From The Studio: Cool, Neutral and Modern Bar Mitzvah Invitations

October 26, 2011 § 1 Comment

So, Hip Ink does lots of weddings, and we tend to feature wedding invitations on the blog frequently, but we also do lots of other fun stuff too…

Every year, we have the privledge of working with a number of families on Bat and Bar Mitzvah invitations, and it is really a fun change from our wedding clients (not that our wedding clients aren’t fun too!).

So, I thought it was about time we featured some of our “other” work on the blog.

Today it’s Jacob’s Bar Mitzvah, which we worked on with the talented ladies at Anna McCusker & Co. in Hamilton, Ontario. We created invites for both the service and luncheon, as well as the party for Jacob’s friends.

The vision was sleek, neutral and modern, but with a nod towards Jacob’s youth – a tiny bit of a whimsical touch.

For the service/luncheon invitation, we used a palette of white and soft charcoal grey, and a geometric pattern of circles. While the original concept called for a highly modern typeface throughout, we ultimately decided to change things up a bit and include a quirky unicase font as well, and I love that it’s just a tiny bit unexpected.

We combined two printing methods – blind deboss for the circle pattern and foil stamping in silver for the text. While we initially considered letterpress, the silver foil won out as the best choice to communicate the sleek modern theme, and I was stoked with the way it turned out. I have to say that I am a sucker for the texture that these printing methods provide, especially in a simplistic design.

For the evening party, the vibe was “exclusive South Beach hot spot” and the logical choice was a VIP pass-style invitation on a lanyard. It was a fun and funky way to invite all of Jacob’s friends, and the staff at the party even wore them! I have to say that this was one of my favourite Bar Mitzvah party invites – I just loved the way they turned out!

More silver foil here, but this time on black with a digitally printed background graphic. I also got to have some fun with a clean and modern layout with a twist – literally, as the text was skewed slightly to give it a bit more of an “edgy” club feel.

Stay tuned next week for another Bar Mitzvah invite with a tailored traditional feel.

‘Till then, keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars (yeah I know, sounds way better when Casey Kasem says it!).

Invitation Advisor: The Truth About White/Metallic Printing On Wedding Invitations

October 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

Naughty, naughty Invitation Advisor… yes, I’ve been taking a break from blogging the last little while. Feeling a big of the blog burnout coming on – we’ve covered so many topics on The Invitation Blog already that it does get difficult to come up with a fresh topic or perspective sometimes.

I was also feeling a bit overwhelmed after I made the decision that…*drumroll please*…yes, 31 Days of Blogging Hath December will be returning this year.

You heard correctly – 31 days of new posts for the month of December, no repeats.

Am I crazy? Probably. Is it because I love you? Most definitely.

But today, a new post on something that confuses the heck outta my brides and grooms – printing white/light/metallic on a dark background (or just in general).

Want the abridged version of this post? Here’s the low-down – white/metallic printing will always be more expensive than standard printing, due to the fact that specialty printing processes are required.

No, your inkjet or laser printer at home will not print white, no matter how hard you try.


Without getting too technical, any process that doesn’t use opaque inks (inkjet printers use translucent inks and laser printers use toner, which is a powdered ink basically) cannot print white, as they use a mix of colours (usually Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black, but some photo inkjet printers have up to 10 separate ink colours) to create the image. Since white is technically the absence of colour, the only way to get white is to print on white paper and leave “holes” essentially, where the white paper just shows through.

“A-ha” you’re thinking, “great, I can just print a dark background and make my text/image white by leaving that part blank and printing everything else”. In theory yes, in practice…ehhhh, not so much. You will see it done with some lower cost invites, but to be honest I’m not a fan. My eye can always see the banding or micro-patterns in something that has a full printed background. Would your guests notice? Maybe not, but it’s not something I recommend unless you absolutely MUST have white on dark and are not willing to pay more to do so.

So how else CAN you print in white? Any process that uses an opaque ink or medium – the best results would be from screen printing or foil stamping (and these are my preferred methods and the ones I recommend). Letterpress can sometimes be a possibility, but it isn’t recommended, as letterpress ink is still translucent (although to a lesser degree than standard printer ink) and will produce a sheer white.

Update: Also see Michelle from Artcraft‘s comment below regarding engraving – duh, can’t believe I forgot that one, but absolutely true – engraving is also a great choice!

Technically speaking, there is a high-end digital press that can print white ink (HP Indigo) but until those printers are in wide use, you will not see low-cost invites with true white printing.

In the above, “metallic” (ie. silver or gold etc.) can basically be substituted for “white”, although depending on exactly how “shiny” you need your metallic to be, there are some digital options out there, as well as metallic letterpress inks.

Best advice – ask your stationer! They will be able to tell you whether white or metallic printing will be an option for your project, and at what cost.

From The Studio: Masculine Frank Lloyd Wright Inspired Wedding Invitations

October 12, 2011 § 5 Comments

Wow…it’s Wednesday already! Time flies when you are designing, printing, emailing, cutting, blinging….well, you get the idea.

You may have read yesterday’s (very serious) post about our commitment to same-sex/LGBT couples, and providing a safe and accepting environment for ALL of our clients.

That said, I hate the idea that we need to have specific LGBT invitations…I mean, not all same-sex couples out there are looking for invites with two brides or two grooms and a giant rainbow flag on them, right? Just like all of our clients, it’s really about something personal that reflects the couple and their journey.

Which brings me to today’s invitation that I designed for our friends Iain and Philip. My husband actually met Iain in a Smart car forum (no really, would I lie to you), and although Iain’s beloved Smart car (Nosedive) has moved on to greener pastures, our Hipster is still going!

When Iain asked me to create invitations for his wedding to Phil, I was over the moon. I truly love being able to create something special for those close to me, and knowing Iain and Phil’s diverse personalities and interests I knew it would be a challenge!

So, Iain and Phil knew they wanted something that was masculine, incorporating the wedding colours of grey and red, and something modern but stylish. We threw around a few ideas, and as their wedding reception was at The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery we discussed the idea of somehow incorporating glass into the design (not quite as easy as it sounds).

A few days later I got an email from Phil saying that he and Iain both loved architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and that perhaps I could work that in somehow. Frank Lloyd Wright is well-known for his geometric stained glass, so I knew we had a winner!

While the colours may not be traditional FLW, the design was inspired by a number of his stained glass window patterns. We used a charcoal grey pocketfold to contain the invite and the guest information card as well as the RSVP postcard. I loved the deep red envelopes as well – such a great contrast. What I don’t have unfortunately is a picture of the stamps, which were oversize “roadside attraction” stamps, showing sites like the “Big Apple” and “Giant Lobster”. Hilarious, especially since Phil and Iain are avid road-trippers.

My absolute favourite part of the invite though is the belly band that hold the pocketfold together. I asked Iain and Phil to send me the wording they wanted to use for their invite, and it started with this:

“They have been international jet setters and backyard trailblazers, amusement park assessors and zoological scholars, culinary explorers and subway sprinters, but most of all they have been the best of friends.”

For me, that so beautifully summed up everything this invitation (and their big day was all about!).

The icing on the cake for me was actually getting to share Iain and Phil’s big day with them. What an honour and a pleasure it was to be among their friends and family as they said their vows – they truly are a perfect fit.

So congratulations Iain and Philip on your big day and a lifetime of happiness together 🙂

Photos by Calum Tsang

Taking A Stand: Hip Ink Is Proud To Work With Same-Sex Couples

October 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today, Hip Ink is coming out…

We’re proud to serve LGBT couples, and we want everyone to know it!

That said, absolutely nothing has changed here – we’ve always been open and supportive when it comes to same-sex clients, and we’re going to continue to do so. But, I wanted to make sure that I made it clear how important the issue of marriage equality is to me, how much I value the business of our LGBT couples, and why. Is it possible that we may lose the business of other couples by being “out and proud” about our views? Maybe. But that will never stop me from speaking my mind on this blog about what’s right in my world.

For me, it seems strange to single-out same-sex couples, because I’ve never felt there was a difference. I was the girl whose best friend in kindergarten was a transexual, who’s BFF (or soul-sibling, as we refer to each other) is an out and proud gay man, whom friends refer to as a “fruit fly”. It’s never been an issue for me – love is love. I’m proud to live in a country that has recognized same-sex marriage nationwide since 2005, and in an area that boasts a large and thriving LGBT community.

But I realized that artist, as a wedding professional, I’ve never made it clear that Hip Ink is a safe and supportive environment for same-sex couples, that we support marriage equality everywhere, that we are willing and eager to work with LGBT couples to create personal and unique invitations for their big day.

I also realized that I haven’t taken the time to ensure that my studio, website and blog are inclusive to all types of couples, to learn about gay wedding traditions, to reflect on the unique issues that face same sex couples when it comes to their weddings – walking the walk, not just talking the talk.

So, I went to the best – Bernadette Coveney Smith from 14 Stories and The Gay Wedding Institute. The Gay Wedding institute offers a certification course for wedding professionals that helps to ensure a good grasp on same sex weddings (both the similarities and differences to “traditional” weddings), including discussions of some of the challenges that LGBT couples face when planning their big day.

As part of that certification, I spent time going through our website and blog, to change any wording that was non-inclusive. I have always tried to keep in mind using wording that wasn’t “hetero-centric”, but I’m sure I’ve slipped here and there. From now on, you’ll now only see me referring to “couples” or “brides and grooms”, because it is important to me that a resource I’m putting out there to help those getting married isn’t alienating anyone before they get to the good stuff!

I am also thrilled to announce that Hip Ink will be participating in Toronto’s first Gay Wedding Show, at the Delta Chelsea Hotel, October 16, 2011 – that’s this Sunday! You can purchase tickets here: (tickets also available at the door) and find more information at Don’t miss fabulous fashion shows by Gio Stillitano, entertainment by Zero Gravity Circus, 16 pc band The BluesUal Suspects, Bellydancer Layla Hassam, Brazilian Bongo Drummers Bongo & B, Brass Vixens- male and female pole dancers and stick around after the show for the ProudFM AfterParty, with hors d’oeuvres by Daniel ey Daniel and decor by FOS Decor.

Aaaaand…tomorrow’s Workshop Wednesday will be featuring invitations for our of our fave couples, Iain and Philip, who just celebrated their 1-month anniversary. Can’t wait to show off their Frank Lloyd Wright inspired invites!

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