I must begin this post by saying that the set of stationary that I'm about to write about, is quite possibly the second most complicated set of stationary I've ever committed to designing and working on. For those who are curious, I actually haven't written about THE most complicated job I've had to date on this blog, but I promise, one day I will, but that will be a much longer post, for a different day. For this stationary set, the bride, Danielle, had a grand vision for her wedding invitations from the very beginning. She and her fiancee, Matt, live in New York City, but are having a destination wedding in Key Biscayne, Florida. Due to the fact that the majority of their guests are not local to their wedding destination, Danielle and Matt had a significant amount of information that they wished to convey to their guests through their wedding stationary.
I'm often asked by prospective clients, "How long will it take from when I hire you to when I receive my stationary?". It's a totally fair question, but one that's often hard to answer. At Twin Ravens Press, we design the majority of our wedding sets entirely from scratch for the specific client. We don't really have a set of pre-designed designs that you can choose from, like many other stationers. Of course, if you've seen a design that we've done before that you'd like us to adapt to your particular wedding, we'd be more than happy to do so, but in general the majority of wedding sets (and Save-the-Date cards, and birth announcements, for that matter) are designed from scratch, start-to-finish, with the particular client in mind. In all honesty, I truly enjoy this and I think that it's just one extra little detail that makes my company special and unique. We want to work with you, to make the paper products of your dreams, that you probably couldn't find anywhere else. So to go back to the "How long will everything take?" question, sometimes it can only take a month, if the couple hiring me has a really clear, decisive, vision for what they want. Other times, it can take up to three, four, five or six months... It really depends on you. If you hire me, it's my job and my challenge to make sure we come up with exactly what you want. I want you to be excited about and proud of your stationary and I want it to be something you, your family and some of your guests will cherish for years to come. I want it to reflect who you are and what your wedding, celebration or announcement, etc. is about. Because of the personal (and very detailed) nature of this desire, sometimes designing a complete set of stationary from start-to-finish can take a long time.
So, for Matt & Danielle's stationary, due to the larger amount of information and the number of guests they are inviting, and the "style" they wanted to convey, let me just say that this one took a lot of time. I'm very proud (and I think they are too) of the final result, but let me say that if you plan to hire me and you have something this complex in mind, the earlier you can start, the better (Danielle first contacted me in late July 2008 and she received her finished stationary in the mail in January of 2009, granted, I was gone for about a month total during that period traveling, but still, it's always a good idea to plan ahead).
The other thing I have to write about, that I think is really important to discuss in conjunction with this project, is that very rarely, but sometimes, things go wrong during the course of a job, that have to be altered or corrected part way through. As much as I hate to admit it, every job that we do doesn't always go entirely smoothly from start to finish. I think that it's important to discuss and admit this, because it's a difficult thing to talk about. I mean, really, who wants to hear about when things don't go perfectly right? While the final results of this job turned out beautifully, I must admit that many problems that normally don't occur, did occur during the course of this job. I'm not going to go into the dirty specifics on this except to point out that Twin Ravens Press is not a big corporation. We sometimes make mistakes because we're human, our distributors sometimes make mistakes because they're human, etc. I will say though that because I'm such a perfectionist and because I take a lot of pride in my little company and my work, I have a policy about what to do when things don't go completely right. It's a pretty simple one really: If you ever order anything from me, and you're not completely satisfied, let me know. If what you're not satisfied about is something that can be altered or fixed, even if it means my having to reprint part or all of your job, I'll do it, because I want you to be happy with the end result. I figure that for most people, their wedding stationary may be the only custom stationary that they ever purchase in their life. Hopefully it's not, but regardless of whether it is or not, I want my clients to be happy with their stationary, even if it means putting in a few extra materials or little more labor on my part. My partner's grandfather once said that a person's reputation is their best currency. I figure that I'm very lucky to be able to do a job that I love everyday - most people don't have that luxury, and the reason I get to do the job that I love is because of all of the wonderful clients who have purchased my work, continue to purchase my work and who recommend me, my company and my work to their friends. Without them (you), Twin Ravens Press would still be a pipe dream, and because it means so much to me that it's not, I will do everything in my power to keep you happy and hopefully keep you and your friends coming back for more.
So, anyway, on to the stationary! As with the majority of my wedding posts, you can see the complete set in the photo at the top of this post. Danielle and Matt's suite included a 5.5" square invitation that was matted on a turquoise backing and then tipped in to a black pocket folder. The pocket folder had four additional two-color information cards: a map, a directions card, an accommodations card and a reply card. There were two sets of envelopes: one set for the reply card and one for the invitation and accompanying pieces to be sent out in, and they also ordered place cards!
Below is a photo of the main invitation. Some of the information has been blurred on purpose at the couple's request.
As I said above, each invitation measured 5.5" square and was matted on a turquoise backing sheet and then tipped into a black pocket folder. For the design of the stationary itself, Danielle wanted something that was contemporary and representative of their destination wedding, while still being elegant, and as she put it, "Not seashells and beaches and palm trees". We worked on several different designs and design elements that I think were all good possibilities, but the one we finally settled on was a contemporary, almost photo-realistic (as much as letterpress can be) version of the Miami skyline. Coming up with this image presented a bit of a challenge. Danielle and Matt are in New York, Twin Ravens Press is in Oregon, and I have never been to Florida. Let me tell you, to come up with what this skyline was going to look like, I had to do a lot of Google searching for the city of Miami. We went through several versions of the skyline and I must admit that up until the printing plates were made I was a bit worried that that part still wouldn't turn out the way we wanted it, but let me tell you - it looks and feels pretty awesome. This combined with a nice serif font in caps and a decorative, but not too decorative script font, made for a really pretty, modern, and unified stationary suite. Here is a detail shot of the suite so you can see how pretty the type looks and the impression from the letterpress:
For the parts of their stationary suite that were printed on white paper, Matt and Danielle chose to use Crane Lettra in Pearl White - one of my favorite letterpress papers to print on. If you look closely at the above photo you can see the great amount of detail you can get out of it while still achieving some impression especially around the turquoise script lettering of their names. Really pretty...
The next four pieces of the suite were the other ones that were inside their black pocket folder. They were a map, a directions card, an accommodations card and a reply card. Danielle had the great idea that it would be cool to have them be different heights that stacked up in the pocket to each reveal basically a tab with a different title for each card at the top. All of the titles she came up with were single words that began with the letters re-, which I thought was pretty clever. Here are the four cards fanned out after being removed from the folder:
All of them were printed in two colors: turquoise and black and had the Miami skyline featured at the bottom. The tallest one and the one that was the farthest back in the stack for the folder was the directions card, titled "Resource":
The second tallest was the reply card shown below. The heights/sizes of the three other cards were designed around this card's size. This card had to be kept a consistent size so that it could be paired with an appropriately sized envelope. I really enjoyed how Danielle utilized her reply card to ask guests other questions relating to the wedding such as whether or not they needed transportation to and from the reception, or what songs they should play to get their guests to dance at the celebration. I think this is a very cool thing to do for reply cards along with simply asking whether or not your guests will be attending.
The third card (second from the front), was titled "Relax" and was a nice little resource for what accommodations the bride and groom recommended for their destination wedding.
The fourth and shortest card (but the first one you'd see in the front when you open the folder) was a map card, titled "Rejoice". It's not the most informational map I've ever done, partially because of it's small size, but it is really pretty and I think it's a nice addition to the suite that kind of helps set the mood for the celebration in a fun and unique way.
The map was hand-drawn by yours truly and features a semi-realistic depiction of Matt & Danielle's wedding and reception site from bird's-eye view, a compass rose, and a little tiny sailboat in Biscayne Bay.
As I mentioned before, all of this folded up nice and neatly in a black tri-fold pocket folder, and each folder was tied with a matching turquoise double-faced satin ribbon. Like so:
This is what it looked like with the ribbon slipped inside the turquoise invitation envelope:
Voila! As I said before I think that this set is one of the most impressive "complete packages" I've designed and printed so far. It's unique, contemporary, beautiful, and I think it will really set the tone for Matt & Danielle's destination wedding.
Congratulations Matt & Danielle! Thanks for everything!