My First Wedding Client!
Recently, I had the honour of creating a bespoke wedding identity and stationery for a client, and former colleague, Sarah. I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed the process and we are both very pleased with the final results – so much so that I have decided to offer this as a service in my freelance work. If you are interested, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will provide a quote as soon as possible. Have a read below to find out more about Sarah’s project, the personalised process and what I can offer you…
Sarah first approached me about the commission a few months ago and after a good discussion, she devised a rough brief outlining the venue, flowers, colours, etc. and what she needed. At this stage she stated that she’d need two invitations (for wedding guests and evening guests), RSVP cards and some kind of external insert that would detail more information about the event, such as directions and local accommodation. How I produced this, however, was open to my creative interpretation.
One of the key assets Sarah also required was a logo to give the wedding a general identity and keep it coherent across all media. She liked the idea of playing with two ‘S’s as her, and her fiancé Stephen’s, first initial – but again, left it relatively open. So, I began scribbling ideas on scraps of paper which eventually turned into slightly more legible versions in my sketchbook…
After much twizzling and twirling of S tendrils, I began developing the concept of two swans, subtly disguised by the simple curve of an S. Not only did this portray the shape of a heart in the negative space, but it carried a rather suitable visual metaphor in that swans are one of the only animals that choose a partner for life.
After several takes on the idea, I hand-rendered a more sleek and sophisticated looking swan to use in the final logo. This was then scanned and taken into Illustrator where I traced the image. Now, I’m always a little skeptical of Illustrator’s image trace feature, as although it is extremely useful and pretty accurate for turning your drawings into vector graphics (thus, able to scale infinitely, which is especially vital for logos) you can often lose the essence of a hand-drawn illustration. I felt it important to keep that handmade edge to it, to match the general feel and rustic setting of the wedding. There are several ways to combat this and many tutorials online, but one I found particularly helpful was this one.
Essentially, after tracing the image I was able to neaten up the edges and smooth out the curves, to match my original lines that had not traced accurately, by going over them with the pen tool using my Wacom tablet.
The wedding and reception, soon approaching in August of this year, will be held on farms in the rural Derbyshire countryside. Hence her choice of natural flowers, such as thistle, heather and lavender, reminiscent of hillside rambles, and colour palette of muted purples, soft blues, greens, cream and a hint of orange. Sarah was keen to reflect this country style in the design, whilst also keeping it sophisticated and classy.
I set to work in my Moleskine, familiarising myself with these wild flowers and herbs, using the real flowers as a reference point, until I was confident to paint a full wreath design. Watercolour felt like the most appropriate medium to use as it adds a soft, elegant quality whilst enabling me to reflect an assortment of colours. I tried to keep the design quite loose with the occasional splatter, building on the handmade appeal, but with just enough detail to depict thistles, lavender and heather.
As well as this, I sketched and painted a map of the venues to use on the reverse of the invitation. The reception venue is a barn home to sheep, chickens, cats and alpacas which is why these furry creatures have made an appearance in the map!
With the logo and handmade elements complete, and Sarah’s copy ready, it was time to take it into InDesign to scope out the layout. I’d had a few ideas about formats, but after running with the symmetrical swan logo, I decided a gate-fold invitation would be perfect (folding out from the centre). I was also in charge of printing the set and sourcing quotes within Sarah’s budget; luckily this format could be produced relatively cheaply.
This format also allowed for two columns of information to be presented alongside the main information in the centre. I used this to my advantage, creating a unique timeline with hand-drawn icons and colourful paint splats to offer guests an idea of timings throughout the day and add a bit of personality.
Unfortunately, after several revisions and print proofs, due to the nature of paper moving slightly during press, the swan logo design on the front was not aligning correctly where the paper splits. As a perfectionist I wasn’t going to stop until it looked completely perfect… which lead to the creation of belly bands. The section of the design including the logo was reprinted onto strips of paper that wrap around the middle of the invitation. And in hindsight, I think the invitations actually look better for having them; not only holding the set together, but looking more professional overall.
Thankfully, the print company we used (printed.com) offer fantastic customer service and will reprint for free until you are happy. The overall printing of all assets was also very reasonably priced, considering the quantity ordered and use of luxury 250gsm ‘tintoretto gesso’ paper. We even managed to get matching envelopes for 10p each!
The design for the evening guests’ invitation was tweaked slightly to show a shorter timeline and different copy. I then applied the design onto A6 RSVP cards, intentionally making them look like real postcards. Space was left on the front for guests to write a marriage ‘tip’ or a memory of the couple, an idea I’d discussed with Sarah very early on, to make more use out of the cards – creating a lovely keepsake rather than just throwing them away. Sarah plans to hang them up around the barn on the day.
Little details were added to get across the feel of a proper postcard – including space to affix a stamp and send it like a postcard, without having to scout out an envelope!
The hard work and attention to detail seems to have paid off, having received countless compliments from friends and colleagues who’ve previewed the design and with one happy client. Now just to wait and see what the guests think of them!
Hopefully, I’ll be working on more for Sarah’s wedding soon including signage and maybe even a cheeky snapchat filter.
I’m excited to continue this sort of work and would love to try out some different possibilities that printed.com now offer, such as perforated designs and metallic foiling. Within reason, I can make pretty much anything possible, from vector graphics to hand-drawn designs, luxury textured leaflets to magnetic invitations! Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like me to work on your special day – email@example.com.