Let me tell you: I have been totally excited to show off this wedding invitation suite, pretty much since the bride, Cherie, originally contacted me about it back in January. The invitations and related pieces were completed for this suite in early May, however, I wanted to wait to show it to you until all of the pieces were completed, including the paper goods for the actual wedding and reception! You can see the majority of the pieces in the photo at the top of this post. Cherie and Larry's suite included the wedding invitation, reply card, reply card envelope an inner/outer invitation envelope set, place cards and program covers - all of which were letterpress printed.
So, what makes this particular suite so much fun you might ask? Cherie & Larry have an awesome theme! Cherie explained that for their small ceremony and reception in late June in Sausalito, California, they were having a vintage theme of "Eat. Drink. Be Married." and their color scheme was going to be yellow, grey, blacks and whites. I thought to myself, "Vintage + Letterpress, what could be better?", plus the "Eat. Drink. Be Married." part - too cute for words.
When I began working on the initial designs for Cherie and Larry's suite I came up with quite a few vintage-looking ideas. Some had ornate, fancy borders, and some used older-fashioned type styles and graphics. The designs that you see above and throughout this post, however, came from a combination of these things and were inspired by my love of vintage letterpress posters. Back in the day, large letterpress posters (called broadsides) were printed to advertise shows and events and were often printed using antique wooden type and featured large borders and fun graphics. If you ever get a chance to do some hunting around for vintage posters either online or at museums or in graphic design books, you really ought to, some of them are absolutely fabulous! When I told her about it, Cherie loved this vintage poster theme idea and pretty much gave me free design reign (which I love) to come up with something awesome. Let me tell you - these are truly awesome.
Like I mentioned previously, you can see the majority of the pieces in the suite at the top of this post. Below you will find a photo of just the invitation and inner/outer invitation envelope set, by themselves:
Traditionally, any formal invitation for an event was mailed in an inner/outer envelope set. Nowadays, many wedding invitations are mailed out with just a single outer envelope. Typically with an inner/outer set, the physical address would be written on the outside of the outer envelope with the return address printed on the back flap (just like with a single envelope) and the guest's names who were being invited would be written on the inner envelope with no address. In order to keep with the "traditional" aspect of their theme, Cherie chose to go with an inner/outer set - but in more modern colors. The outer envelope was a standard white, and the inner envelope was a dark grey. Both envelopes featured a European Pointed Flap, were sized for an A7 invitation, and were purchased from Waste Not Paper Company.
The main piece inside those envelopes was their wonderful invitation!
Cherie and Larry's invitation is a standard A7 size and the design for it was inspired by vintage letterpress posters. It was printed in three ink colors: light lemon yellow, darker mustard yellow and dark grey. I love the way that we were able to incorporate a vintage look and vintage design elements into a set of pieces with a more modern set of colors and theme. For example, a lot of traditional posters featured some kind of fancy ribbon or banner at the top of the poster - I created a banner for the top of this design that was printed in grey ink and had their phrase "Eat. Drink. Be Married!" written in a script font across the top. Just below the banner, are Cherie and Larry's actual silhouettes. Cherie had these done in California, where she lives, and sent them to me to use in the design. Silhouettes seem to be really popular for invitations this season and I think using them in this design was an awesome idea. Check out this close-up:
Aren't the colors just wonderful together too?!? I love them! Since the couple themselves are the "main attraction" at their wedding, I wanted Cherie and Larry's names to be the most prominent text element on the invitation. In order to do this, Cherie and I picked out a pretty and unique font, printed it in yellow and gave it a dark grey drop shadow effect.
I used an old-fashioned "and" graphic from a vintage poster design for the "and" between their names. Keep in mind with letterpress, that each color is printed separately, one sheet at a time. Because that drop shadow is so close to the thin yellow lines of the letters in their names, the grey ink layer was a real challenge to register (line up with the other colors) and then print. It took me several tries to get it right, but once I did, the affect was truly amazing.
Another thing that I love about this suite, that's not really possible with all designs, is the number of different fonts we could use, and in a sense "get away with" using, without making the design look cluttered. When I was in design classes in college I can remember professors saying that generally, it's best to only use 1-3 fonts, and not more, within a design. This keeps your design looking clean, and uncluttered. Generally speaking, I agree with this piece of advice, however, all of the vintage poster designs I have seen generally use LOTS of different fonts. I think back then, it wasn't so much a design consideration, as something they did because of what they had lying around (historical typesetters were limited to using only the wooden and metal typefaces they had on hand). But nevertheless, for a design like this, I LOVE the look of a lot of different fonts, harmonizing with each other to make up a complete design. (Yes, I know, I am a total design/typography nerd - sometimes there's no hiding it...).
For the reply card, I tried to stick with the same vintage poster theme, while having all of the functionality of a regular reply card. Most of the reply cards I design are a standard 4bar size, however, in order to accommodate all of the lovely design-element-awesomeness, I designed Cherie's to be one size bigger. It's an A2, which measures 4.25"x5.5". Like the invitation and other pieces in the suite, this card was printed in three ink colors on Crane Lettra Pearl White 100% cotton paper. The reply card envelopes were the same dark grey color from Waste Not Paper Company that matched their inner invitation envelope and the couples' address was printed on the front of them in black ink.
I tried to incorporate all of the fonts/design elements from the main invitation into the slightly simpler reply card. In keeping with the silhouette theme, we used silhouette-symbols of different "meal options" for their menu choices. I love using the little symbols for this and think that it adds a really cute element to any reply card. Here is a close-up of the reply card so you can see the fonts and impression a little better:
The other two pieces I created for Cherie and Larry are for their actual wedding ceremony and reception. The first of these was a set of small place cards. These place cards are tented, and when folded are the same size as a standard business card (3.5"x2"). Once again I tried to use all three colors and design elements from the other pieces to keep everything coordinated. They also turned out great!
Last, but certainly not least, was a set of program covers. These covers were somewhat of a challenge to print because of their larger size and because they have a lot of ink coverage, but they turned out fabulous! They were designed to be just slightly larger than a regular 8.5"x11" sheet of computer paper, folded in half the long way, so that Cherie could create the inside contents of her program herself and insert it into the covers later. Here is what the program looks like opened up, so you can see both the back and front at the same time:
All of the design elements and fun little graphics I used for the invitation are still there in this design, just rearranged into a more program-like format. Here is what the front of the program looks like, when folded:
And here is one more close-up so you can get an even better look at the awesome-ness:
Very cool, don't you think? So far, this is easily one of my favorite new designs this year and I love the fact that Cherie and Larry really let me take their theme and run with it! They were fabulous clients to work with and I would gladly do design and/or printing work for them again. In a recent e-mail Cherie even told me that some of her guests liked the stationery so much that they didn't want to return the reply card - and some of them just flat-out didn't, and called or e-mailed with their response instead. I know that they are going to have a wonderful celebration in a couple of weeks!
Congratulations Cherie & Larry and all the best!