We are going to start off this little series of 'Behind the scenes' posts with one of our latest wedding stationery designs, The 'Mayfair'. Mostly because it's the one I still have all the initial designs for! I will walk you through the different stages of my design process, which is in no way the only design process, but it's the one I find works perfect for me with these types of designs. I hope you enjoy this post and watch out for our next 'Behind the scenes' posts soon!
Our designs generally start with a concept. Concepts are generally loosely based on themes I have earmarked on wedding magazines or Pinterest, sometimes, it's just whatever I fancy experimenting on. For the 'Mayfair' design, I must admit there wasn't much prior planning, I was stuck at London City airport due to heavy fog for about 6 hours, so I got my iPad out and started drawing to try and keep me sane! You could say that the concept revealed itself as I was working on it!
That's really one of the first stages in my design process. I knew I wanted to create some illustrations for a new wedding stationery collection featuring flowers, so I started searching for reference images featuring elegant bouquets. I loved the idea of featuring some anemones flowers and eucalyptus branches, but in a more minimalist way compared to some of my previous watercolour illustrations. I created a quick moodboard on my iPad of a selection of images of these flowers and leaves shot from different perspectives. It's so much easier to draw a flower when you understand what it looks like and how it behaves from different angles, it sounds weird but it's true! If you, unlike me at the time, are not stuck in an airport lounge, I would also recommend going out to buy some of the flowers to draw from direct observation, I find this is often the best way to get good and original results.
For most designs, the next step would be to create some sketches of the composition I am looking for, either on paper or on my iPad (which I love!). For this design, as I wasn't quite sure what it would end up being, I started drawing each element separately directly on the iPad. It normally takes me a few attempts to get the pressure and brush settings right, I like to experiment a lot, although I do have a few that are my absolute favourites (I will write a blog post about them one day, I promise).
Back home, I exported the illustration file onto my computer, turned all the illustrations into vectors and decided on how to bring them together. I am in love with simple monograms and shields at the moment, so I thought I'd give that a go. This process sometimes takes ages, but it is the best part of the design process for me. This is when you not only bring the illustrations together, but you match the mood of the illustration with the perfect selection of fonts. Not to add the colour selection! I kid you not, I sometimes end up with 20+ variations.
Hold on a minute
Choosing my favourite version is the hardest thing to do with any designs, I am well known to take ages to make a decision on what design to finally print! I am very lucky that Paul is much less indecisive than me, so he's definitely my first sounding board. The other thing I like to do (if time allows it) is to step away from the design for a few days. I don't open the files,I don't look at the illustrations and I don't mess with the colours and after 2-3 days is like looking at the whole design with a fresh pair of eyes and less of an 'attachment' towards it.
I stared to think about finishings and cardstock during the design stage to be honest, but it makes sense to discuss it now. It's almost impossible for me to design something without visualising how it's going to look and feel once printed. My initial feeling for this design was foil all the way! It's such a delicate and elegant design that I felt foil or letterpress would be the best choice to complement the design. This collection is so versatile and can be printed on so many different background (pretty much any possible could in the digitally printed version) and using so many techniques (digital foil, hot foil, letterpress, etc). Samples are available to purchase in the digitally printed version here, or the digital foil version printed on light grey card here.