For Gen Sohr, the creative and interior designer behind Nashville-based Pencil & Paper Development Co., two of the most important elements in making a home your own are color and art. “It’s hard not to be in a good mood when you see something with color,” Gen says. “And to me, art is all about the emotion it evokes.” This is the sentiment behind our art collaborations with the firm: Color Studies and the Alphabet Series.
The magic of the Alphabet Series is that it lets you make a truly custom art installation. “The color combination, the size, the word you use, it allows you to be really creative and create something that’s meaningful to you. It becomes very personal,” Gen says. And with letters, numbers, punctuation, and symbols available in 3 sizes and 12 color combinations each, the options for creating your own design are endless. Read on to discover some of her favorite ways to display the Alphabet Series—and then shop the collection to choose your own look down to the letter.
It’s hard not to be in a good mood when you see something with color. And to me, art is all about the emotion it evokes.
How to Make It Your Own
Spell it out in a kids’ room. “The idea of using a child’s name in their own room is so special,” Gen says. The customization element of the series allows you to do any name—even those with an unusual spelling—and pick colors that work with the room’s color palette.
Jazz up a special event. Any big event can benefit from the Alphabet Series, whether in the form of initials (perfect for a bachelorette or engagement party), numbers (ideal for milestone anniversary or birthday celebrations), or dates (an adorable photo backdrop at a wedding).
Play with color. With 12 color combinations, you’ve got lots of options when it comes to creating a palette. Try picking two or three combos and repeating them in a pattern within your chosen word or phrase. Stick with one color-combination selection for a more cohesive look. Or choose a different option for each character to create a vibrant mix-and-match statement.
Display a favorite word or phrase. Any word that means something to you can go up on the wall. Some of Gen’s favorites, for which she created ready-made sets, are “bonjour,” “hello,” “happy,” “love,” “create,” and for the bar and drinks area in your home, “bar.”
Abbreviate with initials or monograms. “I love the biggest size for a monogram,” Gen says. “It’s fun and bold, and it takes the traditional monogram element and turns it into a special piece of modern art in your home.” Any size will work for an initialed or monogram moment, which lends itself to just about any space. “It’s perfect for a teen’s room, but I also had a 50-year-old male friend tell me he couldn’t wait to hang the art in his closet. Everyone can put their own spin on it,” she says.
Pay homage to a beloved place. Show off country, state, or hometown pride by spelling out (or abbreviating) your favorite place. Take it to the next level by choosing letters in the colors of your sports team or in the state’s official colors.
Outfit the office. Give your office or retail signage an updated look by displaying the year your business was established or the name of your company or store.
Stick to punctuation or symbols. “Punctuation is included so if someone wants to create a full sentence, they can,” Gen says. “But what we really love about the punctuation and symbols is how graphic and impactful they are alone.” Gen opted for an exclamation point in the largest size above a console in her own home, along with a heart in the smallest size above the beds in her guest room. She also loves the idea of doing a set of large hearts in different colors or layering a single small piece on a mantel with other art.