Thursday, 28 May 2009


I've only gone and bought another press! I'm still waiting for the first one to arrive but in the meantime I've been looking for some accessories to get me started. Ebay has been my new addiction for the past few days and also a wonderful site called that sell refurbished presses, parts and inks. They couldn't have been more helpful and I'll definitely be using them.

Last night though, I bid for a second press because it came with a whole host of parts such as a cabinet of various fonts and other equipment and managed to win it for much cheaper than buying things individually. My next problem is finding somewhere to set it all up as I'm outgrowing my normal studio space already. The garage is starting to look tempting!

Monday, 25 May 2009


Yesterday I became the proud owner of a letterpress printing press! (well, it's been ordered - hopefully will arrive in a week or so.)

Now, I firstly need to admit that I know next to nothing about the process in practical terms but as a self confessed Stationery Geek I love the idea of at least giving it a go. So, I hope to share photos of my trials and tribulations with my new "toy" er, sorry, I mean "equipment" with you over the next few months.

As a bit of background . . . when I studied in the late 80s, our year's intake were among the first to use Apple Macs for graphics and typography for degree work so I was an "inbetweener" of two generations of design practitioners. Remember, this was just before the revolution in home computing so I hadn't grown up with one in the house or even really touched one even at school as computer studies back then consisted of drawing flow diagrams with "Goto" labels etc. But I also learnt old school type mark-up, manual artworking with a bromide and scalpel and preparing pristine mock ups for clients tracing from type sheets with a 0.25 Rotring pen. I believe all these disciplines have actually given me really sound handskills for the work I do now.

These days I need to be surgically removed from my laptop and suffer withdrawal symptoms when the internet connection occasionally goes down as it did earlier this weekend. Such is technological evolution! Which brings me back to Letterpress . . . 

So, after 20 years of working on Macs and PCs I've decided to explore the wonderfully archaic and tactile qualities of a little vintage printing press. It was a "bargain" but of course I'm now committed to buying all the stuff I need to get started. It may all end it tears but like every hopeful of X-Factor - I'm now on a journey. 

Saturday, 9 May 2009


Once the clients received the sample pack of the 3 concepts they decided to use both the portfolio for the evening invitation and the booklet for the day guests. From there we tweaked the designs to suit the actual text and produced another set of proofs. We also changed the fonts slightly to unify them for both invitation packs. Once approved the final packs were made and sent. The next brief is at the initial design stages - a wedding programme. This will be a booklet for all day guests incorporating a timetable of the day, the order of service, table plan and menu, along with "thank yous" and dedications. 

Feedback has been very positive. Here are some of the comments my lovely client kindly emailed to me:

"Hi Suzanne
Invitations have been posted and just wanted to let you know that everyone has commented on how beautiful they are. Here are just a few messages received...
  • 'WOW What sumptuous invitations. A sign of things to come for the big day!'
  • Wow I love them, just gorgeous!
  • What stunning invitations. The quotes are wonderful, so pretty.
  • Thank you so much for your beautiful invitation. Love the theme!  "
At this point I would like to say a very big thank you to the couple involved for giving me the opportunity to work on such an inventive theme and for their wonderful vision and receptiveness to the ideas we concocted in the process!


Last summer I was contacted by a bride to design stationery for her wedding taking place the following summer. The first brief was to create a day and evening invitation pack based loosely on the theme of Alice in Wonderland and incorporating the colours of teal and turquoise . . . 

Rather than follow an obvious Disney-fied fairytale look, we discussed staying true to the spirit of the original Victorian novel by Lewis Carroll with a hint of Vintage Tea Party styling. My full bespoke service includes up to 3 design concepts and samples to choose from. From there, the chosen design is worked up fully and adapted as required to produce a full set of proofs until ready for production.

Originally I came up with three concepts within 3 pricing tiers:

1 - A portfolio pack containing the invitation, an information and map enclosure and RSVP postcard.
The style was light and fresh with a 50's kitsch feel leaning toward vintage tea party rather than the book.
2 - A booklet containing the invitation and subsequent pages of information and maps with a separate rsvp pocket. This was designed in thorough detail with more than a nod to the Alice story. 
The cover had a keyhole cut through enticing the reader with a hint of the foliage graphics beneath. Quotations from the book were used to introduce relevant sections such as directions. The typography was quirkly set in contrasting sizes echoing the constant change in size Alice experiences and finished with a teal ribbon and silver plated key charm. Even the initials of the couple hints at the shape of the Mad Hatter's hat!
3 - A boxed package containing a tiny glass bottle with a miniature scroll invitation and fold out enclosures. The bottle had a "read me" tag tied around its neck. The graphics and typography were purposely styled with a Victorian look.

The concept samples are shown above.


Well, it has been a while since I last posted - mainly due to being so busy, so I thought I would catch up on some news . . .

I'm pleased to say that despite the credit crunch and recession I've never been busier! We've taken even more orders than the first half of last year which meant we have been booked up till September for some time now, and have even started taking bookings for 2010. I hope it continues!

At the end of January I was delighted to meet up with fellow stationery designers Zoe Rusga from the wonderful "Bunny Delicious" and Nicola Mathews from fabulous "Millie and Me", at the awards ceremony for Wedding Ideas Magazine. The team from Giraffe Publishing were perfect hosts and a very pleasant afternoon was had by all. 

I've had an increase in bespoke commissions - one of the most fun has been an "Alice in Wonderland/vintage tea party" themed wedding - more details to come. As a designer, orders like these are joy to be involved in and the couple have been lovely.

I'm looking forward to a relaunch this autumn and currently working on lots of exciting new ideas and products.