What to ask your Wedding Stationery Designer
Stationery seems pretty straightforward, right? But between save-the-dates and escort cards, paper choices and printing styles, it can get complicated. We've tried to help you along the way a little by joining up with our fave stationery designer, Rubana from Crimson Letters, to see what we should all be asking...
How long have you been in business? And what is your background?
I am British - Pakistani, born and raised in Stourbridge, up in the West Midlands and married to a French-Portuguese husband. I am so blessed to have found him! He whizzes me away to his family homes in Paris & Portugal every summer. All those European visits have played an integral part in inspiring my work as I am heavily influenced by all the historical places and palaces that we often visit together.
I have a design background, with a Textile Design Degree from the Nottingham Trent University.I specialised in embroidery design and then went on as a freelance to sell my embroidery designs through to companies in Japan, New York, Los Angeles, Paris all through my agent in London. My inspiration fizzled out though and I met my husband soon after.My creativity took the back burner and I became a wife and mother, I have two sons which are 14 & 16 now.At that time my dream was to be a wife and mother and I had the luxury of spending every minute with my sons which was a huge blessing.
I later spent 7 years teaching in Primary school. Let's say that I thrived during art class. Teaching art class wasn't work for me, it was pure unadulterated joy. Needless to say that my classroom had the best class displays and I had parents asking that their children be transferred to my class! Unfortunately my health really suffered as a teacher and I often felt sick and burnt out.
Three years ago I decided to put it all behind me. We had started to build our dream home in Portugal, on a very large piece of land from my husband's great grandparents. I knew that I couldn't really teach in Portugal, as I don't speak enough Portuguese.
I looked into becoming a wedding planner but eventually fell in love with the world of illustrated fine art stationery. Especially fine art weddings.
What types of printing processes do you offer and which do you specialize in / Is your printing done in-house or do you outsource it?
I like to develop all of my artwork personally and almost always produce and print the stationery myself in-house. By digitally flat printing the base design, I then hand paint directly upon the surface. This is how I go about creating all of my invitations suites for small orders from 30- 50 suites. I enjoy developing a range of high quality illustrations and when I feel that I have the right look, I use the artwork to produce a coherent design, print, and then apply calligraphy and hand painted touches. This applies to the bee design above.
Having said that I like to use a hybrid of printing techniques and for big orders. Recently when I had to design something like 7-8 different pieces for a 200 guest wedding. With orders like those, I prefer to outsource the printing of the main cards to a specialised professional printer whilst creating all of the hand painted elements in house such as the envelope liner and hand painted wraps.
Happily, I can accommodate any printing technique that my client needs. Gold foiling, letterpress, engraving, it is all possible as long as the client has plenty of time to plan in advance.
Do you offer custom invitations as well as templated styles?
I do offer custom invitations. Custom designs are pretty intensive and require a lot of back and forth communication, hence the higher price.
Alternatively, a client can choose a design direction from my portfolio and this is my preferred way of working. When a client chooses a design from my portfolio, we can hit the ground running.
Do you offer a package or a discounted price if I order all of the invitation components at the same time?
Yes if a bride orders the invitations and the wedding day items (menus / table numbers) I am happy to offer a 10% discount.
Are there any new styles, trends and color combinations I might consider? Which are the most popular?
Although I love keeping up with the latest trends of hand-made paper and sometimes look at what’s going on in the calligraphy world, etc.. having said this, I don't pay any attention to trends.
I don't like to look too much at what other stationers and invitation designers are doing or keep up with new trendy colours. I really don't want others to influence my work and try to keep my own design identity strong and focused around my own vision. Hopefully this can offer my clients something quite unique and not overdone.
I honestly design with my heart leading the way and want to produce something that is rare, precious and often dramatic.
My signature style has evolved to often use black and gold and lots of old world calligraphy and my detailed designs and watercolours seem to be the most popular over on instagram.
Can my invitations be printed on recycled paper and/or with soy-based ink?
At the moment, I source all of my paper from GFSmith in London. I don't currently use recycled paper or soy - based ink as my clients rarely ask for this option. I have to select my papers / inks / materials very carefully because some papers are not compatible with calligraphy and the ink just bleeds right through.
Do you offer an invitation addressing service?
Yes I absolutely do offer an invitation calligraphy addressing service.