2018 MIT Presidential Curious Cobweb Holiday Card

Designed for MIT President, L. Rafael Reif, and Mrs. Christine Reif, this card embraces craft and encourages curiosity.

As the recipient pulls on the silver string attached to the center of the card, a delicate paper engineered cobweb ascends, revealing a hidden silver-foiled message reading “May curiosity rule your world in the new year!”

Foil stamped in a bright, lively blue, the front of the holiday card features the MIT seal and an origami crease pattern created by MIT alumnus, Brian Chan. From the information printed on the back of the card, we learn that Chan’s pattern folds into the figures featured in the MIT seal that represent MIT's motto of "mind and hand." Recipients were directed to view a video of Brian constructing the origami.

A custom stamp illustrating MIT's Great Dome was also designed to reflect the design of the card. The card was mailed to over 800 of MIT's closest friends.



I was initially inspired by a collection of cobweb valentine cards that live in The Metropoliton Museum of Art’s Department of Drawings and Prints. The Met originally shared the collection in a blog post in 2017 which featured several particularly rare and delicate cobweb designs from as early as the 17th century.

The Juicy Details

Creative Team; MIT, Resource Development, Communications: Creative Director: Barbara Malec; Associate; Designer & Paper Engineering: M. Marshall; Content written by M. Marshall; Editing & Proofreading: Evanthia Malliris; Stamp Illustration & Design: M. Marshall; Origami Pattern provided by Brian Chan.

Project Duration: April 2018 through December 2018.

Specs: 6.25” Square Card: This card is duplexed together with 105# Smooth Stardream in Crystal for the front panel and 100# Cover weight Stardream in Silver for the back panel. The interior (underneath the cobweb) and the back of the card were printed using an HP Indigo Digital Press at Puritan Press.

Front die cut, all foiling (front, interior, back) and assembling completed at Superior Packaging and Finishing; Custom stamps printed through PhotoStamps; 1mm Silver string from MayArts

Specs; 6.5” Square Envelopes: Silver Stardream envelopes with Adriatic Blue liners from Cards & Pockets.

Special thanks to our Print Production Liaison, Jake Faiola at Puritan Press for working with us bring this card to life!