...in process - bespoke invitations

we get asked a lot about the process we go through when creating custom invitations...  starting from scratch always creates a lengthy process no mater what you're creating, and custom wedding invitations are no exception.   

our process is different from most for a few reasons - one, we're calligraphers.  two, we're artists and three, we're graphic designers.  add those three factors together, and you get a unique take on paper products. 

let us walk you through our process a bit ... when working with a new bespoke invitaion client, the first thing we do is hammer out some of their ideas, what pieces they would like, and what the overall look and feel will be.  this usually starts with sketches, rough notes and some scribbles...like so...


these sketched sheets are the basis for our design.  we review color palettes, design inclusions, potential assembly ideas, etc.  for this particular suite, we're pulling out peaches, blushes, pinks, greens and ivories.  the design elements included in this suite will be peach blossoms, peach trees, orchards, some grape vines, grape leaves (no actual grapes) and the barn and farmhouse where the reception will take place.  the client also likes silhouette portraits, which we'll try get on the design somewhere.   at this point, we really get a feel for the overall formality of the event as well.

the next step is to start creating some artwork.  we  begin with sketches, then depending on the look we're going for, their either inked and then painted, or just painted.  for this suite, i first sketched, then inked using rough lines rather than a hard outline.  i wanted the watercolor to be fair in color, so i used the light ink lines to help define the elements a bit more.  here, i ended up with about 8 pages of elements. 


now comes the fun part - the painting or illustrating.  since we use a lot of mixed media, this could be watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, ink, or acrylic.  by this point, we've really narrowed down what a client is looking for.  sometimes this includes doing a rough design board if we need to narrow things down a bit more before we move into the paint stage.  since this stage is the most time consuming, we try to not end up painting too many more elements than what we'll actually be using.

we then march right into the lettering.  since we're also calligraphers, most of our work includes some sort of hand lettering or calligraphy.  we do all our calligraphy as master copy work, then using a scanner, applique the calligraphy onto the design and reproduce the work as one print.  we use the same process for our artwork.   

from here, we create a design board.  we LOVE using design boards; they're an excellent way to visually put all our elements in one place and convey the overall look and feel.  a client can see all their artwork, patterns, fonts, and other options all listed out at once.  we use these design boards to decide what elements go where, what patterns we'll put on which pieces, what the envelope liners will be, etc.   

Design Board.jpg

once our design board is in place, and all our elements have been approved by the client, we move into our proofing.  we create invitation suites different from a lot of design companies out there - each piece in the suite is often quite different from the next and sometimes showing just a single piece doesn't convey the entire suite accurately.  we usually create a couple invitation layout options, but select our favorite to create several pieces in the suite so the client can see how we plan on using elements from one piece to another.  we also print the back sides of all our pieces, adding even more details and available space for elements and design.   

our process and technique does set us apart, and the end result is truly a completely bespoke invitation, extremely unique to each client.   this is where the hashtag #ilovemyjob comes in!