Timeless Black on White

Michelle and Stephen weren't familiar with letterpress when they began planning their black tie wedding, but a love of elegant invitations had been instilled in Michelle an early age. Her grandmother used to frame beautiful invitations she received, and Michelle had always admired those with simple black calligraphy on a white note card. Parklife's Vignette fit that vision perfectly: striking black ink against bright white paper, set off and framed with a blind deboss border.

The script font had a few flourishes, with one particularly unusual and interesting one: the ligtature connecting the cursive capital "S" and "p" in Stephen's name. A classic dingbat was used to add some visual interest and to separate blocks of information. It also tied all the pieces together — it was used on the invitation, the main envelope's return address, the RSVP card, and the accommodation information card.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

A Handful of New Letterpress Business Cards

We've added some great new cards to our business gallery. Take a look...

These double-sided cards for Cedarly, a media and web branding company in North Carolina, feature their logo printed with a tinted white ink. We could have just as easily blind-pressed the logo (no ink at all), but the tinted white helps it pop a bit more. This technique works beautifully with the logo's leaves and with its clean typeface, highlighting the deep impression of the thick 600g paper. On the other side of the card, the information is perked up with tiny icons in blue, which help distinguish at a glance the different methods of contact. We finished the card with painted edges, picking up the accent color.

John, the creative principle at Lake House Design Group, designed these rustic but modern cards. The logo style, the palette of the ink and paper colors, and the distressed typeface work together to evoke the familiarity and nostalgia present in the firm's name.

Matt Graif, a graphic designer in Missouri, submitted this excellent design for his business card that we printed for him on 600g fluorescent white Lettra.

This dramatic card for Eli Powell, a photographer in Boulder, Colorado, uses white space to its advantage. With the card's less-common vertical orientation and the artwork bleeding off the bottom, the design focuses squarely on the photographer's name but hints at sweeping landscapes and large, open skies. In blue ink on crisp, fluorescent white card stock, the snow-capped mountains are brought to life with just a few abstract shapes, connecting Powell to his region and to his clientele.

And finally, a card for Jean Woods Madge, a realtor at Distinctive Properties in Durham. Travis worked with her to create a new logo and a new look for her business cards, which were printed on 300g ecru white cardstock. The logo itself is distinctive and interesting, and the card layout was complete with a nice combination of script and serif typefaces.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Durham, Via ...

Megan and Ted had a bold, simple look in mind for their invitations. Both loved the clean look of the Futura typeface, which captured the wedding's modern and traditional blend of styles. They first grabbed their guests' attention with a save the date card, featuring a custom illustration by Travis, which traced the couple's route to the altar. Working from a concept Ted sketched on a napkin, the finished artwork diagrams their two paths becoming one shared journey: beginning in L.A. and New Orleans, meeting in N.Y., moving together to Virginia and ultimately, to Durham, North Carolina.

Ted also contributed the "concert poster" concept for the save the date's text layout. They were both very involved in the design process and enjoyed the collaboration, saying that Parklife "did a fantastic job in translating the concept into something that turned out beautifully on letterpress." The invitation itself was focused on clean lines, which were further highlighted by generous white space. Interestingly, the Black and Fire Truck red inks were not their wedding colors — they just really loved how those colors, especially on the bright white paper, made the design pop.

The couple had been big fans of letterpress printing before their wedding planning began — they appreciated, in Megan's words, "the tactile experience of opening up an envelope and experiencing an invitation that not only looked beautiful but FELT beautiful, too." And they valued what she described as "the permanence that letterpress represents. Even if the ink fades, the invite is still permanently there. It's a neat metaphor to accompany a wedding invite."

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Minimalist in Long Island City

After seeing the Parker invitation design featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, Liz and Adriel were drawn to the classic look of the invitation. They knew they wanted letterpress invitations; in Liz's words, they were "choosing to send physical invitations in a digital world," so the texture of the imprinted text and the feel of the paper was critical to their selection.

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The couple chose a minimalist response card so that guests could add personal notes and unique replies. They received lovely good wishes, drawings and jokes from loved ones; the response cards became keepsakes. They personalized the design of the invitation by adding their names in Hebrew (offset from the main text in Dust ink). The invitations were edged in Grass and the envelopes were lined with a matching metallic paper. The green and white matched their wedding colors and flowers. Finally, the couple ordered simple, elegant cards to be used as thank you notes after the wedding.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Summer Vail

Emily and Dylan's adaptation of our Vail invitation is great. We changed the Tangerine ink to Light Celadon and opted for Fluorescent White paper instead of Ecru and the look, once warm and autumnal, became bright and fresh -- perfect for their summertime wedding.

We carried the look through to the place cards and thank you notes as well, keeping the same theme without simply repeating the same artwork.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Fuchsia Baby Announcements

Large blocks of color can be tricky with letterpress. But if you don't mind a little paper show-through, it can be very cool. We printed these announcements for local Chapel Hill designer, Steve Kulp, on 600g Fluorescent White paper with Fuchsia ink and edge paint. Using the extra-thick stock lets us press harder into the sheet without causing it to buckle.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson