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How big is a fortune?

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Are fortune cookie fortunes all the same size? This was one of the first questions I asked the internet when I set out to create our original fortune-holding lockets and frames.After digging around online and measuring a bunch of fortunes, I narrowed it down to four sizes. Here's how we designed a collection of jewelry and keepsakes that cater to all of them.

Are fortune cookie fortunes all the same size?

This isn't something you think about when casually cracking open a fortune cookie and reading the message, but it was the first of many questions I asked the internet when I set out to create our original fortune-holding lockets and frames. 

The short answer to my question was, nope. 

But after digging around online--and taking a ruler to a stash of fortunes I'd hung onto--I realized that there are four pretty common sizes:

  • 2.20" x .45" (56 mm x 11.5 mm)
  • 2.20" x .50" (56 mm x 13 mm)
  • 2.25" x .50" (57 mm x 13 mm)
  • 2.20" x .625" (56 mm x 16 mm) 

What is the size of the fortune cookie message slip?

Fortunes, from the top to bottom row: 2.20" x .45", 2.20" x 50", 2.25" x .50" and 2.20" x .625".

With no one standard fortune size, there were a couple other big questions to answer before designing the original collection:

  1. Which fortune size will work best across all of our pieces? This would have been an easier question to answer if all our pieces had the same structure, but we had to accommodate 3 basic types: Our fortune lockets, which hold a flat fortune. Our fortune cookie lockets, which hold a fortune that's rolled-up like a scroll. And our soon-to-be-released mini fortune frames, which we designed to sit on a desktop, hang on a wall or fridge.

  2. How can we accommodate fortunes that aren't the same size as the ones we choose to design for? One idea we eliminated early on was offering different locket structures for different fortune sizes. For instance, making lockets that have a fortune "bed" the same size as the largest fortunes and other lockets with a fortune bed the size of the smallest fortune. This would be a logistical nightmare. But we still needed to make sure our lockets could accommodate fortunes of all sizes.

We realized that the easiest answers
weren't necessarily the best answers...

It would have been easy, for instance, to design our lockets and frames around the largest fortune size. This would guarantee that all other fortune sizes would fit as well. The downside was that our fortune lockets would end up being short and stalky, and way too wide. We wanted them to be slender and dainty--something we wanted to wear ourselves.

Designing around the largest fortune size would also mean that the smaller fortune sizes would shift inside the pieces, rather than be held firmly in place. And the empty space on top of the smaller fortunes would be visible through the window. Not very thoughtful or special...

We also had to consider that what works for a frame sitting on a desk or table, is a lot different than what works for fashion jewelry and wearable keepsakes. 

Here are the 5 ways we tackled every potential scenario we could think of:

  1. We designed around the fortune size that would lend to the most appealing fortune lockets. Our logic was that the fortune lockets would be the most difficult to get right. Our vision was a long and rectangular locket that didn't feel oversized or bulky. We figured that if we could design those exactly how we wanted them, we could then work backwards from there to design our fortune cookie lockets and fortune frames.

    The fortune size that worked best for the lockets was the smallest one. At 2.20" x 0.45", our lockets would measure 2.45" tall x 0.55" wide. These proportions lent to a slender and dainty structure, which was exactly what we wanted.

    Fortune & Frame's fortunes are 2.20" x .45". The font on our fortunes is courier.

    Fortune & Frame's fortunes are 2.20" x .45". Our fortune lockets are 2.45" x .55". The font on our fortunes is Courier. Shown here: Flowered Vines Fortune Lockets in gold-dipped and platinum-dipped.

  2. Even though we went with the smallest fortune size, we made sure that fortunes of all sizes could still fit in our lockets and frames. Have you ever noticed how much white space is above, below, to the left and right of fortune messages? A lot. So no matter what size fortune someone has, they can easily fold or trim it without harming the message they want to wear or frame. Following this approach, there isn't a single fortune whose words get cut off or doesn't fit into our pieces (among the standard sizes, that is).

    Fold the fortune on the blue lines and the lucky numbers remain intact.

    Bye, bye weird little blue lines that have always been a bit confusing anyway. Use these lines as guides for folding the fortune. The lucky numbers will remain intact.

  3. We introduced a way for people to create personalized, customized fortunes with any message they want on our site. Though we know that people hold onto their fortunes for the message, rather than the paper itself, some people don't necessarily want to cut or trim their fortune. They want to maintain the integrity of the original fortune, almost as though the fortune being whole and undamaged is part of the ritual and experience for them. As people who have created a whole line of jewelry and accessories dedicated to holding and protecting fortunes, we think that's fair enough.

    There are also people who have held onto a fortune in their wallet or purse or some other place where it is easily damaged. Those people want to frame their fortune but by the time we arrived on the scene, their fortunes were too fragile or had even disintegrated.

    And finally, there are people whose favorite quote or message isn't from a fortune cookie at all, but they would love for it to be on a fortune they could wear or frame.

    We designed and developed a custom fortune generator on our site that all three of these people can use to create (or recreate) their fortunes when they order. Once they've submitted their text, we print their perfect message on a perfectly-sized fortune and include it inside their locket, with an extra copy in a mini fortune envelope so that they have a backup.

    Personalized fortunes come in our customized fortune envelopes.

    Personalized and perfectly-sized fortunes inside mini fortune envelopes.

  4. We've written hundreds of original fortunes for people to choose from. The messages that speak to people can change by the moment, so even though someone might have held onto a fortune doesn't mean that's the message they want to wear right now...or forever. 

    We introduced a fortune gallery that, as of now, has nearly 300 original love fortunes, inspirational fortunes and a bunch of other fortune cookie sayings people can choose from to match their moment or mood. And because we create them, they're always exactly the right size for all of our pieces. 

  5. We offer our fortune cookie lockets in two sizes. Length-wise, the difference in size between the smallest and largest fortunes is only 0.05", or 1.25 mm, which is fairly small. But the difference in width between the smallest and largest fortune sizes is nearly .20", or 5 mm, which is a big difference when dealing with jewelry. 

    We'd already solved the width problem for the fortune lockets by recommending people trim or fold their fortunes--or recreate them on their site. But for the fortune cookie lockets, where the fortune must be rolled into a scroll, the width affects whether the fortune will fit into the locket. Folding the edges would make it to bulky. And people who don't want to trim their original fortune would be left with a fortune sticking out of their locket. 

    So, we introduced two fortune cookie locket sizes: medium and large. Funny enough, we've found that most people choose their fortune cookie locket size  based on aesthetic preferences, rather than fortune size. 

    Our fortune cookie lockets in two sizes.

    Our fortune cookie lockets in two sizes, medium and large.

    Our fortune cookie lockets, shown open with rolled-up fortune scrolls inside.

    Both fortune cookie lockets, shown open with rolled-up fortune scrolls inside.

Despite all of this overthinking, we've come to find that most of our customers either choose fortunes from our fortune gallery or write their own. But for everyone who wants to store their original fortunes, we can happily say that we've got options... 

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