Illustrator Charlotte Vallance shares some nuggets of wisdom on design sense and client communication as she walks us through her work on beautiful invites for a summer garden wedding.
The colour scheme for a wedding is central to the big day and one of the first things decided upon. It’s the element that can tie everything together –from details in the bridesmaid dresses to venue décor and the flowers and invitations.
Through their invitations, the bride and groom want to get across the feel of the wedding to everyone invited. They can let their guests to know if the day will be a formal affair or a more relaxed ‘do’. For example, they may be having their reception in a big manor house or stately home, or perhaps in a nice barn out in the countryside.
The first thing I do when working with a new couple is to find out their colour scheme and what sort of feel they want to put together for their big day. These two things combined are my starting point for beginning the designs. If you know the colours the bride and groom are having at their wedding you’re less likely to choose a colour they don’t like in your initial designs!
From here I put together some initial sketches and go over them with the bride and groom. I always start with the main invitation; everything else should stem from this, and therefore create a visual link between each page/part of the invitation. Some invitations may only be one card, where as for other clients I can be asked to design up to five parts to make up the invitation and evening invitation.
For example, for a couple called Lydia and Alex I designed the following;
Information card + map
Corresponding stickers and lilac envelopes.
I knew Lydia and Alex were having a summer garden wedding with purple and grey shades throughout, so I opted for a floral theme, keeping the green of the leaves soft to compliment the other colours. Everything for these invitations revolved around the floral heart on the main invitation. Once they were happy with this I was confident in creating the rest of the range to compliment it.
I softened the main text features by using the floral heart illustration as colouring, rather than having a standard black. I also illustrated smaller blooms of flowers for use throughout the rest of the stationery, such as the RSVP cards, map, and information card. This meant that the heart shape wasn’t repeated too many times and was kept as the invitation centerpiece. Using my floral illustration in the text creates a colour and floral link between each part of the invite stationery.
To tie everything together, we teamed the invitations with lilac envelopes. This is the softest shade of purple, which really offsets the darker shades in the design.
This particular design would suit a range of colours, which could be achieved just by changing the colour of the flowers – to pinks, yellows, blues, reds, etc. A new heart and the separate flowers would be painted, but the design would still have the same ‘summer garden wedding’ feel.
Key points for happy clients:
Listen to what sort of feel the bride and groom are after.
- Just by using a more formal font, and a neater illustration/image, you could give these invitations a more formal feel, but still tie in with the colour scheme chosen.
- Ask the couple to give you visual samples if they can. What you’re picturing in your head may be different to what they have in mind, even if it sounds the same out loud. Lydia and Alex provided a photo of a wall of flowers, which is where I drew inspiration for the floral heart.
Choose corresponding elements that compliment the main feature.
- Everything you put on the invitations is meant to be there and needs to stand out. Each page will have a key feature and if this is displayed in the same way in each part, the invitation will read nicely.
- Use a complimentary colour for your envelopes or opt for a lovely textured paper that will convey instant importance when received in the post.
Don’t be afraid to use colour in your text.
- The text gives you the important details and is what is going to get the most attention. Why not make a feature of it and use a shade from the chosen colour scheme to make it look special?
- You can draw your own text or use one of many free ones available on your computer or online. It’s nice to use two different texts to compliment each other and highlight the main text.
Remember to be consistent.
- There were a lot of elements to this particular commission, so it was important not to get lost. Make sure you keep referring back to your main invite to see how it all hangs together.
Charlotte is an illustrator based in London and Buckinghamshire. She creates bespoke watercolours and screen-prints for a range of clients from families and individuals to small boutiques and larger companies. Charlotte also has her own Etsy store.