window and GADABOUT begins. I bring it on myself also, looking things up is one of my favorite past times and I get so lost in the effort that you could call it inspiration. I just love realizing there is so much that I have yet to stumble upon! gadabout4

LDV: How is GADABOUT different from other stationery companies?

HBN: It is the attention to detail and definition that makes GADABOUT a bit different. I try to make sure that the story behind the design is just as thoughtful as the image, including clever captions and historic legends below each card. I also try to make personalization a bit more original by making the monograms a integral part of the motif or picking fonts that truly favor the design.


LDV: What has been the most challenging aspect of starting and running your own business?

HBN: Finding the balance between work and play, critique and appreciation, confidence and doubt.


LDV: How did the idea for your iPhone app, POST come about?

HBN: I have a huge appreciation for newness and technology and had been contemplating a way to bring GADABOUT to a gadget for a couple weeks. The idea came to me after a couple hours of sitting on my sofa. I had been working on my new invitation line, and it came to me as a tangent thought. I immediately pulled out a piece of paper and began to write it all down. After finding an incredible developer, we went to work. The final product allows users to design and send invitations or personalized notes through a text message or email! I have created over 60+ designs, and most have influences from my current collection. 

gadabout post

LDV: What are your goals for GADABOUT?

HBN: My hopes for GADABOUT are to grow in such a way that nothing is truly lost. Projects that expand the brand always have at least a few original elements tucked inside them.  For the immediate future, I would love the opportunity to get other stationery vendors involved with POST and have a proper invitation line made available by summer 2010.



Bloom: Peony

Food: Sushi

Drink: Sparkling Water with lemon

gadabout tibi

Thing to Wear: TIBI, Phillip Lim 3.1, Tory Burch


Destination: Italy

Season: Fall


Musician: Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit, Van Morrison

Artist: Degas, Philip Mullen


Film: The Royal Tenenbaums

Television Show: Gossip Girl


Book: dictionary, encyclopedia

Magazines: InStyle, Elle and Nylon

Blogs: La Dolce Vita, Garance Doré, New York Times Fashion and Style, The Neo-Traditionalist, Who What Wear, and Refinery29

Personality Trait: curious

Texture: crisp

celerie Kemble[1]

Fabric or Pattern: eclectic


Color: orange

Scent: grapefruit

Meal: long dinner with close friends

Quote: “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” -Robert Louis Stevenson


Be sure to visit GADABOUT to see all of Hanna’s fabulous designs!


Carrie said...

What a great find Paloma! I am off to download POST right now! Thanks! said...

Love her stuff, WOW! Thanks for the intro. I wish I had her illustration skills!

Victoria m said...

Wow wow wow! Hanna is a very talented designer. Thanks for pointing us to's quite a find! I just love the whimsy of her cards.

Erika ~TiptoeButterfly~ said...

lovely!- i'm speachless with the books - i love em' - thanks for sharing sweet stuff!!!

~Tiptoe Butterfly~

ps - i SO wish at 22 i was where this lil number is at - GO HER! ..

Sarah (Matters of Style) said...

She did custom mommy-to-be thank you notes for me when I was pg, and they were just adorable!

Marcus Design said...

Love Hanna's work! And what a great idea to make an iphone app! Thanks for exposing us to her fabulous work.

Mimi said...

Love this interview. Just what I needed to inspire me today. I love to hear about what other creative minds are doing and what makes them tick.

Anonymous said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! I just downloaded the App and just used it too - right on time for my SITC invite for tomorrow night! Wow, so talented Hanna is. Thank goodness for creative people like her (and you Paloma). You make me look good!

Hello Lover... said...

Great interview! I'm going to have to check out this app - what a talented woman with fabulous taste - Olivia and Gossip Girl!

susan's buzz said...

I recently discovered GADABOUT as well and it is my new favorite stationery. POST is on my iPhone too :) She is so talented and chic. Loved this interview with her and the beautiful photo.

cassandra @ coco+kelley said...

aww - i'm so glad you blogged about hanna! she's so so talented, and the iphone app is pretty genius :)

Ragland Hill Social by Gwen Driscoll said...

This is so precious and I had no idea. Just another example why I love blogging. I learn something new from my blog friends, litereally, every day. Thank you!

Champagne/StitchPoet said...

Hanna's one of my daughter's sorority sisters! We bought her stuff when she was just a bloom in college. I said then, and still believe, she'll put Kate Spade to shame one day! Her stationery is the stuff you won't use for fear of using it all up! You know that kind, right?! Way to go Hanna! (Go Terriers))

Emily said...

Great interview! Hanna's work is amazing.

Cristin said...

Loving her iPhone wallpaper!!! Darling.