Shades of Blush

David and Allyson's invitation set was based on Petal, which features an original illustration by Parklife Press. The text, set in all-caps Gill Sans, is set off by the lightly-flourished script of their names. The asymmetry of the single, flowering branch — printed in tungsten and blush inks — provides a fresh and cheerful balance to the clean and modern design.

The branch design from the invitation was carried through on the RSVP card.

Letterpress is typically created with solid areas of ink impressions using individual, premixed colors. But here, by using halftone screens (read our post about letterpress and the halftone process here), three shades of pink were achieved using only one ink. This branch of blooming buds would still be pretty with solid, 100%-strength blush ink, but the design would lack depth; it wouldn't be as delicate, or as interesting.

Drawing Inspiration: Art, Cultural Traditions, Local Pride

From a creative professional's perspective, Sneha and Dylan were dream clients. The did research, they "shopped local," and they visited the studio — both to talk with Travis, and to see (and feel) letterpress samples in person. Most importantly, they had a solid design vision and provided concrete inspiration and references.

Parklife Press did custom designs for both the save the date card and the invitation set. For the former, Sneha and Dylan said they wanted "whimsical ... like the opening scenes of a Wes Anderson film." (For a graphic designer and film buff to hear this? He knows it's the start of a fun job.)

The list of inspirations for the invitation set was longer, but no less interesting to fit together. To start with, it was to be "a bit more formal" than the save the date cards.

For the couple, it was tiny details that made this set distinctive and personal. They wanted to incorporate "flower garlands from traditional Indian weddings." To do this, Travis used a blind deboss impression — thereby lending texture to the background and creating a subtle, striped effect which was in keeping with the design's formal tone. Sneha and Dylan chose the green and gold colors they "often see in the beautiful forests here," colors which they used in the wedding and reception. (The heavy-weight cards were edged in gold, setting off the deep green of the text.) And finally, they wanted to "give a nod to our new home in Durham by featuring a romanticized bull." That bull, extending a single rose, appears on both the save the date card and on the invitation's envelope flap return address.

Commissioning custom designs, especially when the turnaround time is short, can be nerve-wracking for clients. But it was a positive experience for Sneha, who said, "Travis was so easy to work with and incredibly quick to respond to our edits." And the resulting product really set the tone for their big day: "We have received more compliments on the invites than we could have ever imagined," she said. "He helped two very time-constrained and design-naive individuals make absolutely beautiful invitations we will treasure forever."

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Old World Charm in New York City

The beauty of a classic, calligraphic invitation puts the emphasis on the writing. Here, in a invitation based on Quill, with custom calligraphy by Monica Rachel Lima, the swirls and flourishes of the text sets the tone for an elegant and festive occasion. The black ink on thick, pearl white paper stock is set off by a metallic silver envelope liner.

The simplicity of the dingbat rule pairs well with dramatic flair of the calligraphic flourishes, and all the rounded corners of all the pieces ties the set together.

Accompanying reception and RSVP cards are done in a understated serif font with a vintage feel. The two styles coordinate to set the tone for a formal wedding in New York City.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Ontario Romance on Lake Muskoka

This was a fun set to design, as it featured custom hand-drawn illustrations incorporating many personal details from the day — a cozy cottage on a pebbly lake shore, the family dog, and the couple's name waving in a banner. Printed on pearl white paper in stone and peacock inks, the artwork's color palette had a northern-lake feel. Paired with a handwriting-style font, the set conveys the warmth and personality of the lakeside wedding.

The RSVP card carries on the casual tone of the wedding, featuring the options "see you on the dock" or "stuck in the city." Thinking ahead, Danielle and Benjamin ordered corresponding custom thank you notes cards to thank their family and friends for wedding gifts.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Vignette Reboot

Another great set based on the on the Vignette style. The main invitation features beautiful, understated typography printed in stone ink and set off by a custom double border. The pieces are gathered in a belly band featuring the couple's initials printed on gray cotton Pescia paper.

The RSVP card includes a menu choice for the reception dinner.

The swirled dingbat is a design element carried throughout the pieces, appearing on the main invitation, the belly band, and the RSVP card. The belly band also features the couple's wedding website, where guests can find travel and lodging information. The border design is created by a blind deboss — where an impression is made without ink transfer — which subtly highlights the thickness and texture of the paper stock.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Grass and Stone

Addie had always been drawn to letterpress. Having few letterpress options in Greensboro, they found Parklife Press when searching for studios in the Durham area. Working under a tight deadline and having little time to spare, they were pleased when Parklife's website showed a "clear design aesthetic as well as up front design details and pricing options," and felt that the format prepared them for a seamless consultation with Travis. They were immediately drawn to the Parker design because it was clean and simple, and they loved its use of typography.

They used grass and stone inks throughout. The green, used sparingly — for their names, the RSVP postcard-style return address, and for the invitation's edge painting — was a nice touch for their not-quite-spring wedding in March. "It felt really fresh and added just enough pop," Addie says. They ended up using the colors and color names as a thematic springboard — "grass and stone" became a motif at their wedding, with centerpieces of planters of grass, and stone-colored bridesmaids dresses.

The RSVP and welcome cards provided another showcase for the dramatic pop of typographic embellishment. This particular script font comes with an extensive set of alternative characters and ligatures, providing lots of options for the designer. Choosing which to use and where is key. Addie noted, "Travis gave great suggestions on how and where to add flourish to our names without it being over the top. We trusted him completely!"

Twist of Lime

Meghan and John knew they wanted letterpress invitations for their wedding, and had even seen Parklife's work before — a friend of theirs worked with Travis and used a similar invitation design. So when it came time to plan their wedding, they were a step ahead. Based on Whirl, the design features a conventional text layout with an off-center design bleeding off the corner. The motif is also repeated on the main envelope flap, as well as the RSVP and events schedule cards.

The swirly motif, when printed in pale lime ink, becomes springy and botanical, perfect for a late-spring wedding.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson