Graphics3’s award-winning pop-up card designs have enabled individuals and businesses alike to share the special joy of the season for nearly fifty years.
Available nowhere else, Graphics3’s whimsically unique pop-up card designs go on display during the holidays and beyond, creating precious memories that mail for only a single stamp. Graphics3 showcases our collection in our annual catalog.
1934 marked the founding of a family printing business from which Graphics3 emerged in 1974 to create exciting mail for Fortune 500 marketing and advertising customers. Well known magazine illustrator Lowell Hess joined the company and together they created the first rubber band-powered pop-up Christmas cards for Graphics3’s own Christmas mailing to customers and friends that year. Our customers enthusiasm to purchase these never before seen rubber band-activated pop-up cards for themselves effectively put Graphics3 in the greeting card business.
Since that time Graphics3 has designed, manufactured, and marketed over one hundred uniquely designed and engineered rubber band-activated pop-up card designs, as well as our popular pop-up polygon ball shape used for desk calendars and other custom pop-up promotions.
Lowell Hess… Illustrator, Designer, Paper Engineer extraordinaire.
“Almost everything that guy ever did makes my head explode.”
– A contemporary illustrator, commenting on Lowell Hess’ work.
Lowell Hess, the inventive genius behind many of Graphics3’s card designs, was an Oklahoma native, serving as a lieutenant in the US Army artillery in Europe during World War II and later attending the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. Lowell came of age as a commercial artist in post-war New York City and rose to prominence during the heyday of magazine illustration. Known for his “strength of line”, Lowell’s illustrations shined forth from the covers of Collier’s, New York, and Boy’s Life as well as the popular children’s Golden Books series, his work touching the lives of millions.
At Graphics3, Lowell’s talents and stylistic “strength of line” translated naturally into the crisp lines of cut paper. Beyond that Lowell demonstrated an uncanny ability to visualize the 3-dimensional transformations from 2-dimensional designs and art, combing knife, paper and brush with brilliance long before computerized design and cutting tools existed.
A frontier was crossed when Lowell designed the first viable rubber band-activated pop-up Christmas cards for Graphics3’s own use. To the surprise and delight of recipients these cards transformed right before their eyes into elaborate gift-like paper miniatures, freestanding designs never seen before. Graphics3’s customers – and their lucky recipients – have been the exclusive beneficiaries over the years since, with so many cards and fond memories attached.
Later in life Lowell carried his good-humored dimensional vision into yet another medium; whittling fanciful woodcarvings. Once again in a prolific career that spanned six decades, Lowell Hess combined eye, knife, and brush with humor and whimsy.
Anyone receiving a Graphics3 pop-up card today is a bit awestruck at the mind-bending ingenuity that could conceive and create such elaborate, highly engineered three-dimensional paper designs. Today every card Graphics3 produces is a reincarnation of the creative process begun in Lowell Hess’ studio.
“Card of the Year”, International Greeting Card “Louie” Awards
Graphics3 entered seven of Lowell Hess’s original pop-up card designs for the first time in the International Greeting Card Awards held by the Greeting Card Association in conjunction with the 1990 National Stationary Show held in New York City. The “Louie” awards; so named for Louis Prang, the father of the American Christmas card, are the greeting card industry’s equivalent of Hollywood’s Emmy, Oscar or Tony Awards. Actress Mariette Hartley hosted the ceremony in the famed Waldorf-Astoria’s Grand Ballroom. From within an 800 company strong greeting card industry, the first time entered, all seven of Graphics3’s Lowell Hess designed pop-up cards were nominated as finalists in every category entered, winning top honors outright in five of those categories and winning the industry’s highest honor, the “Louie” award for ‘Card of The Year’ in the coveted Traditional Christmas Category, for his ‘English Toy Shoppe’, a Lowell Hess design inspired by Charles Dickens. The following year another Lowell Hess design again won the top award for Best Traditional Christmas Card.
“We draw our design ideas from a wide variety of social and cultural sources but the creation and production of our pop-up cards is very much an art. Every card is highly unique in its innovative design, from the paper to the rubber band that makes them pop.” – Lowell Hess.