Ali and I have worked together for years on various projects, so when she started a brand new business, she knew just who to turn to! The company sells vintage Moroccan rugs, but with a decidedly modern aesthetic, so I needed to find a way to combine those ideas. She sent me inspiration photos of traditional doors, buildings and streets filled with earthy tones and mentioned calling attention to the company’s initials: MVR.
I loved the way sunlight and shadow created a thousand shades of terra cotta, which inspired me to overlap transparent letterforms (and solved the problem of the awkward spacing around the “V”!). Incorporating the Moroccan door shape into the “M” added a touch of whimsy, and setting the name of the business in deep teal lettering made it stand out from the imposing initials.
The logo is one of my favorites so far, and I know it will set her on the path to success with her new business!
It’s been a busy year for wedding projects, which means it’s been a terrible year for posting about them! One of the most popular projects in 2018 was save the date coasters featuring a custom venue sketch. It’s so fun to look back over a few of my favorites to see how my skills have improved and aesthetic has changed over the last 12 months. For each of these projects, I hand-drew the venue and supporting illustrations, designed the coaster and hand-printed the coasters on my antique letterpress.
Jessie got in touch in late 2017 about their destination wedding the following summer (smart bride!). She wanted their Belgian venue to feature prominently on both their save the date coasters and invitations, along with hops vines to give guests a head’s up about all the beer they would be drinking!
Rosie and Dan are getting married in just a few months at an amazing European castle. There were so many tiny details in their magnificent venue, the challenge here was simplifying the sketch to into outlines while keeping the spirit of the castle.
Mary and Joey are getting married at Milwaukee’s historic Pabst Brewery—so of course a coaster was the perfect way to tell guests to save the date! I love that they chose such a dynamic angle for their venue sketch—not only is it fun for me to do something a little different, it shows off the unique architecture of the structure. They had seen the hops design on Jack & Jessie’s coasters and wanted to incorporate that as well. I’m also completely obsessed with the pointed pen calligraphy font I used to typeset their names!
And finally, I just finished printing Will & Jubilee’s festive coasters for their Pennsylvania wedding next year. They are getting hitched at the historic Phoenixville Foundry, a truly statuesque venue. Will asked if I could eliminate some of the extraneous details to focus on the building itself, to which I happily obliged!
Usually when I’m designing for a client, I create a few options that are exactly what they’ve asked for, and one or two that are what I would do if given carte blanche to finish the project however I wanted. Every once in a while the client chooses my preferred design—this is one of those cases!
I love the ethereal watercolor background, the reverse over-sized script paired with simple all-caps typography, and that we incorporated the venue sketch from their save the dates to tie the stationery suite together. They are my perfect invite!
Kim has been a 622 press stockist for years, so when she decided she needed new business cards, I was honored that she reached out to me! She knew she wanted to modernize her branding while keeping the rustic charm of her logo with square cards made from kraft paper.
Since the business recently went to a special event/by-appointment-only structure, highlighting the contact information was vital. And because we only had two inch squares to work with, using both sides was necessary to have enough white space and include illustrated icons for emphasis.
We were going back and forth between black and white ink, but ultimately decided to go with black for increased legibility, so I inked up the press and hand-printed and trimmed several hundred cards!
Lucia and Curtis had purchased their wedding invitations from a popular website, but wanted to add a custom map to encourage their guests to explore some of their favorite places during their wedding weekend. I worked with the groom’s mom to create this special piece, featuring hand-painted watercolor illustrations of the wedding venue, his hometown and some of the spectacular natural features of the area. It is above and beyond any of the maps I’ve designed previously, but I think it was well worth the effort!
It seems appropriate to unveil Danzante Events’ new website on Valentine’s Day! After all, it’s all about love—and I’m absolutely in love with it!
One of the things that prompted Rebecca to seek me out was her clunky old website, so we got to work on it as soon as her new logo was finalized. She already had a WordPress plan and was comfortable with the interface, so we decided to stick with her current provider, but otherwise I was starting from scratch. I found a template to work as a base, then modified and added plug-ins to create a custom site that fulfills all her needs.
Last year, a pair California floral shop owners got in touch about business cards. After only a few emails back and forth, I realized they were pretty much my ideal clients—quick and decisive with feedback, open to new ideas, and maybe most importantly, they seemed to truly understand and value the work that goes into letterpress printing. Plus, they were interested in incorporating my new watercolor illustration services into their cards!
The result were these gorgeous bespoke cards. They were about as artisanal as you can get in an edition of several hundred: Hand-printed on an antique letterpress, hand-trimmed, and each hand-painted with a unique watercolor flower.
This year when they got in touch for a reprint, they were looking for a slightly lower cost product, so we decided to merge commercial printing with my letterpress work. Since the design on the back of the cards didn’t create a significant impression into the paper, I would have that side printed commercially, while letterpress printing the front. We decided to bring costs down even more by also commercially printing the flowers on the front, which of course isn’t as beautiful and unique as the original hand-painted work, but as a small business owner, I get it! And, since I print business cards four at a time, I was still able to incorporate different painted flowers to imbue the cards with some variation. Overall, I think they turned out great and I’m thrilled to be able to offer hybrid services to future clients!
Bride-to-be Krista came to me last fall with some pretty fabulous ideas for her save the date coasters. Inspired by the couple’s love of nature and subtly beer-themed big day, she wanted to focus on stylized leafy laurels. She also knew she wanted to avoid a super-swashy wedding script, opting instead for modern hand-drawn typography.
I spent some time working on each element in my sketchbook before creating vector elements from my sketches on my computer. When I started printing her coasters with sage-grey ink on my antique letterpress, I knew all that work had been worth it.
When we started talking invitations at the beginning of the year, we both wanted to keep the main design elements the same. I imbued a bit more formality into the invitations by switching out the script typeface from her save the dates for a calligraphy inspired font and lightening up the handwritten typography. I’m absolutely in love with it—especially in white ink on her envelopes!
Just before the big day, Krista got in touch for a few more projects, including a super creative guest book idea:
“Often times at weddings we find that people write the same thing over and over again in the guest book. We wanted our guest book to be fun and interactive, and the mad libs idea was the perfect fit for this! Almost all of our guests filled it out, some people even filled out two. The best part was that no two were the same. We were able to make the guest book entertaining for people to fill out, and our guests left us some hilarious advice at the end of the mad libs as well. We plan to make a book out of all the response and leave it on our coffee table to reminisce over for years to come!”
Love and laughter for years to come—I’ll cheers to that!
All professional photos by Sara Smile Photography
Did you know 40,000 children are born with heart defects every year in America? The Pediatric Congenital Heart Foundation (PCHA) works to raise awareness about the most common birth defect and provide support to parents and patients.
Although they already had a logo and style guide, they needed someone to build out their branding and create a variety of collateral. The first project we worked on was a way to explain all the facets of the work they were doing in an easy to understand, visual format for both print and digital.
After interviewing staff in person and via email, I came up with the idea of a “choose your own adventure” map that breaks down the three main facets of the organization into smaller objectives and then shows their accomplishments in each area, and how they interact to accomplish bigger goals. In addition to statistics, they also wanted to incorporate anecdotal evidence in the form of patient quotes and personal stories.
It was a lot to include and organize, but I think this visual web is a great solution! This piece was printed as a fold-out poster and then translated into an interactive PDF as well.