It has become increasingly popular for couples to want to make their wedding day personal and unique. In recent years we have seen the rise of the D-I-Y bride (and groom!), crafting and designing every detail of the day to give their guests a flavour of their personality and taste, and one of the first indications of the style or theme of the wedding comes in the shape of the save the date, or invitation.
As a wedding stationery designer, I am tasked with creating all kinds of personalised paper goods, from invitations and information cards through to table numbers and menus, not forgetting the final thank you cards.
Each couple will have different requirements, and requests can differ greatly in complexity. Here I share my top tips for creating personalised stationery:
It’s the obvious starting point, but each wedding will have a colour theme, even if this is no more complicated than the colour of the bridesmaids’ dresses.
I have a range of ‘off the peg’ stationery designs which lend themselves to being reproduced in a wide range of colours. This is without doubt the easiest way for me to tie the stationery design in to the wedding.
I find it is best to ask for a colour reference from the bride, such as a physical fabric sample, or simply an image from the internet, as one person’s idea of ‘vintage raspberry’ can be quite different from someone else’s!
WHAT’S YOUR TYPE?
The choice of font can quickly change the tone of a wedding so it is important to get this right.
At the moment, quirky ‘hand drawn’ calligraphy is bang on trend – this whimsical style of typography goes perfectly with a rustic or hand crafted wedding, The hand drawn nature gives an informal, friendly touch. If you haven’t mastered the art of calligraphy yourself there are some great fonts out there to purchase, which give this effect. (It’s best to couple the calligraphy with a simple font for the majority of body copy to ensure legibility and not ‘over-do’ the style).
Many couples still like a formal edge to their stationery and I always keep a host of my favourite classic serif or traditional script fonts to call upon in these cases. A bold, blocky san-serif font can give a contemporary styling and works perfectly on purely typographic designs, or why not mix and match a variety of typefaces to create a typographic work of art?
A favourite source of mine for free fonts (just remember to double check their terms for commercial use) is Fontsquirrel.com.
Many couples base the design of their stationery and in fact their entire big day around a theme personal to them, or the location of the wedding.
I have a popular range of seaside-themed stationery, incorporating deckchairs, beach huts sandcastles etc.; perfect for marriages by the coast or abroad. I created the designs with original illustrations in my graphic styling.
Occasionally I get requests to incorporate an image from a photograph of the wedding venue but I always find it best to explain to the client in the early stages that I work in a certain style, and if I don’t feel the request is achievable in my style it’s often preferable to come up with an alternative plan. Thankfully clients are usually understanding and respectful of my creative process.
Another popular theme is to base the design on a certain flower the bride has chosen for her bouquet. I love creating floral designs so this is always a pleasure for me, although these designs can be a little more time consuming as they can involve raw sketching if I don’t already have illustrations of the particular flower in my ‘back catalogue’.
Seasonal weddings can offer a wealth of design options. Christmas time, for example, can involve holly, stockings, candles or snowflakes – springtime could feature woodland animals or daffodils.
The bride and groom may have a special feature planned for their wedding which can form the basis for the entire stationery design, perhaps a double decker bus to transport the guests which could translate to a beautiful vintage style illustration, continuing down to bus ticket styled name place cards.
Often the client will have a good idea of their hopes and plans for their wedding from an early stage so the more they can tell you about their day the more options you can suggest back to them for their paper goods.
All of the wedding stationery jobs I produce increase my portfolio of artwork, which I file away should I need to call upon again in the future. However, some clients request completely bespoke designs relevant only to them. These kind of jobs require quite a bit more time spent on them and so often are charged out at a higher rate.
A couple may want to create their personal ‘emblem’ for their stationery, perhaps incorporating their silhouettes. Animal lovers may commission portraits of their pets to form part of the design (it’s not unheard of for dogs to carry the wedding rings!). I recently created a design based on the particular lace used in a bride’s dress, scanning and digitally manipulating a physical sample then creating vector artwork from it in Illustrator to create a delicate and feminine design.
It’s definitely worth thinking about the card stock you want to print on, there’s a growing choice with digital print, perhaps a rustic country wedding would suit Kraft card, or a winter wedding could look fantastic using a pearlescent card.
Aside from the printed design of the wedding stationery, it’s also possible to create a personalised touch with the choice of trim or embellishment — stickers, some coloured ribbon perhaps, or diamante sparkle to emulate a detail of the wedding day itself. Co-ordinating details can be used through pew ends, favours, table decorations or even on the wedding cake to tie everything together.
Above all as a designer I think it’s important to stay true to your own design style, don’t forget that is why your client came to you in the first place. Sometimes it can be easy to stray off in a different direction when asked to create something bespoke and some clients can be quite demanding!
I hope this has provided a few ideas for your next personalised project, best wishes for 2014, Katy.
Find out more about Katy and her work by visiting http://www.katyclemmans.co.uk/