Q (Gus & Ruby Letterpress): Will you walk me through - from a bird’s eye view - what a client could expect when beginning the exciting process of custom invitation suite design?
A: The first step in the design process for us is having a consultation- either in person at one of our locations or via zoom (which we do most often as many of our clients are living outside of our location - NYC, Chicago, LA, etc.). During a consultation, the primary focus is for us to really get to know the couple. I often tell people not to be surprised if we spend most of the time talking about your love story and not really getting to the nitty gritty of design direction. We’ll ask questions about the vision of the weekend, personal preferences when it comes to things like color, texture, illustration, etc. and also hear about what other vendors a couple is working with - as that is a great indication of their wedding style. We take copious notes and often show samples of past work to illustrate ideas/assembly/specific details that we might bring up. We have found that clients get the best work from our design team when we aren’t actually taking super literal design direction - you won’t find us asking you to look at fonts or choose borders or ink colors. We ask clients to trust us that it’s the most fun and you get the best product when you let us wow YOU with design options during the proofing process. We want clients to feel that we are the experts and will show them designs that are balanced, interesting and truly stunning based on our broad intake of likes, dislikes and personal preferences. After a consultation, we have a rough proposal to clients within a few business days giving them a general idea of cost based on our sense of scope, style and needs. If the proposal feels comfortable, we then discuss wording and get started on round 1 proofs. Initial proofs typically show anywhere from 2-5 totally different concepts for clients to consider. From there it’s a collaborative approach as we take their feedback and requests and fine-tune to create a suite that is absolutely perfect for them. It’s really fun, very creative and hopefully stress free.
Hannah: My process feels similar! The best ideas are generated from that initial design consultation where we can simply explore, without obligation, a clients’ life experiences, style and vision. From there, the development and creation feels cohesive because it’s rooted in an original concept.
Q (GR): In the custom world, sometimes it can be hard to get started with a true blank slate. I often take the first meeting to really get to know my client, their priorities and style and their day-to-day life to ensure we create a piece that really fits into their world, seamlessly. How do you approach the ideation phase with your clients?
A: We approach it similarly! Prior to any meetings, we ask potential clients to fill out a questionnaire that helps us get a sense of their overall vision for the wedding along with specific questions to help us hone in on style, budget, and needs. Using this form and email communication, we try to come to a first meeting with an edited array of samples and/or specific design or assembly ideas to discuss based on their unique priorities.
Hannah: Of course, it’s important as a client to feel confident in your personal style but when it comes to creating something that hasn’t been done before, the process unfolds the smoothes when you can wholeheartedly trust the expert on hand.
Q (GR): What are some common things clients forget about when they are designing their suite? For example, with my work, we often want to discuss the height of the stone and the way it sits on the finger. For instance, if she works with her hands daily through her work, I may suggest a setting that’s more durable.
A: Many clients come to us with little to know experience in the paper and invitation world and that’s OK! We take time to educate everyone on the pieces they may or may not need, etiquette and creative solutions to common problems (like wording for multi-person families all contributing or ways to gather information from guests about their weekend plans). It’s normal for clients to come not knowing much and we welcome the opportunity to share our knowledge and take the thinking and heavy lifting off their hands.
Q (GR): What is the most exciting part of the custom process from where you sit, as the maker?
A: Oh gosh, this is hard. Truly, we are suckers for the love story. We love hearing about couples and what makes them tick and how they fell in love and then infusing those truly personal details into their stationery suite. Did you fall in love over crossfit classes? Let’s use that! Have your first kiss under a maple tree? We need to know! One of you wearing a ring that your great grandmother wore? Tell us! It’s such a joy and honor to get to know each of our couples and to create stationery for them that feels truly reflective of them and their big day.
Hannah: The love story is such an important part of the inspiration. Similarly, an engagement ring should be something that reminds you of that history each time you see it - pretty powerful. What I love most about the process is the relationship I can build with a client who may have never used a fine jeweler before, or someone coming from a jeweler they’ve used for years. We build an undeniable rapport and then, in many cases, I have the privilege of designing other pieces for them in their lives that hold meaning - from the wedding bands to diamond tennis bracelets for the big promotion, the Anniversary or even the birth of a child. It’s all so special.
Soon to-be-betrothed? Come visit us at Gus & Ruby Letterpress’ new private design studio on September 21st, and get a rare chance to meet the founders, Samantha Finigan and Whitney Swaffield and their design team to get serious about your custom wedding stationery. I’ll be there with a selection of sample engagement ring designs to browse as well! RSVP here.