Chicago Creation: Tortoise Belly Stationery

—Elle Eichinger
Photography by Danielle Torricelli
March 19, 2013 | Homepage Latest The Latest

Whether it’s for a celebration-worthy occasion or just to say hello, Tortoise Belly’s unique handmade greeting cards are a memorable way to send a message. The new Chicago-based brand is rife with intricate, geometric options, but we love the simplicity of the “hi, friend” card, a bestseller at last weekend’s Dose Market.

After years of crafting her own holiday cards, Tortoise Belly creator Danielle Torricelli Riley recently started selling Tortoise Belly stationery. A full-time graphic designer, Riley creates and prints each card individually, giving the line a personal touch. It’s this attention to detail (complete with handwritten cursive) that makes the “hi, friend” card so popular, setting it apart from generic, drug-store paper goods. The catchphrase came from one of Riley’s oldest friends, who begins each conversation that way; on the inside, the otherwise blank card reads, “I just wanted to say…” Plus, the cards are eco-friendly, printed on recycled paper and packaged in recycled, biodegradable materials.

Other Tortoise Belly favorites include Riley’s original, detailed pattern (found on cards like the “i love you” style), which was created based on an illustration project she did as part of the School of the Art Institute’s adult program. A pair of florescent “hello” and “thanks” cards represent Riley’s first foray into screen-printing, a method she hopes to use more on future Tortoise Belly designs. $4 each.

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