by Hope Johnson
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Posts tagged letterpress wedding invitations
DUSTY BLUE MEETS NEW ORLEANS WEDDING INSPO | Sully Mansion Editorial
 

Between these vintage stamps and this dress, I think we've all found our something blue. Featured on Hey Wedding Lady, local New Orleans vendors teamed for a stunning editorial. These dusty blues and muted greens are my kind of color.

 

I MEAN ...THIS DRESS, Y'ALL.

I can probably create an entire dusty blue wedding inspired Pinterest board just off of this shoot.
 

. . .

FOOD FOR THOUGHT:
When incorporating color into your stationery, try not to let the color tell the story. Color is important, sure, but bring it in subtly within, perhaps, an envelope liner, your ink color, or my favorite way - some vintage stamps!

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PIN YOU FAV (or all three) FOR LATER

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dusty blue wedding stationery || The Little Blue Chair  by Hope Johnson || thelittlebluechair.com/theonepageweddingplanner
dusty blue wedding stationery || The Little Blue Chair  by Hope Johnson || thelittlebluechair.com/theonepageweddingplanner
dusty blue wedding stationery || The Little Blue Chair  by Hope Johnson || thelittlebluechair.com/theonepageweddingplanner

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dusty blue wedding stationery || The Little Blue Chair  by Hope Johnson || thelittlebluechair.com/theonepageweddingplanner
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dusty blue wedding stationery || the little blue chair by hope johnson || thelittlebluechair.com
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LOOKING FOR A LIBRARY OF INSPO?

Snatch up The ONE Page Wedding Planner (yes) and I'll send you that ...plus all kinds of snail mail goodies!

 

 
Hi. I'm Hope ...freckled face behind the studio doors of The Little Blue Chair

I'm Hope. The inky hands and freckled face behind the studio doors of TLBC. 

I believe in paper, words, and romance.

...and something beautiful happens when you combine them all together - be it a Jane Austen novel, a handwritten note, or as you've presumably guessed it - wedding stationery.

 

LET'S CONNECT ||     instagram      facebook      pinterest      


Magnolia Flora + Gold | White Oak Plantation | styled shoot

Is there anything better than that first fall breeze of cooler air? It pulls in a cleanse of the new season's freshness and the upcoming months of warm-seeking colors in the air. This styled shoot by Southern Celebrations did nothing less.

With a mix of oatmeal, grey, burgundy, and touches of gold, you couldn't help put feel the upcoming crispness of autumn. 

Southern Celebrations Magazine hosted this inspiration shoot in early fall and I was honored to ride along as the shoot's stationer along with an array of amazingly talented wedding vendors (meet the team below). ...and a southern celebration it was. White Oak Plantation is one of South Louisiana's highest ranked venue locations for weddings and events. The day was filled with Louisiana magnolias & warm touches of gold.

Stationery should never stop at the wedding invitation. We all fell in love with the custom made vow books to inspire brides and grooms to keep that handwritten note alive. 

The reception's menu cards mimicked the aesthetics of the wedding stationery to inspire those to really create a cohesive experience for your guests. Letterpress printed in a muted burgundy ink on deckled edge paper, adorned in gold foil ..you are sure to leave a lasting impression. To continue on the visual experience, we had laser woodcut chair signs made for the Mr. and Mrs. and a gold mirror cake topper for what should simply be the BEST day ever.


SHOOT'S HOSTESS | Southern Celebrations Magazine
VENUE | White Oak Plantation

SHOOT'S PHOTOGRAPHER | Rachel Erin Photography
GOWN | Magnolia Mariée Bridal Boutique
HAIR & MAKEUP | Verde Beauty Studio
STATIONERY & ACCESSORIES | THE little BLUE CHAIR
CAKE & DESSERT | Baking on the Bayou
FLORAL DESIGN | Attention to Details Weddings & Events Flowers LLC
FURNITURE RENTALS | Distressed Rentals & Revival
LANTERNS | Truly Haute
MISC DESSERTS | Chef Schonberg's Sweet's
CUTLERY & PLATES | Event Rental Baton Rouge
STYLING | Mise En Place Events, Poppy Lane Events, LLC, Swoon Creative


LETTERPRESS PRINTING | behind the scenes

TODAY'S HISTORY LESSON:
Way back when, any type of writing that was "mass produced" was simply written by hand, over and over. Books, manuscripts, etc. There was no assembly line, no machinery driven printers. Can you imagine? During the mid 15th century, Johannes Gutenberg got his thinking cap on in efforts to solve this issue. ...and boy am I glad he did.

"WHO IS JOHANNES GUTENBERG?" ...the only Jeopardy question I've ever gotten right.

Gutenberg invented the method of letterpress printing. Using metal casted letters, ink, and pressure, text was able to become mass produced! Imagine how you use a simple wooden stamp. An image or word was made in to a stamp by hand carving or laser etched. You tap the stamp on an ink pad, then stamp it on paper. It's a similar conceptual process. Metal letters, carved linoleum, or wood blocks are placed inside a press. Rollers are inked to cover the raised surface of your type or block cuts, paper is pressed on to the inked surface of your text/block leaving an impression in your paper. In opposition to modern day digital and offset printing, letterpress printing holds a timeless appreciate for the one-of-a-kind art is truly is. 

WHAT GOES BEHIND THE SET UP?

There are all different types of letterpress printers. I run a Chandler and Price platen press (below). It's about 100 years old and I can work this one better than my Best Buy Epson printer. 

Many printmakers still use what's called moveable type, cast iron letters that you set in to place to form your word, sentence, paragraph, etc. 

ONE COLOR AT A TIME

You mix your ink just like you'd mix paint. You can patch just about any pantone color or even order a custom pantone match. Each color is run separately. So if you have 100 invitations with two colors, you'll set up the first color and artwork, run 100 of that color. Clean your press. Mix the second color. Set up that run, then print the second color. ...totally 200 runs.

Once your materials are set up in the press, you can test your impressions, color, etc. and then get to work! My particular press runs off of a motor. There's a clam-shell action that happens where the paper reaches the inked type and stamps or impresses it in the paper. There's a quick scene in this video that shows the press running. 

Letterpress is simply appreciated for it's tactile impression it leaves in the paper. You cannot deny its method against digital and offset printing. It truly does stand on its own.

CHANGING TIMES

Over the years, there have been a number of ways to transfer text and imagery to a press bed. Moveable type is still commonly used for many printmakers. However, polymer plates (or other similar materials) are often used for its ease and flexibility. Using laser-casted polymer plates allow any vector, created with fonts or from the sketchbook, to become a printable plate. This is great for handlettering, hand-drawn imagery, and graphically designed pieces to originate the final piece.

The above photo is a letterpress printed piece that began as a sketch. The sketch was digitized and formatted to be made in to a polymer plate. The plate was then set up in the press, similar to the way moveable type is set up, then printed. 

Of course, there are 100 steps in between. There's ink mixing, color matching, press setting, packing backers to set, gauge pins to line up, paper to measure, etc. etc. etc.

For anyone in the market for letterpress printed work, this is a good insight to the setup and labor that happens prior and during printing. It's surely a labor of love that stands as an art in its own.


FOOD FOR THOUGHT
some phrases we can credit to letterpress

Mind your p's and q's: When setting casted, movable type, you set the letters from left to right, upside down in order for the type to mirror and read correctly on the paper. You'd be surprise what your eyes will fix for you as you read backwards printed letters. This is where the phrase originated from. ....same goes for b's and d's. 

Uppercase & Lowercase: Casted, movable type is arranged in type drawers. There's a little spot for each handful of A's, B's, C's and so fourth. The capital letters were found in the upper case drawer slot and the non-capital letters in the lower. 

FIVE TASKS & TIPS FOR YOUR WEDDING STATIONERY TO-DO

1) SET A DATE & VENUE
Before you venture over to your stationery to-do-list, you need to have some of the big things checked off first. Your date, venue(s), and ceremony and reception time need to be decided upon. If you are sending out save the dates, you only need to confirm your date. Keep in mind though that your date often depends on certain venue availability. 

2) ALLOCATE A BUDGET
Brides have an endless amount of options for wedding stationery. ...local stationery shops, etsy business owners, the Pinterest-inspired DIY bride. No matter the route, whether it's in hiring a professional designer or opting to invest your own time, stationery is just that - an investment. Brides often budget for $800-1200 for wedding stationery. The best thing you can do is give yourself a comfortable number and let that budget determine the "must haves." It may be that letterpress printed stationery is really important to you or that you KNOW you want to have the envelopes addressed in calligraphy. Establish a budget and work backwards to get the best of what you can get with that number.

3) ESTABLISH YOUR AESTHETIC
The aesthetics involved in your wedding stationery should be intentional. The ink color, the paper choice, the assembly ...it all represents the type of wedding celebration your guests will expect to attend. For example, you may not want a super traditional or over-the-top formal invitation for a backyard soireé. You'd probably want to lean towards the more casual side. These decisions are often inspired by your color schemes, an overall feel or mood you want to create, etc. You're going to want to have a general direction of where you want your stationery to take you.

4) TIMELINE
You typically want to mail your invitations 8-12 weeks before your wedding. If you opt for save the dates, you typically send those roughly 8-12 months prior to the wedding or as soon as your date and venue is set. If you are investing in a professional designer to create your stationery. You'd want to allow at least a few months of planning. You also want to make sure you give yourself or your calligrapher enough time to address your envelopes. The sooner the better is usually key here.

5) COORDINATE YOUR DAY-OFF PIECES
Once the save the dates have been sent and the wedding invitations printed, there are still some lingering after-math pieces to keep in mind. There is nothing better than a series of paper goods intertwined through out your wedding that all compliment each other. Some of the items you may want to think about including for the day off are you programs, menu cards, place cards, thank you notes, or even a special print or card to use as wedding favors or a special gift to a family member.


PERSONAL PREFERENCES AND TIPS 


PURCHASE A CUSTOM ADDRESS STAMP
A custom address stamp is super affordable and has a multitude of uses. If you purchase this stamp early enough, you can begin using this stamp for thank you notes after showers and as your return address on save the dates, shower venues, and celebrations. You can also use this stamp for the return address on your wedding stationery and/or your recipient address for your response card's return back to you. ...then of course all of your snail mail post wedding stationery.

STAMPS & POSTAGE
Try to find a stamp that coordinates with your stationery. The post office usually has some ...ehh "generic" wedding stamps. I would recommend opting for a custom stamp.  ...even better, use a vintage stamp collection if you can. You can find vintage stamps on eBay by seaching "unused uncanceled stamps." 

IMPORTANT: Ask your postman (or woman) to hand meter your envelopes. Otherwise, you'll end up with those ugly black lines at the bottom of your envelope. That's a good way to make your calligrapher cry. 

WEDDING WEBSITES
Wedding websites are a fantastic way to have your guests updated on the latest wedding news, allow for accommodations, and even allowing your guest to rsvp in advance. Opt for your own domain name. Domain names are super affordable, you can usually create one for about $10 for a whole year. As a stationery designer, I know www.TheJohnsonsBigDay.com looks way nicer than www.Name/us/SomeVenue/somethingelse.com ...don't you think?

PACK YOUR STATIONERY TO THE WEDDING
Everyone should have a really great photo of their stationery. Go ahead and pack your stationery suite in your wedding day bag to have the photographer snap a great shot of that pretty paper. 

FRAME YOUR INVITATION
Your invitation, along with your dress and maybe some heirlooms are one of just a few tactile things you'll actually preserve from your wedding day. The first anniversary calls for "paper." Frame your wedding invitation as an anniversary gift to remind yourself and your spouse why you chose one another. Maybe write a hand written note to keep on the back side of the frame. 


 
 
my life as a mother and designer - in a three minute video

THE little BLUE CHAIR began as the seat a bunch of kids opened Christmas presents on ...one at a time, in front of the audience of our grandparents. Our grandparents initiated this ritual in hopes that Christmas Eve would last just a little bit longer. I have learned through our family's delightful idiosyncrasies that the anticipation waiting for our turn, the presentation of the package was as important as the package itself. The sheer sentiment of the chair became the foundation for TLBC.

It's easy for me to resonate with TLBC. I truly believe that life's special moments and surprises are best told through the hand-written note, the mailed invitation, and the package it all arrives in ...and when you can see and feel that love behind a product, that tactile sense of affection really sings through.

I can easily title TLBC as a "family run business." My dear husband does the heavy lifting. When we need to take a road trip out of state to pick up the letterpress I bid and won on eBay, he's the one (read that story here). Although his day job consists of civil and architectural jazz, he often inspires much of my product line. My two little ones are also on payroll. In exchange for all the love I have, they offer me an abundant about of inspiration and company in between those moments of hustle and motherhood. There is nothing better than the visual representation of what you will get when working with THE little BLUE CHAIR. Watch the stream of real life TLBC to get a true glimpse.


A huge thanks to Kelly Davis who entered my world with a camera and captured my craziest, most exciting moments as a mother, designer, and business owner.

The Colorado Wedding

It's a small world we live in, really. There was this girl named Mackenzie who once lived up north. She later found her way down south to Louisiana falling deeply in love with a man named Trent. After talking a bit about her upcoming stationery design, wedding, and all the lovely things that go along with that, I find out that her husband-to-be was my former childhood neighbor. This boy used to prop sheets of plywood on a single brick to test fate and ride the 2" ramp towards the sky! Now, the two of them are leaping in to the marriage world with a Colorado wedding ceremony to celebrate their nuptials. I enjoyed every bit of the stationery design and cannot wait to see their wedding photos! Stay tuned for that.

These gilceé & letterpress printed menu cards will really make a statement on the guests' dinner plate. The mixed media is eye catching in more ways that one!

TLBC TIP | how to save time addressing your stationery

We all know how fast your wedding to-do-list can lengthen. The tedious tasks are seemingly the ones that all get piled up and saved for the last minute. When a couple receives their wedding stationery, the addressing typically still needs to be tackled.

TLBC TIP

Have an address stamp made. You can use this stamp for the back flap of your outer envelope as well as the front recipient address of your rsvp envelopes. A personalized stamp is the gift that keeps giving. Continue to use this stamp after the wedding for thank you notes and future mail outs!

This is an affordable and easy way to save some time. These stamps run roughly $20-$40 depending on whether you create a wood stamp with an ink pad or a self-inking stamp. Both last for years and are great investments (and gifts).


Customize a stamp to suit and seal your stationery suite. These are a few of our past favorites, but feel free to throw your own ideas at us and we can create something just for you.

A WATER COLOR WEDDING

A friend of mine came to me when it was time to dream up her perfect wedding suite. Her inspirations were all stemmed from her floral arrangements and the colors that bloomed from a May wedding in the midst of a Louisiana spring.

a floral inspired color scheme

a floral inspired color scheme

photo cred | Collin Richie | www.collinrichiephoto.com

Now, when I think spring, I think water. So a watercolor splash over letterpress text was my first thought we leaped from. We took the color scheme of the floral and toned it down to a subtle pallet for the stationery. Keeping the text traditionally worded and the fonts script let the watercolor spread on its on turf. Each splash is one-of-a-kind truly creating a special suite for each guest to open.

coral + mint + yellow

Kristi was a breeze to work with and had such a lovely wedding to show for herself. TLBC wishes her many years of happiness with her newlywed.



TLBC loves to incorporate something special ...something whimsical to each design. That extra little hand touch is what makes this process so extraordinary. Take a look at the cards below to see a few other pieces we've incorporated that hand-painted touch to.

These are two of our favorite combinations of mediums: letterpress (obviously) and watercolor. Each piece is something special, just like you!

WHO MADE THE TOP FIVE?

With all of the new wedding stationery in the works between the collections brewing and custom work curating, I thought I would put together a few of my old favorites. These are all either my own favorites, pinterest's most pinned, or client favorites from the years past.

Take a gander...


THE TATUM WEDDING

An old favorite for a family favorite.... Carrie. She’s my cousin, friend, and reason for switching my life towards the arts in college. Taylor. He must be a tad crazy to willingly enter our family, but he loves Carrie, so he got the package. Taylor and Carrie’s wedding was featured on Style Me Pretty portraying a “DIY Backyard Baton Rouge Garden Wedding.” It was close to perfection, even in spite of the short rain that lead the entire reception to the porches as Carrie’s dad and associating musicians played the guitar, sang, and danced the rest of the evening away.

 

THE KATE AND CORY

When I first met with Kate, I knew immediately that her wedding and inspirations were to die for. She had a very rustic meets Jane Austin style between the lettering, paper, and assembly of her wedding stationery suite. The invitations were hand torn to leave a deckled edge. The rsvp cards are made of real wood, letterpress printed in a postcard style. The inner envelopes were handmade and stitched, all enclosed in an outer cotton envelope. …and of course there was twine.

THE JILLIAN AND EDWARD

After Carrie and Taylor’s Style Me Pretty feature, my inbox was full of inquiries. Jillian and Edward’s stationery suite became one of the by products of that feature. Jillian had a vision of a delicate lace with a hint of a modern touch. The lace with the peach ink complimented the chalk-like ink on black paper. It was a mix of colors, both subtle and bold, that put this suite in this old favorites list.

After Carrie and Taylor’s Style Me Pretty feature, my inbox was full of inquiries. Jillian and Edward’s stationery suite became one of the by products of that feature. Jillian had a vision of a delicate lace with a hint of a modern touch. The lace with the peach ink complimented the chalk-like ink on black paper. It was a mix of colors, both subtle and bold, that put this suite in this old favorites list.

THE JAYNIE AND ALEX

There is never a limit on how much lace is acceptable. Okay, maybe there is, but I love it in the stationery world. The bride, Jaynie, is actually a former colleague and friend of mine. She is also the owner of  Ebb & Flow  and her calligraphy is nothing short of something to die for. Jaynie herself designed this suite. It’s simple, modern, delicate, and beautiful. ...and that’s what we were going for, all of those adjectives in one suite. The front and back printed reply card inserted in to the translucent envelope put the icing on the wedding cake.

There is never a limit on how much lace is acceptable. Okay, maybe there is, but I love it in the stationery world. The bride, Jaynie, is actually a former colleague and friend of mine. She is also the owner of Ebb & Flow and her calligraphy is nothing short of something to die for. Jaynie herself designed this suite. It’s simple, modern, delicate, and beautiful. ...and that’s what we were going for, all of those adjectives in one suite. The front and back printed reply card inserted in to the translucent envelope put the icing on the wedding cake.

Who doesn't love a bicycle themed wedding? This bride commissioned TLBC to create some custom stationery to use as thank you notes following the wedding's whimsical appaloosa. A tandem bike for two as the bride and groom send their thank yous to all of their guests.


Maybe you will end up on the top five. Let's create!