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)

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)

Design Work

Vintage-Style Wedding Invitations and an RSVP Website

Ryan & Steph thought a Wedding website would be the ideal way to make it easy for their guests to RSVP and find out more about their day, so we set about creating a fun vintage design that would work equally well online and print.

There are plenty of ways you can share information about your wedding day with guests, like info sheets and wedding maps, Facebook groups or email updates. Increasingly people are setting up wedding websites, with lots of services out there letting you add content, maps and links to their pre-designed templates. Steph and Ryan however wanted to theirs to be designed to closely complement their printed invitations, so asked if I could produce both at the same time.

Steph had a clear idea on what she wanted, with vintage-style lettering and an old-fashioned poster layout detailing the back-story to their engagement and wedding. We agreed on some dusty, dusky shades for a splash of retro colour, and I used a combo of HVD’s Brandon Printed and Microbrew from the Albatross foundry – two newish type families packed with weathered detailing, inked imperfections and vintage ornaments, that worked perfectly together and gave Steph the look she was after.

For the website the ever-flexible WordPress was used, creating a simple but flexible site that can also be used to display maps, photo galleries and all sorts of helpful guest-friendly info. Ryan and Steph had their own login details too, so they can update all their information whenever they wish.

Take a look at the finished bits and pieces below…

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Details

Paper: 300gsm Tintoretto Gesso
Design: Swash and Fold
Fonts: Brandon Printed (HVD Fonts), Microbrew (Albatross)

Design Work · Helpful Things

Font Friday: Niunia Wood Type

Font Friday is a series of posts showcasing new or interesting fonts that have caught my eye this week. This week it’s the warm and weathered wood-block stamps of Niunia

It’s safe to say Mateusz Machalski from Polish design studio Borutta is a man who likes his woodblocks. A quick scan through some of the typefaces on offer from the prolific designer show a passion for bringing the distinctive warmth and character of ink-stamped lettering to the digital screen.

Released late last year, the Wood Type Collection brings several of these together in a single family – kind of a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to lend a bit of vintage authenticity to their designs, without actually having to invest in a physical printing press. In amongst this set I was drawn to Niunia, a narrow uppercase sans serif with irregular weights, slightly wonky alignment and other subtle quirks that gave it a little more character than some of its siblings.

There’s no OpenType trickery here and no obvious variations between upper and lower case, but don’t let that put you off. Niunia contains a set of well-crafted letters with realistic-looking ink distribution and corner traps, that manages to avoid looking contrived and artificial.

The sample this week is inspired by the fact that wedding season has now well and truly kicked off for Swash and Fold’s sibling photography company Big Bouquet – cue a season of grooms trying to decide on the optimum knot for their special day. May I suggest the St. Andrew? Bold enough to stand out, holds well throughout the day, and hides an open top button a treat…

The complete Wood Type collection from Borutta contains 5 different styles ranging from elegant serifs to inverted sans and is available to buy from MyFonts and Youworkforthem, which also feature more examples of the font in use.

Details

Fonts: Niunia / Wood Type Collection (Borutta)

Design Work

Font Friday: Magesta Script and Wausau

Font Friday is a series of posts showcasing new or interesting fonts that have caught my eye this week. This week we’re getting a little distressed with Magesta Script and Wausau.

Few type designers manage to get their letters as authentically worn and weathered as Ryan Martinson at Yellow Design Studio. From the layered grunge of Anodyne to the super-handy extras supplied with Veneer, Ryan’s warm, vintagey fonts bridge the gap between letterpress, screen-printing and digital effortlessly.

Magesta Script and Wausau have been around for a few years now, but for some reason had passed under my radar. Having had a good old play with them this week, I thought I ought to put that right!

Magesta Script comes as a set of four retro script fonts that attempt to capture the warm, authentic qualities of letterpress printing, with each weight using different levels of ink coverage. There’s also a “mix” version, which automatically swaps in different weights as you type, the resulting texture and slight misalignment giving the font realism and warmth.

In contrast Wausau is a sturdier drop-shadowed serif, taking a lead from vintage wood-type blocks. There is only one weight available for Wausau but different levels of weathering are available by switching between upper and lower-case characters, and the font keeps an eye out for double characters (e.g ‘OO’ or ‘EE’) to ensure realistic variations between letters.

As ever, this is best illustrated by example, with soundtrack this week provided by the almighty Dave

More samples of these two in use are available in the YouWorkForThem store, and if you hurry you can pick these two up at the bargain price of $9 each!

Details

Fonts: Wausau (Yellow Design Studio), Magesta Script (Yellow Design Studio)