What’s in a name?


Every so often you come across a product that makes your day. Those gems are worth sharing.

Some clients recently asked about subway tile for a backsplash. Mark, the general contractor on the job, mentioned the tile one of his other clients is using in her bathroom. We stopped at her house (this was a few weeks back; we’re working from home now) to pick up a sample. I was taken by the glaze, but even more by the name of the color: “Par Avion.” It really is the color of the ultra-thin airmail paper we used in the ’70s.


Crossville Tile’s “Par Avion

When I looked up the website for further information to send to our current clients I found that all the glazes in the “Handwritten” line have writerly names — “Ink Well,” “Pen Pal, and “Post Card,” to name another three. Part of me winces at the preciousness of the branding, but in this era of touchpads, keyboards, and voice-recognition software, it’s nice to be reminded about the culture of paper and pens.

7 responses to “What’s in a name?

  1. Geordie Smith

    I feel like walking the line between when to be precious about something and when to just get it done is one of the ultimate steps before a person gets in to “master” territory

    Maybe when you stop having to think, “am I being too precious about x or y step,” and just know intuitively where you draw your own line you’ve made a crucial breakthrough

    This is barely a coherent thought but oh well!

  2. Your mention of subway tiles reminds me of an article I wrote many years ago. It might pass a few minutes in these lockdown days. It’s here:


    By the way, I still have a pad of that airmail paper. I love it.

  3. They missed a trick: love letter would be better as billet doux!

  4. I love it!

  5. You periodically hold forth on the issues of career sustainability. I can’t seem to post links but do a search on columbia journalism review: “a survival guide to international freelancing”.

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