Hello OMG readers! Hope you all had a fabulous weekend. I’m pleased to be sharing with you a lovely Q&A with graphic designer turned wedding stationer Louise Richardson whom I met at the Luxury Wedding Show London earlier this month. I think I probably tweeted about a million photos of her work as it was all just so super. Coming from a graphic design background myself means I pretty much go goo goo eyed when I see typographic goodness like this. Louise has some gorgeous invitation suites across a wide range of themes and aesthetics and has kindly taken the time to answer some Qs for me and you! Hope you enjoy and make sure to check out her website for more details!
1. Tell us about your background and how you got into wedding stationery
I am a graphic designer with a passion for typography and all things printed. I am literally a design magpie collecting anything beautiful and stylish that is on paper etc. I get inspired by fashion, art, architecture, design, food, packaging, hotels, nature, in fact anything lovely!!
I worked for a top London design consultancy for 5 years after leaving university and set up my stationery business quite by accident in 2000 after I designed a friends wedding stationery. I still work in the corporate design world as I find this inspires my wedding stationery and keeps me up to date with current trends. Lovely packaging is my obsession!!
I have taken the knowledge and processes I have learned from working in the more commercial design world into my business and provide a very discreet one-to-one service for each of my clients. I believe the service they receive along the way is just as important as the finished product.
I have had the privilege to meet some lovely clients over the years and been lucky enough to work with them at one of the most exciting and exhilarating times of their lives. It can be challenging sometimes but the end product and (hopefully!) my clients reaction always makes it worthwhile.
2. Tell us a little bit about the process you go through with each bride
Potential clients come and see me firstly at my studio in Berkhamsted, Herts for a 2 hour free consultation to define the brief. It is always best if the Bride and Groom both come and if they have any ideas themselves, to bring along reference/tear sheets/pictures of their venue etc.
As all my designs are created as one-offs, I really have to have this meeting to get to know them and to talk about the style and feel they would like to achieve. They will see all of my most recent designs and then we sit down and talk about what they envisage for their own stationery.
Once I know a little more about the brief I can prepare a quotation for them and if they have a fixed budget, what we could do for roughly that amount.
Once a deposit has been paid and I have their wording, then I start work on a preparatory design draft of just the invitation items. Then they give me their comments and we move onto a 2nd draft when I create all the other items they have ordered like Menus etc. I allow for 3 drafts within the design fee so they can see exactly what they are getting and at any stage they can make as many changes as they like to colours, typefaces and the overall design.
I then prepare all the final artwork once it has been signed off and liase with my printer on the production process and scheduling.
Once it has been printed, I do all the hand finishing, collating etc personally so I can ensure quality control and that nothing is missed.
3. What is the weirdest thing a bride has ever requested?
To be honest, nothing is too weird!! the most obscure comment can inspire the best ideas. I haven’t had anything too extreme but would relish designing an invite not on paper but on a different material like wood, metal or an unusual object to send in the mail. Perhaps it might happen soon and I would love it!!
It might sound strange but I think my clients are quite brave to work with me, as each design is literally created from fresh, they dont know what they are going to get until they see the first draft. They can of course make any changes they wish, but can really only judge my work on what I have done before, its quite a leap of faith they are taking, so I admire those that are brave enough to take the plunge!!
4. What advice would you give to a couple when starting to look for wedding stationery
Allow plenty of time!! This is where a lot of couples make a mistake. The invitations are sent out well ahead of the big day itself (normally 2 months), so these should be the first thing that is organised after the date has been set and the venue booked. They are often left too late and therefore there is no time to do anything special. Even if you decide to make and design everything yourself it will take longer than you think, so get onto it straight away!!
I get a lot of couples who would like to work with me but only have 2-3 months until their big day, unfortunately this is not enough time for me. As all my designs are created as a one-off for each wedding, they do take longer to produce. I prefer to start to work with couples 8-10 months before their big day (this includes mailing 2 months prior to the wedding) and if they are getting married abroad even up to a year. This means that there is no last minute rushing, the couple can enjoy the design process and I can take my time with the production so it is all perfect (and I’m not waking up in a hot sweat!!!)
When looking at stationery designers, look at the quality of the overall design idea and the standard of the typography, if there is only a limited selection of different type styles to choose from then a stationers designs can all look similar. The typeface should be right for the design concept. I have literally thousands of typefaces I have bought over the years and always choose a font which is right for the brief and the setting, so if its a French chateau wedding for example, I might choose a typically French looking typeface, something romantic or old and distressed perhaps, or even French Art Deco.
Also look at the quality of the paper and printing as this makes a huge difference to the quality of the finished pieces. This you cant really do on the internet so if you are keen on a particular designer, order some samples, you often have to pay for these (I charge £7-10 postage depending), but its worth it, to see the actual paper quality.
5. Any wedding invitation pet peeves / no-nos?
I think that wedding stationery in general is always one of the things to be left as an after thought. I always feel it is the poor relation to everything else when planning a wedding. The dress, the flowers, the cake etc always get more attention & budget allocated to them when actually it is the little much more personal things like stationery that guests (particularly the ladies!) will notice.
I am trying (in my own small way) to challenge this perception as I think it is the first thing guests will receive, it sets the entire tone for the event. The wording and the design of it should speak to your guests, and give them a sense of what is to come. And also reflect the personalities of the Bride and Groom perfectly. I guarantee if it has a ‘wow’ factor you will be inundated with compliments!!, Now thats the way to get your wedding off to a good start!!
6. Anything else you’d like to tell us?
My updated website is now up and running and shows many new designs that I showcased for the first time at the Luxury Wedding Show. Most of them are from the 2010-11 season, or you can follow me on twitter at @LRstationery.
I will also be exhibiting at the Designer Wedding show in February in Battersea Park, London, see you there!!