The process of working with a custom stationer is not always transparent and varies so to shed some light on the creative process behind a custom wedding suite, I'm pulling back the curtain on a suite I worked on recently for Catherine & Joshua.
It's been my absolute pleasure to work with Catherine & Joshua over the years; helping them create cards & designs to commemorate anniversaries, birthdays, their engagement, wedding and recently, their first anniversary. As a successful & celebrated interior designer, Catherine had a really clear vision for their day which meant their brief was clear, concise and very much in line with what we create at The Blackline Bottega.
1 | Quotes & Briefing
Custom stationery always requires a little more back and forth when it comes to the quotes. Whilst Catherine and I went back and forth about their requirements for their wedding day and relevant pricing, we also looked at cardstock colours, weights and drew rough sketches of what we imagined the suite would look like. It helped that Catherine had reference images and mood boards at this stage that we could discuss alongside notes from her wedding planner and florist.
2 | Calligraphy
The calligraphy in Catherine & Joshua's suite was going to be a recurrent thread through their engagement and wedding stationery so I offered a package of options so we could explore various different ways their name could be written.
When it comes to calligraphy & illustration, there is generally a lot more time built into a project that has a heavy reliance on handmade elements. For example, there may be time and cost built in for various rounds of minor edits like there was for Abbey & Ben's menus (All those little strokes, spacing and details count!)
Or, for this commercial project, there is time and cost built in for exploring a wide variety of concepts that the client is interested in. Seeing various different options like this is a good way to assess whether the ideas you like suit the copy & content that you have.
No two projects are the same; cost will vary as some suites have no calligraphy, others include 6 options of the couples' names in calligraphy and some projects require a whole design language (illustrations, lettering, phrases, graphics) to be created!
3 | Approvals & Comments
The process is truly collaborative with the options being emailed back and forth for comments and eventually approval. In the early stages of calligraphy, I'll write the couples' names in wildly different ways so we can agree on the direction. Then as the options are narrowed down, we get into the nitty gritty of which character shapes they like, and what needs to change for the lettering to be balanced.
4 | The Design Stage
Once the calligraphy was confirmed, it was time to dive into the design of Catherine & Joshua's engagement invitations. Catherine wanted the Engagement invitations to nod to her wedding invitations without looking the same. Given it was an intimate and smaller event, we focussed on giving the engagement invitations a contemporary design on a 300gsm linen cardstock. This process doesn't just involve typing up the copy and pulling the calligraphy into the design. The calligraphy is vectored, fonts are paired with the chosen calligraphy style and typesetting is considered. There are so many elements that go into this stage of the design! Once approved, we took the design and rolled it out onto contrasting envelopes & menus for the day.
5 | Final Proof & Printing
Nothing is ever sent to print in the studio without a final proof and check; so the files were sent back to Catherine & Joshua for one final sign off before printing.
6 | The Roll-Out
Having created their engagement stationery, Catherine & Joshua's wedding stationery and on-the-day signage, menus & stationery was more straightforward. As their Wedding Planner included letterpress printing in her package, I was able to supply them with digital files that were ready-to-print. A great perk of working with a custom stationer is the potential for this kind of flexibility!
If you loved the look of this stationery and want to see how the pieces looked at their wedding, you can find the feature on Catherine & Joshua's Wedding here.
If you're not still not sure whether custom stationery is the best option for you, you can find a feature on the difference between off-the-shelf, semi-custom & custom stationery here.