photos by:
August 24, 2012
Originally published in Open House

In this digital age, invitations arrive in our inboxes and are promptly deleted. Luckily, there’s Greer, a Chicago stationery depot that’s dedicated to ink and paper created by independent designers.

Chandra Greer of Greer
Chandra Greer, owner of Greer.
Photo by 
1 / 4
Letterpress goods at Greer in Chicago
An assemblage of best-selling inventory, much of which is produced in small batches by designers and letterpress artisans.
Photo by 
2 / 4
Cabinets of ribbons at Greer
A cabinet in Greer's shop contains dozens of handmade cards.
Photo by 
3 / 4
Civilettes Portable Notes at Greer in Chicago
Greer's own creation, 'Civilettes'.
Photo by 
4 / 4
Chandra Greer of Greer
Chandra Greer, owner of Greer.

Chandra Greer opened her shop in 2005 to showcase old-school letterpress and screenprinted design. It’s a gallery-like place that celebrates both the tactile and the visual—displays are textured and eclectic, and the gigantic Ingo Maurer Zettel’z lamp is a commanding counterpoint. Greer’s motto—”civility is not a sign of weakness”—also translates to her passion for correspondence. “We like to think of ourselves as a lifestyle store grounded in stationery. We’re not interested in ‘what sells’; we’re interested in what allows our customers to express themselves and to make deep, personal connections in the most lovely, distinctive, and powerful ways possible. There’s a lot in the world that can bring people down. We want to lift people up.”

Letterpress goods at Greer in Chicago
An assemblage of best-selling inventory, much of which is produced in small batches by designers and letterpress artisans.
What led you to start Greer?
I’m a former advertising executive
enchanted by creativity. I learned much about design and communication and, perhaps most important,
was deeply influenced by my firm’s
late founder, Leo Burnett, and his ability to richly articulate a vision and broader purpose for what we were doing. It inspired me to create a company based on my own sense of what
I want to put out into the world.

Who are your customers?
They tend to be thoughtful, appreciative, intelligent people with a strong aesthetic sense. We serve some of the nicest people in Chicago.
Where do you find the designers you feature?
We receive about a dozen submissions a month, and we attend the National Stationery Show in New York, which is the industry trade show. We’re also active on Twitter and Facebook. I don’t pursue blogs or shop other stores’ inventories because I like to keep our vision pure, and those sources tend to have particular points of view.

Cabinets of ribbons at Greer
A cabinet in Greer's shop contains dozens of handmade cards.
What’s your favorite card?

It’s a card from Blue Barnhouse featuring an image of a pretty young Muhammad Ali and the greeting “I hear you’re talkin’ around that you can whup me. Well, here I is.” Ali has a defiant, gentlemanly yet authentic charm, and we’ll keep buying that card as long as they keep printing it. That it’s letterpress-printed in silver on heavy black stock makes it that much more ironic. Plus, it just makes me laugh.
Can all of your wares be purchased online as well?
Almost. It’s very difficult to have everything up there. The drawback of the website is that you can’t feel what you’re buying.
Civilettes Portable Notes at Greer in Chicago
Greer's own creation, 'Civilettes'.
Do you dabble in letterpress?

Currently, anything we design for letterpress is printed by professional
artisans. However, I recently purchased a small press, and once we learn how to use it, look out!

Tell us about your monthly column on Felt & Wire, Mohawk Paper’s blog.
It’s called “On the Wire,” and it’s about small but extremely talented stationery designers. It came out of my belief that people should take a chance on the small guys. If I find someone and they’re talented, I don’t care if I’m the first store to carry them. That’s the purpose of my column, to sort of nudge other people in that direction. Even
my competitors.

Go Find It

Greer
1657 North Wells Street
Chicago, IL 60614
312-337-8000
greerchicago.com

WHO Chandra Greer
SPECIALTY Stationery and greeting cards created by letterpress and silkscreen artists Top Sellers T.hanks notes, Muhammad Ali cards, Civilettes (Greer’s own creation)
BEST DEAL Civilettes: 10 for $6.50

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016