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!
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!
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