Mapping Napa

Nick and Hadley were drawn to the ever-popular Bookplate, and chose a color palette of fresh green paired with a soft gray (apple and dust inks). Their set included a map, custom-designed by Parklife Press, to guide their guests around the Napa Valley wedding events.

The set is comprised of three pieces printed on extra thick, 600g paper: an invitation, an RSVP card with a printed return envelope, and a map to the wedding site. The map shows both an overview of the area in Napa — with all-points directions and major roads — and a detail section of the Inn and resort grounds, noting entrance and parking areas and the specific reception hall.

Bookplate has always been a popular style for Parklife Press; its clean, simple design — with plenty of white space — really highlights the beauty of the typography, and the color pop on the couple's names really draws the eye. And perhaps because the design is so elegant and uncluttered, the tiny flourishes pack a (visual) punch. Below, the edge painting on each the piece (the invitation, RSVP card, and map) shows off the extra-thick paper stock and unifies the color theme; the tiny green dingbat preceeding "Dinner to follow" draws attention to the reception note while adding visual interest; the typeface's blink-or-you'll-miss-them ligatures lend an old-world charm to a very modern design; and the extra-thin double rules on the map divide the sections in a beautifully understated way.

Bonus points for any fellow print nerds who noticed that our map design delivered two shades of green for the price of one, with the water — the Pacific Ocean, San Pablo Bay, and San Francisco Bay — shown in what appears to be a lighter tint. How did they do that, you ask? What alchemy have these mad geniuses wrested from their printing press? Short answer: a halftone screen. Longer answer here.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Soiree for 70th

This was a fun invitation set to print. Designed by graphic designer Sarah Scott, it was a festive and classy way to invite guests to Suman's 70th birthday. Guests opened the outer envelope to find a sleeve — an Envelopments Portable Pocket with charcoal linen exterior and ecru linen interior, overprinted with fog ink – and withdrew the card. The striking invitation was printed in black and a custom green ink on heavy, 600g pearl white stock.

The design's details and touches abound — the v-opening of the pocket, the tiny script "and," the hat on the 70, the tone-on-tone printing over the textured enclosure — and it must surely have set the tone for a great party.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

Branding is Key

While business cards are a great vehicle for letterpress printing, we can't forget everyday business stationery. We had worked with Van Fletcher on a few projects, so we were happy to be able to help build his brand further with some new pieces. This time it was a flexible stationery set — a two-ink 120g "mini letterhead" (also known as note paper size; it's smaller than a full size sheet and folds in half to fit in envelope); a more stripped-down 300g note card; and a two-color envelope to house either piece.

This set is quite flexible — the more formal sheet bearing the full logo and listing multiple modes of contact, and a less formal card. The card is still "branded" with the key motif, but name and contact details are left off; it's perfect for notes to existing clients and associates. Note that the more minimalist note card is not without contact information: Van Fletcher's website is imprinted, subtly and without ink, at the card's base.

Photos by Sarah McCarty Arneson

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