Thursday, April 29, 2010

Working with a very demanding client

No, this isn't a story about a client from hell.

It's a story about someone who knew what they wanted...and will soon be my wife.

At the end of 2008, I got engaged to a wonderful girl named Mary. As winter turned into spring, the euphoria of OMG! I'm getting married! shifted to OMG! We have a lot of planning to do!

In those initial discussion of what we needed to do, I said, "I can take care of the invitations" I figured I was qualified to do so, having done a little work in the field of illustration and graphic design.

Mary wanted me to start working on them right away. As soon as we had a date set I would start getting routinely questioned about when I was going to start working on the invitations. My response was always soon enough. The last thing I wanted to do was create something that was initially loved then fell out of favor over time. I know that I'm somewhat critical of my own work and start picking it apart when I go back and look at it months after the fact. I didn't want both of us to be picking apart the invitations when the time came to send them out. I also didn't want everyone to see them before they were sent out.
So, I engaged in what I'll call strategic procrastination.

Mary was also upfront about things she didn't want. She assured she didn't want to offend me but said that my work could be "cold" and "forceful" and "industrial-looking" and that she didn't want the invitations to have those qualities. She wanted something a little more romantic.

She also wanted the Brooklyn Bridge.

I proposed on the bridge and our reception venue is right in the shadow of the Roeblings' masterpiece, so the landmark had some significance in our relationship. I had no problem coming up with a Brooklyn Bridge image in the past, so I didn't object.

The other thing she wanted was yellow. Its her favorite color and she's having a yellow wedding. Yellow, can be a tricky color to work with, especially if you are planning on reversing type out of it. I'm sure those who remember the early days of the internet recall the awful white and yellow web pages.

With those things in mind, I put together a rough design that looked like this:

Mary was very pleased with this was heading, so we headed over to Lion In The Sun, a local stationary store specializing in invitations to discuss our printing options. It was here that Mary got to see firsthand how great letterpress invites could look. Thankfully, they weren't priced out of our budget. With the decision made to go with the letterpress, my all-yellow invite design wasn't going to cut it any more.

In the redesign process, I added a little more detail to the bridge to break up the large swath of solid color. We also made the decision to print in gold and blue. The gold was chosen because the yellow inks that were available probably wouldn't have reproduced all that well on the paper stock that we chose. We did, however, choose some yellow envelopes that looked very nice with the final printed piece. I also created a reply card that we would reverse letterpress in blue. (Blue is the secondary color in our palette.)

And here's the final product.

Needless to say the bride-to-be is very happy with the results.

And as luck would have it, so was the printer. I should have some news about the availability of this design after our wedding.

I should also mention if there is anyone out there looking for custom wedding invitations feel free to get in touch with me.


  1. Glad to have gotten one! My parents also liked the final product.

  2. Good to here it got there safely. Hopefully we'll be seeing you there.