From The Studio: Purple and Yellow New York Wedding Invitations

February 22, 2012 § 1 Comment

Happy Workshop Wednesday y’all!

I’ve got lots of eye candy coming up over the next few weeks, but I realized the other day that I hadn’t featured an invite on the blog yet that I just loved working on!

Kathy (also a graphic designer!) emailed me from Miami to let me know she was having a New York themed wedding and searching for the perfect invite for their celebration. She found my original blog post on Kristy & James’ New York invitations (pictured below) and the rest is history. We had such a fun time working out the details of their suite, taking their NYC transportation theme and all-purple colour scheme to the next level!

While generally speaking our custom work is “from scratch”, we do from time to time have couples that fall in love with a certain suite and want to use that as inspiration for their own. In this case we re-used some of the elements from Kristy & James’ invite, as well as the general layout of the main invitation, and combined that with Carlos and Kathy’s more specific theme.

Here’s a reminder of what Kristy & James’ New York themed invites looked like:

Kathy loved the look of the middle invite panel, and wanted a very similar look for her invite as well (and although they loved the tri-fold idea, they were looking for a slightly more traditional panel invitation). Kathy and Carlos’ colours were strictly shades of purple and grey, so the original design called for those colours only.

But, after looking at the finished suite, there was that little *something* missing. While I love the look of modern and monochromatic, it needed a little…BAM! Enter the perfect complement to a beautiful regal purple – a hit of bright sunny yellow. So, we took the colour of the NYC cab (which was used on the back of the RSVP, not pictured) and brought a little bit of that signature pop of yellow into every element in the suite, to bring it all together.

Speaking of bringing it all together, we also added a belly band and address label with a checkboard pattern to complete the look!

One of my favourite parts of the suite was the custom map/timeline I created to continue the subway theme – with subway-sign style markers for the ceremony and reception, and a subway-stop timeline to let guests know about the evening’s activities.

While it certainly wasn’t the most original invite I worked on last year, it was one of my favourites – I just loved the colours, the theme and most of all the couple!

Congratulations Kathy and Carlos!

From The Studio: Vintage Rustic Glam Winter Invitations featured on Style Me Pretty

February 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

All images in this post by Blynda DaCosta Photography

Hope everyone has recovered from Valentine’s Day – remember, now is the time to stock up on chocolate ladies 😉 I’m sure there were also lots of romantic proposals yesterday, so congratulations to everyone who became a soon-to-be-newlywed!

Today I’m thrilled to share some images from a creative shoot I participated in recently with some truly talented vendors: Alanna and Dawn, the event pros from Eph*ra Event Design; fab photog Blynda, from Blynda DaCosta Photography; florist Marissa, from Ruffles and Twine; Natalie, from Cupcake Diner; makeup artist Megha Sawhney and model Cheryl, as well as a number of other ladies who made the shoot a success.

We were so excited to have wedding super-blog Style Me Pretty feature our shoot last Friday, and so today I wanted to share some of the images of the paper goods I created for the shoot.

Sadly, I don’t have room to show you ALL of the amazing images (flowers, cakes, decor…oh my!), so I’d urge you to check out the full gallery on SMP for all the great details!

Now, for the paper…

The concept for the shoot (shot at the beautiful Berkeley Church event space in Toronto) was a mix of rustic, vintage and glam elements with a warm and cozy winter feel. Participating in this shoot was fun, as I’m sure we’ve all seen the icy winter look before (even at my own winter wedding!), but it was nice to create a warmer feel with winter whites and creams and rustic touches of beige and brown. I must admit though, I did sneak in just a little ice blue – didn’t seem quite right without it!

The invite I created for the shoot was an oversize 6″x9″ invite nestled in a cream silk box. The front of the box was decorated with twill tape (a nod to the rustic feel of the shoot), feathers (did you notice the birds here and there in the decor?) and a bit of bling with a fleur de lys brooch.

Inside the invite design was a multi-layered panel, mixing different neutral shades and textured papers to create a substantial invitation with a light airy feel. My original concept for the design and layout of the invite was inspired by the look of a vintage french apothecary jar label, so that was the basis of the formal yet whimsical graphics and type.

To add a bit of glam detailing, I used both Swarovski crystals and pearls to give the overall design a little sparkle and bit of vintage charm, but my favourite detail of all was the small mother of pearl button that adorned the ribbon holding the response card – the shimmery blue-grey was the perfect complement to the ice blue highlights of the invitation itself.

I also created a petal fan program which reproduced the look of the invite throughout. Petal fan programs are a perfect fit for vintage weddings, with their timeless romantic feel.

I also created table numbers, escort cards, favour tags and a sweet table sign, which were all featured as part of the decor. Here’s a couple of quick shots:

I am always honoured to be asked to work on creative shoots, and so excited to see our work featured. A big thank you to all the ladies who worked on this gorgeous shoot!

Update: Hitched by Hip Ink, Our New Website and more!

February 1, 2012 § Leave a comment


Have I mentioned how much I love this time of year!?! Tons of new clients coming and chatting with me about their upcoming weddings, tons of amazing ideas and inspiration, and tons of nights up late designing. It’s great to see everything come together a few months down the road, but I love this part of the process too – having to run downstairs in the middle of the night with a design idea, well…maybe not so much!

But, I digress…

Workshop Wednesdays are usually about what’s going on at Hip Ink; but, I’m a bit bummed to say that this week it’s more about what *isn’t* going on.

First up, Hitched by Hip Ink, our new wedding invitation collection. I was hoping to have launched at the end of January, but we’ve hit a few snags that are delaying things – most of the line is designed, but I still feel like I need to “edit” a bit more, and I felt the need to step away from it a bit and come back with fresh eyes. The other matter complicating things is…

I’ve had to unfortunately part ways with the web designer we hired to create the new Hip Ink website. I’m sure we’ve all been there – it just wasn’t working, the timeline was pushed back etc. and I had to make a decision that was really disappointing, but for the best I’m sure. I’m in the process of hiring a new design team and am really excited about launching a new site, although at this point it will likely be summer before that happens.

The lack of a new website means it’s very difficult to show off the new collection, based on limitations of our current site. So, that was also part of the reason I felt I could take some time to “make it right” before we launch – while our local customers can see all the designs in person, I’m going to have to come up with a stop-gap until our website is completed (which will likely be our new Etsy store!).

So, in the spirit of keeping it real on The Invitation Blog, I thought it only fair that since I was so excited to write a post about all the stuff that was happening and launching soon, that I don’t leave that news hanging with no pay-off.

“Stuff” happens to the best laid plans sometimes – I hope the end result with be worth sticking it out 😉

From The Studio: New Hip Ink Couture Business Cards and More!

January 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

[Yes, it’s true – Workshop Wednesday is more of a Workshop Thursday today!]

I promised a while back I would show some of the new Hip Ink Couture branding collateral (a fancy marketing/advertising word for “stuff”) and a bit more about the process, and last week I promised to show our new business cards as well as the promo packages and stationery giveaways from the WedLuxe wedding show.

So without further ado, let’s get into the good stuff 😉

First, because I can’t contain my excitement, our brand new business cards (which I already have to reorder, so I guess that means they were popular!) – designed by yours truly and printed by the extremely talented Alexandra from Dolce Press in Batavia, New York.

I wanted something that was luxurious, made a statement but was still modern and hip, and Alexandra delivered exactly what I asked for – a 3″x3″ square duplexed (two sheets adhered together) card, with the logo foil stamped on a charcoal grey stock for the front, and the back letterpress printed in charcoal grey with a beautiful blind pressed pattern.

As a custom designer, I feel like my business card is my resume, my mini-portfolio, so it’s important that they reflect who I am and what I do. I am seriously over-the-moon in LOOOOOVE with these cards. They are exactly what I pictured and have lots of potential clients talking!

Just because, we need a close-up of that blind pattern, right? Great shot of the metallic look of the foil too!

Let’s rewind a little though…

It’s been a challenge trying to rework the current Hip Ink brand into two different flavours – Hip Ink Paper Co., our umbrella brand, which consists of our still-upcoming invitations lines and hopefully more stationery items down the road, and Hip Ink Couture, our luxury custom-designed invitations. I wanted Hip Ink Couture to still reflect the modern, hip sensibility of the original Hip Ink brand, but it needed to be more than that – more upscale, more elegant, more sophisticated.

Aside: Strange as it may sound, I see Hip Ink Paper Co, and Hip Ink Couture as twin sisters – Paper Co. is a nerdy cool designer chick with a whole lot of personality and a little bit of sass and Couture is the fashionable and trendy design diva with a flair for the dramatic. If they were shoes, Paper Co. would be a pair of Steve Madden’s and Couture would be a pair of Laboutins.

It started with the logo:  I wanted to incorporate part of the original Hip Ink logo, but add something that gave it an air of elegance and luxury, something that specifically was the opposite of the Hip Ink wordmark, to reflect what I do for my clients all the time – bring together sometimes opposite elements and inspirations and make it work.

Hand calligraphy was the first thing that came to mind, and I quickly sketched out what I was looking for (by the way, if anyone is wondering, this is part of what I did on my “corporate retreat”) and I was set. It literally came together in 5 minutes (with 5 months of thought behind it!), and I knew that I wanted the talented Moya Minns to create the custom calligraphy that would be entwined with our original wordmark to make up the new logo. And Moya worked her magic to create exactly what I had pictured in my head!

But…brand building is so much more than a logo. It’s about feelings, colours, images, a voice – so much more. To nail down the visuals, I needed to create a “brand board” of sorts, that would be my guide to creating new visuals for Hip Ink Couture. Here’s a peek at part of the board I put together:

How does the brand board come into play when it comes to designing new collateral? Think of it as the roadmap – you might know where you want to go, but the brand board (and other branding exercises) help you get there.

For example, I wanted to create a hand-out package for the WedLuxe wedding show we participated in, to give to interested couples and vendors, that included a business card and some additional info. With 11 stationers participating in the show, it needed to stand out.

To figure out where to start, I went to my brand and target customer descriptions:  The target Hip Ink Couture customer is looking for one-of-a-kind custom invitations that tell their story through great design, inventive materials and packaging and luxurious quality. As a brand, Couture is cool, clean and sleek – elegant and luxurious, but never over-the-top.

My answer was right there – I need to show and tell what we do, to tell our story in an innovative and luxurious way, and the vehicle was a hybrid between a promo package and an invitation design that would be typical Hip Ink.

It started with 5.5″x7.5″ boxes covered in grey velour (really cool tactile quality) which were foil stamped with our new logo.

Nestled inside, wrapped in silver tissue was a sample invitation of sorts (letterpress printed in a peacock blue ink and blink impression for our logo and details, on a super-thick 100% cotton Crane Lettra stock), that summed up exactly what we do.

Underneath, a scalloped pocket card containing a personal note from me (signed individually), as well as an insert with information about The Invitation Blog and a business card.

The packages were a big hit with the brides and grooms (as well as planners and other vendors) at the show, and I’ve already had a few clients tell me that they decided to contact us just based on these packages – while it was definitely a big investment, I’m hoping that it made a big impression!

And last, but certainly not least, were the adorable note card sets that we put together for the gifting lounge at the WedLuxe Show. In last week’s post on the show you can see the packages themselves in the photo (3 notecards with 3 matching platinum envelopes, wrapped with peacock blue velvet ribbon), but I wanted to show you some closeups I took.

The beautiful and whimsical calligraphy is by the fabulous Laura Lavender on Vancouver Island.

So…more to come over the next few months as we continue to transition Hip Ink Paper Co. and Hip Ink Couture – hope you’ll stop in and check it out!



Workshop Wednesday: WedLuxe Wedding Show Wrap-Up

January 18, 2012 § 3 Comments

I love me some alliteration, don’t you!?!

Before I get into today’s post, I just wanted to acknowledge that over the weekend The Invitation Blog hit what I think is a big milestone for a little niche blog – 50,000 views! Thanks to all of you who continue to read, support, and put-up with my crazy antics! 😉

So, yes, normally we’re showcasing one of our invites on Wednesday, but today I thought I’d post a little wrap up of the WedLuxe Wedding Show that we participated in last Sunday (January 8th, 2012).

If you’re not familiar with WedLuxe magazine, it’s Canada’s premier luxury wedding magazine, showcasing THE most amazing eye-candy from real weddings to amazing editorial shoots, and featuring some of Canada’s most creative and talented vendors. I was thrilled to be asked to join WedLuxe’s Glitterati and to participate in this year’s inaugural WedLuxe Wedding Show at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto.

Of course, being me, in my haste to get everything together for the show, I forgot one important bit – my camera. So, alas, no full pictures of my booth (which is a bummer, I won’t lie), but I can tell you it was modern and streamlined, white, black and chrome with a little bling behind our invites, and a gorgeous floral arrangement from Shannon at Curly Girl Flowers.

Luckily, Shannon’s fab photog snapped a photo of the arrangement and you can see some of our booth in the background (and upfront our brand new Hip Ink Couture business cards, which you’ll find out more about next Wednesday!):

image via Curly Girl Flowers Blog

The Wedluxe show really was a show like none other I’ve ever experienced – especially the amazing lounges put together for the show attendees. There was the “Love in Spades” Tea Room directly across from our booth, the Sterling Groom’s Lounge (the Man Cave as I called it) and the Beauty Boutique where brides-to-be could receive free manicures, make-up applications, free beauty products and free stationery! The the vendor set-ups were absolutely amazing. The cakes, the flowers, the invitations (we were one of 11 stationery companies exhibiting – that’s a lot of invites!), the accessories and headpieces, and the stunning tablescapes – it was a feast for the senses. And over 2000 people experienced it all in just 8 hours!

The show-stopper was literally the first thing you saw – the amazing flower entrance arch, made up of 1500 hanging ribbons with roses on the end (and yes, while we were setting up our booth, they were hanging those roses one-by-one by hand). So breathtaking in person, and I got to walk under about 20 times (lucky me!):

Photo by Verve Photo Co. via Wedluxe

We were able to participate in the show not just with our booth, but also through a collaboration with event planner Malvina Chevolleau from Fabulous Occasions as well as our stationery giveaway in the WedLuxe Beauty Boutique!

It was a pleasure to collaborate with Malvina on her WedLuxe tablescape, which was a gorgeous modern design with a cool grey, white and yellow colour scheme. We provided an invitation for display as well as screenprinted acrylic menus, oversize place cards (the ladies’ were embellished with handmade paper peonies), a table number printed on vellum which was wrapped around one of the centerpiece vases, and adorable clear packages with sequin “confetti”. I’ll even let you on a secret – the colour scheme and the printed items were actually based around Malvina’s new Fabulous Occasions logo and branding, and the tablescape created lots of buzz – especially our see-through menus, printed in white on clear acrylic, with a pop of bright yellow.

Here’s a photo from the show of the tablescape:

Photo by Verve Photo Co. via Wedluxe

And a closeup showing a bit more of our stationery designed especially for the show:

Photo by Tyler James Photography via Toronto Wedding Society

When we were asked to provide a stationery giveaway for the Wedluxe Beauty Boutique about 1000 ideas ran through my head, but I settled on something I knew every couple needs lots of  – versatile cards that can be used for thank yous, personal notes, etc. I asked talented calligrapher Laura Lavender to create some beautiful lettering (which said “From The Bride and Groom”) which we had letterpress printed in grey on a heavy cotton cardstock. We packaged them up with silver envelopes and tied them with an amazing peacock blue velvet ribbon and one of our brand new business cards. Hopefully the brides who were able to score a set put them to good use!

Here’s a photo where you can see our cards amongst the swag (top left):

Photo via

We had a great time at the show, showing off our custom designs including silk box and silk folio invites and some of our most popular custom designs. We had amazing feedback from both brides and other vendors (and we had great neighbours – Alex from Life Images Photography and Konstadin from Cakes by Konstadin, and at the end of the day I was totally exhausted but so happy!

After the show, it was so fun to catch up with all the blogs that featured our work (both from our own booth and our collaboration with Fabulous Occasions).

Here’s a list of some of the blogs that featured us in their WedLuxe coverage (thanks all!):

The Wedding Blog by Devoted to You Wedding Planners

Wedding Obsession

Belle Amour

Holly Matrimony Weddings


Gush Weddings and Events

Katia Trudeau

For some amazing photos from the event, check out the WedLuxe blog, which featured eight posts of amazing photos!

And last but not least, so you can’t say I never post any photos of myself, here’s one taken by the amazing Corina of Corina V. Photography when she visited the show:

See ya next year WedLuxe Wedding Show – we’ll definitely be back!

PS – Be sure to check back next week on Wednesday when I’ll have a recap of our show promo pieces – our new business cards, our stationery giveaway and our promo packages. Guaranteed eye candy!

Day 2, 2011: Top 10 Invitations Of The Year – South Pacific Boarding Pass

December 2, 2011 § 1 Comment

Hey all,

So, now that you know a little more about me, it’s time to show you some of my work.

I mentioned in our “31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December, The Redux” intro post that I would be using the weekends to post my top 10 favourite Hip Ink invites from the past year. To make room for my yearly wrap up on New Year’s Eve, I’m cheating a little and starting today.

But, the good news is that to start things off with a bang, I’m posting three never-been-seen-before invites over the next three days.

The caveat is that all three invitations have the possibility of being featured in wedding blogs/mags soon, so I can’t give away too much – all you get is one shot of delicious eye candy per day on these. I promise full features as soon as I can!

Today I’m featuring a set that’s close to my heart – a boarding pass invitation suite for a wedding in Tahiti/Bora Bora (my absolute favourite place on earth!).

Photo by Corina V. Photography

It’s a cool mix of modern and vintage, drawing inspiration from old-school travel posters and the golden age of air travel, and it features personalized boarding passes, a ticket holder, luggage tags, postcard and a matching save the date (not shown) inspired by shipping crate stamps.

Stop by tomorrow for more sneak peeks!

From The Studio: Tailored Navy, White and Silver Bar Mitzvah Invitation

November 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

The Invitation Advisor returns tomorrow, a special day for an important post – worth a read for all those who are considering custom invitations!

But today, as promised last week, another Bar Mitzvah invitation up for Workshop Wednesday!

This invitation was based on a design from last year for a New-York themed Bat Mitzvah we did (pardon the poor photos!). Jared, and his parents Jill and Lorne, all loved the modern style of the invite, but were looking for something that was masculine and tailored in appearance.

The colour scheme was a no-brainer – classic and clean navy, marine blue, white and silver, set off by the perfect patterned Japanese chiyogami paper with metallic ink. From the moment we first discussed the look, I had this particular paper in mind, so I was thrilled that everyone loved it as much as I did. I haven’t had a chance to use chiyogami as much lately as I once did, so it was a treat!

I created a similar classic monogram for Jared, and we used embossing on both the outer tag (for the monogram) as well as on the inner main invitation (for Jared’s Hebrew name). To house the inserts, the number of which varied for different guests, I added a pocket to the inside of the navy 4″x9″ folded card.

Sneak Peek Alert!: As part of December’s upcoming “31 Days of Blogging, The Redux”, we’ll be featuring posts on specialty printing methods, including embossing. Blind embossing (as seen here) is a great way to add depth and texture to a modern or classic invitation, without adding additional colour.

This week in the studio it’s an explosion of texture, colour and bling as we’ve got a Bat Mitzvah order in production with a wintery and soft white, pink and silver palette, featuring a mix of textured metallic and suede papers with an added acrylic layer, all highlighted by a little foil printing and some gorgeous crystals.

Oh, and don’t forget the snowflakes! Now, anyone want to come adhere 1200 crystals by hand?


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