Design Work

On-the-day design & print work for a December wedding

Following on from these invitations and RSVP website last year, Ryan & Steph’s wedding day was also packed with lots of custom design work, captured in typically comprehensive style by the wonderful Mister Phill who was on hand to document their day!

I don’t always get to see finished work in the final context. So given the huge amount of design work involved in Ryan & Steph’s day, I was delighted when Mister Phill sent me through such a complete set of photos – reproduced with his kind permission here!

The original concept for the invitations was full of vintagey, woodblock-style design, reminiscent of old fly-posters or show-bills with a few quirky contemporary twists. The colours were updated from the original design to complement the decor of the venue and the floral accessories, but aside from that the basic concept remained unchanged giving lots of scope for typographic fun, and plenty of hand-stamped vintage print effects.

A large A1 print based on the invitations took pride of place behind the top table, with a few details changed to make it more relevant to the day. Ryan & Steph mounted it in a simple but elegant frame with an inner surround, so they could later put it up at home as a reminder of their day.

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Poole’s Hotel Du Vin can be a bit of a maze, so bespoke signage was created to make sure everyone could find their way around throughout the day.

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The wedding took place at the start of December, so the outdoor signage needed to be weatherproof. Although the weather on the day was dry, a matt laminate mounted onto foamcore board meant external pieces could withstand everything Poole Harbour could throw their way.

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Guest tables each had an individually designed quotation, which Steph and Ryan then finished off to a tee in an eclectic, mis-matched set of photo frames.

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The design concept was carried all the way through to parental gifts, thank-you cards for guests staying overnight in the hotel and artwork for the Photobooth printouts.

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… and for when the evening air got just that bit too chilly, custom-designed blanket wraps meant the design was carried through all the way to the end of the night!

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Thanks to Ryan & Steph for allowing me to so comprehensively Swash and Fold their day, and huge thanks to Mister Phill for letting me reproduce his photos here!

Details

Design: Swash and Fold
Photography: Mister Phill
Venue: Hotel Du Vin, Poole
Fonts: Brandon Printed (HVD Fonts), Microbrew (Albatross)

Design Work

Fresh Florals and Sage Green Invitations for a Summer Wedding…

Cottage-garden colours, a custom map and R.S.V.Ps completed this set of informal, contemporary stationery for Abi & Andy’s wedding.

Abi and Andy are getting married this summer at the wonderful Deans Court in Dorset – a magnificent 18th Century Country House, complete with walled kitchen garden and rolling lawns. They had in mind something fairly informal, contemporary in style but with a rustic feel that complemented their colour theme.

Based on this brief I put together a mix of hand-drawn letter styles, English wildflower colours and floral illustrations, paired with a soft sage-green tone for the reverse and interior sides. R.S.V.P cards were also required, along with an information sheet and a map to help guests find the deceptively tucked-away venue. The whole set was then printed up on Tinteretto Gesso, a super-tactile Italian paper which works perfectly with this kind of design. Take a look at some examples below and see what you think!

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Details

Paper: 300gsm Tinteretto Gesso
Design: Swash and Fold
Fonts: Harman Script (Ahmet Altun), Savu Condensed (Hiekka Graphics)

Design Work

Website Redesign for Bridesmaid & Flower Girl Dress Designer Nicki Macfarlane

A custom-designed, mobile-responsive & feature-packed WordPress site for the Royally-approved children’s dress designer…

I’ve another website redesign for you today, which went live towards the tail-end of 2014. The brief was to take Nicki Macfarlane’s existing website and give it a visual and functional overhaul, with a bold modern-vintage aesthetic, fresh new features, increased usability and a fully ‘responsive’ layout to cater for visitors on a wide range of devices.

I’d worked with Nicki and her team to design their brochure earlier in the year, so it made sense to echo some of the design elements from that online, such as the illustrated frames and the typographic style.

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The darker background which worked so well in print however looked overly heavy on screen, so this was switched for a fresher duck-egg blue. I also sourced a selection of new, shabby-chic swept picture frames to further lift the palette and enhance the design, and opted to present all but the most decorative text in Joshua Darden‘s superb “Freight” super-family of fonts, which combine a classic and flexible design with high readability on-screen.

Take a look at some samples from the project below, or head to nickimacfarlane.com to see the full site!

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It was important to ensure the site worked well across a range of devices and platforms, and that content was presented in an appropriate way. Throughout the site the content automatically reconfigures to fit the viewing window, changing frame graphics, menu structure, location of key information, the size and spacing of grids, or changing the number of items in a row. Examples of this can be seen above on the product details pages, or below in areas such as the “Our Collections” section.

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In addition to a full catalogue of dresses, accessories and pageboy outfits the site also features a range of supporting tools like size charts, fabric swatches, video library and an interactive worldwide stockist map, all designed to be editable by Nicki and her team behind the scenes.

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Visit nickimacfarlane.com to see more, or leave a comment below and let me know what you think!

Details

Website: WordPress custom theme development, responsive layout and brand update.
Fonts: Freight Sans and Display (Joshua Darden, Garage Fonts), Breathe Pro (Lián Types), Perpetua (Adobe)

Design Work

Kim Hawkins Photography, Swashed and Folded

Custom WordPress theme development and a shiny new logo for Hertfordshire-based Wedding and portrait photographer Kim Hawkins

Kim’s old branding and website needed a fresh new look, so together we set to work on coming up with something that better captured her approach. Kim wanted something that would appeal to the contemporary bride, but still felt fairly “classic” and stylish in tone. As Kim’s work also features family and portrait photography (many of which may be returning customers) it was also important not to alienate or exclude previous clients, so some continuity in design between the old and new was essential.

The most striking aspect of Kim’s previous branding was the deep cerise colour, which dominated the old design. This was an immediately recognisable element, which was retained as a highlight for text, and combined with paper and watercolour texture for the footer and header strip. This was combined with light, natural tones, subtle HTML detailing, clean and light lines of the timless Futura typeface, and the more modern bold italics of Playfair for titling and other featured text. For the logo, the flowing hand-lettered style proved the perfect contrast to the clean lines elsewhere, with a bronze gradient toning the screen version into the colours and textures of the rest of the page.

Take a look at some samples from the project below, or head to www.kimhawkins.co.uk for a nose around the finished thing!

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Thanks to Kim for being a great client – if you’d like to see more of her work, take a look at the full site at www.kimhawkins.co.uk.

Details

Website: WordPress custom theme development and logo design.
Fonts: Futura (Bitstream), Playfair Display Italic (Claus Eggers Sørensen)

Helpful Things

Font Friday: Ten of the best letterpress, stamped and printed fonts for authentic vintage design

As designers we spend a long time trying to make things look authentic, and nothing says ‘authentic print’ like worn, weathered, irregularly-inked type…

We don’t all have access to letter-press machines or screen-printing facilities, and the effect can be time-consuming to create digitally from scratch. Fortunately there are many many typefaces that perfectly capture the rough, inky, tactile look of hand-printed lettering. Thanks to the power of OpenType many automatically vary their textures as you type to keep things organic, while others come packed with alternative shapes, shadows and effects which when layered with colours can give some satisfying print effects

I’ve rounded up ten of my favourites here, which between them should cover every eventuality and satisfy even the most demanding hand printing fans!

Brandon Printed

Brandon Grotesque has been something of a runaway success for designer Hannes von Döhren since it was launched back in 2010, so its no surprise he should consider creating a hand-stamped version of the font. Not to say HvD hasn’t got previous form in this area of course, as the foundry behind the equally successful Cheap Pine, the 2011 wood-block effect font so beloved of craft breweries and wood-fired pizza restaurants up and down the land.

As you might imagine then, Brandon Printed is an expertly produced, detailed and stylish example with loads of extras, ornaments, lined options, shadows thrown in to the mix.

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Butternut

Ryan Keightly is a fairly new addition to the type world, but he proved himself to be bang on-trend with his warm and endearing Sparkle Script, released back in September. He’s added to this with his latest font “Butternut“, which takes a hand-drawn old-style italic serif font and passes it through all manner of print processes. Butternut’s hand-finished style would make it perfect for packaging, and works well with chalky colours on a darker background.

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Roper

Roper from Andrew Footit is a Western-influenced font, with crossbar spurs giving it that distinctive American feel. Available in both serif and sans serif versions, each has a solid and letter-pressed style. The solid versions are nice enough, but to my mind the font really comes alive with the letter-press alternatives. While not as flexible in use as some of the others here, sometimes that Wild West look is the only thing that will fit the bill!

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Lulo

Yellow Design Studio are another foundry with a solid track record in producing weighty, ink-heavy stamped fonts. Their Veneer regularly gives HvD’s “Cheap Pine” a run for its money, and their iconic Thirsty script family fast became the professionals’ preferred “Lobster” alternative.

Lulo is a new offering from the designers and takes a slightly different approach to some of the alternatives, with a fabric-based texture giving more of a screen-printed effect to the lettering. A subtle difference, but one that changes the feel of the characters completely. Clever layering options and well-realised shadows give a great 3D effect when combining colours across the full font family, and a good value combined price for the full set makes it a commercial font worth adding to the toolkit.

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Appareo

Appareo has been featured here before, but worth including here again since it gives a different take on things to many of the others featured here.

Where most are clearly display fonts – that is, fonts that are really only intended for small blocks of text and headlines – Appareo takes a lead from period book-type and vintage printing presses. This makes it perfect for slightly longer passages of text, labelling, menus, and works perfectly when going for a more “antique” style. The font does an expert job of reproducing the quirks and ink-flows of vintage mechanical printing, and some advanced OpenType trickery means textures are automatically varied as you type to keep things looking authentic.

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Microbrew

Microbrew from Jay Hilgert of Albatross is one of my favourite fonts to have been released this year. With 16 font styles, extras and quirky retro ornaments at under £30 it represents great value for money and the combination of shadows, inline versions, different textures and different printing techniques makes it far more versatile than might be expected for a type family like this.

The condensed shape of the characters also gives a nice contrast to the wider letter shape of the likes of Brandon and works well alongside other families, and the canny font buyer could always download some of Jay’s free alternatives from the complementary “Signyard” font to further extend possibilities!

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Nexa Rust

Fontfabric’s Nexa Rust is a vast, sprawling font family of scripts, slabs, ornaments and sans serif faces, all designed to work alongside each other in a cohesive, structured way. With over 80 fonts in the family, acquiring the whole set is an eye-watering prospect and probably best left for commercial projects. But individually there are some great options in there not found in other families, and Fontfabric’s professional expertise guarantee an excellent finish, flawless execution and high detail at large sizes.

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Gist Rough

Back to Yellow Design Studio and their increasingly popular 2014 Gist font… Gist Rough is the printed, textured version of the typeface, and retains the monoline, swirling, late 70’s/early 80’s-influenced aesthetic of the original. While the texturing is a bit on the rough side compared to some of the other fonts featured, the distinctive shape, ligatures and style of the lettering makes this ideal for poster design, packaging, T-shirt logos and anywhere you fancy a blast of retro-contemporary chic!

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Emblema Headline

Corradine Fonts have taken a slightly different approach to many of their peers with their Emblema Headline font. Where most have gone down the 1800’s wood-block route with simple shapes and uniform dimensions, Corradine have opted to take the Deco path. The now-standard layering, shadow and inline effects are all present and correct, but paired with elegant proportions, 20’s-style vintage curves, small caps and a range of aesthetic quirks that set it apart from many of the alternatives.

Emblema is currently on offer with the full family of 52 for under £10, which represents outstanding value!

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Core Circus Rough

Lastly (but my no means leastly) we have Core Circus Rough from the consistently innovative S-Core foundry. S-Core have taken layered font combos to new heights with their ‘Core’ font systems, with a sense of fun and playfulness not always obvious elsewhere. Core Circus is no exception, thriving on colour, packed with entertaining alternatives and options, and perfect for bold, celebratory designs.

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Details

Fonts: Brandon Printed (HVD Fonts), Microbrew (Albatross), Roper (Andrew Footit), Nexa Rust (Fontfabric), Lulo (Yellow Design Studio), Gist Rough (Yellow Design Studio), Emblema Headline (Corradine Fonts), Core Circus Rough (S-Core), Butternut (Ryan Keightley), Appareo (Kimmy Design)