Design Work

Client work: custom design folding invitations with a vintage flavour

There are heaps of  great choices out there for off-the-peg invitations, but sometimes they just don’t quite fit the bill… which is where a bit of Swash and Folding can come in handy!

Laura & Nick got in touch after scouring the likes of and not quite finding what they’d had in mind, either in terms of design or the print quality of the end product. We chatted about the sort of thing they were looking for, and decided on a bespoke set of folding daytime and evening invitations which would be completely unique to their wedding.

Laura had already got a fairly extensive Pinterest board on the go, which gave a really clear guide about the sort of style they liked: equal parts modern and retro, combining woodblock-style fonts and banners with hand-drawn and line-art elements. The guys also wanted to play off the fact that the wedding is taking place in London, and give a subtle nod to it being a winter wedding.

We decided to do two designs – a smaller A6 folding card for evening guests, and a square info-packed gatefold shape for those attending the full day – with both invitations featuring a detachable RSVP section to mail back to Laura & Nick.

Both designs feature a very cute illustration of Laura and Nick, drawn from reference photos provided by the guys by the skilled hand of illustrator Laura Cake. The flipside of the evening invitation has a representation of the reception venue, along with a stylised take on the London skyline.

The text treatment combined a mix of serif and san-serif vintage-style woodblock fonts with the sweeping curves of Carolyna, one of the many typefaces from the hand of Emily Lime‘s studio.

The invitation for guests attending the full day also carries the frontage and skyline image seen on the evening card. However…

… flip it open and a wealth of extra information is revealed – all the local knowledge guests attending the day could ever need.

Finally, the full-day invitations also carry a handy map on the back, so there’s no excuse for guests not making it from the ceremony to the reception!


Paper: A6 4 printed page full colour & Custom-sized 6 printed page full colour, both in 300gsm Mowhawk Via Felt

Design: Swash and Fold

Fonts: Carolyna Pro Black, Deming EP, Rama Slab, Cheap Pine, Brioche, Telemark Label Bold

Design Work · Helpful Things

Client Work: Website & WordPress Redesign

David Gordon Photography, Swashed and Folded

It’s never easy to get your website right first time. Often your initial online presence is a means to an end – a way of getting your business on the web quickly, rather than being a true representation of your brand or outlook. David got in touch with exactly this issue… His blog did a perfectly adequate job of acting as a shop window for his photos, but it lacked a personal touch.

The site suffered from the limitations of the template, and David didn’t have the web skills necessary to pull things into shape himself. What David needed was someone to help him bring the site up to date with a more contemporary look-and-feel, and also to give everything a more welcoming, friendly approach. Oh, and if we could make it a bit easier to keep on top of updating the blog along the way, then that would be a bonus!

After a few lengthy emails where we explored exactly what David wanted from the site, it was to time once again to turn to Pinterest. David put an inspiration board together, which contained some lovely examples of the sort of thing he was drawn to, and we began to iterate some designs. After a couple of revisions we ended up with a design that seemed to tick all the boxes, with a mixture of contemporary textures, vintage styling and a classic layout. The central area on the homepage is a fully customisable slideshow, with typography-rich headings. Below this we opted for a feed of four featured blog posts, and a detailed footer area giving ready access to David’s contact details, Facebook and Google business page.

The blog pages were given a similar treatment, setting up some simple and effective styles for headings, comment boxes, form elements and other items. This means David can create new blog posts and pages in future, confident that they will all share a consistent style.

The “About Me” page is always a difficult one to get right. It’s your chance to tell the world not only how you work professionally, but to give them an insight into the person behind the name… And if that means sharing with the world your fifteen minutes of fame at the hand of the Countdown clock, then all the better!

Finally we had a look at David’s pricing page. Like many photographers he offers a range of pricing options for prospective clients, which meant the old page had ended up quite complex, and confusing for readers. To tackle this we went for a column-based layout, echoing the look-and-feel of the other page elements. With this new layout, couples can see at a glance the full range of options available, and make a more informed decision when choosing the package they wish to go for. All of which means better communication with prospective clients, which can only be a good thing!

The site is live right now at, so why not take a look for yourself and see what you think!


Platform: WordPress self-hosted blog with custom theme
Fonts: Oswald (Google Webfonts), Six Caps (Google Webfonts), Proxima Nova, Prenton Ultra Condensed

Helpful Things

Swash & Fold – Get The Look!

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.”

~Albert Einstein

I’ve had some fantastic feedback on the site since launching last week, with heaps of kind comments about how everything looks, and loads of folks asking about the fonts. So much so that I thought it worth putting together a sort of “Get the look” post to give folks an insight into the fonts used, and the opportunity to grab a copy for themselves!

Just don’t tell Einstein, ‘kay?


Rosewood Standard Regular (Adobe / £25.00)

You’ve probably seen Rosewood around the block a few times. Mostly this is because it gets installed alongside Photoshop and Illustrator, but it still remains one of the best and most usable examples of fonts inspired by the circus and sideshow posters of 18th Century America. The current version is an OpenType font, although this is more for compatibility reasons than any of the fancy effects you’ll see in most other OpenType faces. If for some reason you don’t have this installed, you can buy it direct from Adobe.


Ribbon (The Lost Type Co-op / £pay-what-you-like)

The Lost Type Co-operative are currently host to some of the best display fonts out there, ranging from the distinctive Ribbon to more conventional faces, through to multi-layered epics like Homestead. Best of all you pay what you consider appropriate, ranging from nothing at all (freebie!) to something more worthwhile if you’re going to be using a font commercially. This particular font comes packed with a whole load of OpenType variations and alternate styles, along with a pack of vector trimmings in the same style. Note that you’ll need an OpenType-aware application to really make the most of this font, such as Illustrator or InDesign. Download Ribbon from Lost Type here.


Ostrich Sans (The League of Moveable Type / £free)

The League of Moveable Type are another collective aiming to offer professional-quality fonts for free. Ostrich Sans is one of their newer offerings, so named because of the long “neck” on many of the characters. The font is only available in capitals making it best suited for small blocks of text and there are a range of weights available, ranging from a solid-looking dual-line style right down to an ultra-light dashed outline. The Ostrich Sans family can be downloaded directly from The League of M.T.


Brioche (Jessica Hische / $79)

Inspired by the lettering style of the 19th Century, Brioche is one of only a couple of fonts from the hand of the supremely talented Jessica Hische. I’ve barely scratched the surface of this font with my usage on Swash And Fold, with the full typeface offering all kinds of swashy goodness, neat ornaments and special single characters for “in”, “to”, “the” and other conjunctions. To get the best out of this font you’ll need an application with direct access to all glyphs, such as Illustrator or InDesign. Have a look at the font in all its glory!


Cheap Pine (Hannes von Döhren / $35)

There are loads of wood-cut style fonts out there at the moment, some more distressed than others, but Cheap Pine caught my eye thanks to a nicely organic take on the style. The lines are not too straight, and there are plenty of subtle variations between upper- and lower-case versions of letters to really get that screen-printed look. This face also comes with some neat little details and OpenType fun, although as before you will need an OpenType-aware application to use some of these features. Cheap Pine also provides you with versions of the font without the shadow or even just the shadow on its own, meaning you can mix and match shadow and text colours to your heart’s content!  The full pack can be purchased from MyFonts, and is well worth the investment!


Love Potion No. 10 (Hannes von Döhren / $29)

From the same hand as Cheap Pine, Love Potion No.10 is as technically accomplished as it is cute! One of the most complex OpenType fonts here, the face is packed with all sorts of ligatures, swash options, catchwords, arrows and lots of surprises you only spot after typing a sentence, reading it back and realising the font has done something really neat with your lettering when your back was turned! The set also includes a dingbats-style ornaments  font, which is full of hand-drawn sketches, icons, banners, borders and box-outs. Again, well worth the spend, and also available from MyFonts.


Mishka (Fenotype / from $25)

And so finally to Mishka. Tricky to know where to start when describing this one, as words don’t really do justice to the swirling, sprawling set of characters in this font. With around 700 letter variations buried deep within the OpenType system, this one can be a tricky beast to tame, but once mastered it lets you create some fantastically ambitious designs with minimal effort. Also of note is how legible the text remains at all times, unlike many of the flourish-laden calligraphic script fonts out there. As with Love Potion No. 10, the font also has a partnered ornaments font packed with banners, frames, twiddly bits and fancy details, many of which you’ll see dotted around the Swash And Fold pages. Best of all the font is available from only $25, which given the amount of engineering on show is an absolute steal! If you fancy a play with it yourself, Mishka is available to buy from MyFonts.

Where next?

If that’s whetted your appetite for more fonty goodness, why not take a look at my Typography board on Pinterest? Alternatively if you’d like to know more about typography but feel a bit out of your depth with talk of glyphs, swashes and ligatures this infographic is a good primer. Or if you’re a more visual person (and lets face it, most of us are…) you could do worse than take a look at this video from Veer which does a great job of introducing some of the basics of OpenType and how to use it…

Design Work

Vintage-inspired Wedding Invitations

There’s something rather exciting about getting invitations back from the printers…

You can spend as long as you like tweaking, kerning and proofing your design in the relative safety of the computer screen, but there still remains a huge sense of trepidation and anticipation when unwrapping a freshly delivered parcel hot off the press.

With the invitations above the printers did themselves proud.  Sara & Mark wanted something type-led and vintage-inspired, with the final design drawing heavily on poster styles of the late 19th-century, complete with wood-cut influenced illustrations. To complete the look we agreed on Colorplan’s Mist stock, with an off-white tone and tactile finish.

The final product is better than we could have hoped for – colours are vibrant and punchy (even on this darker paper), and the details are crisp and precise. Take a look at the photos below and see what you think!


Paper: A5 350gsm Colorplan Mist
Design: Swash and Fold
Fonts: Mailart Rubberstamp, Foglihten No 01, Rosewood Std