From The Studio: And Now We’re *Finally* Live on Etsy!

March 7, 2012 § 3 Comments

Whew – what a whirlwind the past week has been!

I’m happy to announce a few things:

1. Hip Ink Paper Co.’s Etsy shop is finally live, with sample and deposit listings for all 20 Hitched by Hip Ink design collection invitations (and more to come over the next few months!). Currently Etsy is the only marketplace where you can purchase Hitched by Hip Ink, so do mosey on over and check it out, y’all.

2. That means that I can officially stop pimping out Hitched by Hip Ink designs on Wednesday, and get back to showing off some really cool custom designs. But don’t worry, I’ll be featuring one of our Hitched designs every Friday, with an in-depth look at the design and the inspiration behind it.

On a personal note, launching this design collection has been a labour of love, and I use the word labour on purpose. It’s literally been about 9 months since I made the final decision to design and create a Hip Ink invitation collection, and it’s been 9 months of growth, change, nervous anticipation, joy, sadness, doubt and everything in between. But now my babies are out in the world and I couldn’t be happier.

Most of all, I’m thrilled to be able to share my designs with a much wider audience. As a custom designer, I can only work with a limited number of couples every year, to insure that they receive the best quality product and experience possible. While I absolutely love creating custom designs, I realized that I was turning away so many clients because of a tight schedule, or a modest budget, and I realized that many of the potential clients didn’t necessarily need a completely custom invitation, but rather were after that Hip Ink signature look – something fresh and modern, and something not available in every invitation album or big box store out there.

So that’s when Hitched by Hip Ink was conceived – an invitation collection that takes the best of what I have to offer as a designer, and makes it accessible to anybody, anywhere (and for any event).

Here’s the low-down:

The Hitched by Hip Ink collection is digitally printed on your choice of extra-thick specialty paper:

White Matte (110 lb) – paper has a smooth flat texture
White Metallic (111 lb) – paper has a metallic sheen and sparkle
White 100% Cotton (118 lb) – paper has a soft luxurious texture, tree-free (eco-friendly)

The basic Hitched invitation set includes the following:
* Main Invitation and matching envelope
* Choice of response card and matching envelope, or large enclosure
* Digital PDF proofs with up to two rounds of revisions, personalized with your wording and choice of style for response or insert card
* Choice of paper

Many designs also include choice of colour(s) from over 40 available standard ink colours (custom colours are also available for an additional fee).

In addition, we’ve got lots of add-ons and upgrades available (including addressing) and invitations are available without response/enclosure cards as well (for use as Save The Dates, shower/engagement party invites etc.).

Prices start at just $4 per set (based on quantity ordered and paper selection), so what are you waiting for?

I’m so thankful to everyone who encouraged, supported, nudged or downright pushed me to complete this collection and I hope you’ll find a favourite somewhere amongst these new designs too!

From The Studio: Vintage Rustic Glam Winter Invitations featured on Style Me Pretty

February 15, 2012 § 1 Comment

All images in this post by Blynda DaCosta Photography

Hope everyone has recovered from Valentine’s Day – remember, now is the time to stock up on chocolate ladies ;) I’m sure there were also lots of romantic proposals yesterday, so congratulations to everyone who became a soon-to-be-newlywed!

Today I’m thrilled to share some images from a creative shoot I participated in recently with some truly talented vendors: Alanna and Dawn, the event pros from Eph*ra Event Design; fab photog Blynda, from Blynda DaCosta Photography; florist Marissa, from Ruffles and Twine; Natalie, from Cupcake Diner; makeup artist Megha Sawhney and model Cheryl, as well as a number of other ladies who made the shoot a success.

We were so excited to have wedding super-blog Style Me Pretty feature our shoot last Friday, and so today I wanted to share some of the images of the paper goods I created for the shoot.

Sadly, I don’t have room to show you ALL of the amazing images (flowers, cakes, decor…oh my!), so I’d urge you to check out the full gallery on SMP for all the great details!

Now, for the paper…

The concept for the shoot (shot at the beautiful Berkeley Church event space in Toronto) was a mix of rustic, vintage and glam elements with a warm and cozy winter feel. Participating in this shoot was fun, as I’m sure we’ve all seen the icy winter look before (even at my own winter wedding!), but it was nice to create a warmer feel with winter whites and creams and rustic touches of beige and brown. I must admit though, I did sneak in just a little ice blue – didn’t seem quite right without it!

The invite I created for the shoot was an oversize 6″x9″ invite nestled in a cream silk box. The front of the box was decorated with twill tape (a nod to the rustic feel of the shoot), feathers (did you notice the birds here and there in the decor?) and a bit of bling with a fleur de lys brooch.

Inside the invite design was a multi-layered panel, mixing different neutral shades and textured papers to create a substantial invitation with a light airy feel. My original concept for the design and layout of the invite was inspired by the look of a vintage french apothecary jar label, so that was the basis of the formal yet whimsical graphics and type.

To add a bit of glam detailing, I used both Swarovski crystals and pearls to give the overall design a little sparkle and bit of vintage charm, but my favourite detail of all was the small mother of pearl button that adorned the ribbon holding the response card – the shimmery blue-grey was the perfect complement to the ice blue highlights of the invitation itself.

I also created a petal fan program which reproduced the look of the invite throughout. Petal fan programs are a perfect fit for vintage weddings, with their timeless romantic feel.

I also created table numbers, escort cards, favour tags and a sweet table sign, which were all featured as part of the decor. Here’s a couple of quick shots:

I am always honoured to be asked to work on creative shoots, and so excited to see our work featured. A big thank you to all the ladies who worked on this gorgeous shoot!

Workshop Wednesday: WedLuxe Wedding Show Wrap-Up

January 18, 2012 § 3 Comments

I love me some alliteration, don’t you!?!

Before I get into today’s post, I just wanted to acknowledge that over the weekend The Invitation Blog hit what I think is a big milestone for a little niche blog – 50,000 views! Thanks to all of you who continue to read, support, and put-up with my crazy antics! ;)

So, yes, normally we’re showcasing one of our invites on Wednesday, but today I thought I’d post a little wrap up of the WedLuxe Wedding Show that we participated in last Sunday (January 8th, 2012).

If you’re not familiar with WedLuxe magazine, it’s Canada’s premier luxury wedding magazine, showcasing THE most amazing eye-candy from real weddings to amazing editorial shoots, and featuring some of Canada’s most creative and talented vendors. I was thrilled to be asked to join WedLuxe’s Glitterati and to participate in this year’s inaugural WedLuxe Wedding Show at the Ritz-Carlton Toronto.

Of course, being me, in my haste to get everything together for the show, I forgot one important bit – my camera. So, alas, no full pictures of my booth (which is a bummer, I won’t lie), but I can tell you it was modern and streamlined, white, black and chrome with a little bling behind our invites, and a gorgeous floral arrangement from Shannon at Curly Girl Flowers.

Luckily, Shannon’s fab photog snapped a photo of the arrangement and you can see some of our booth in the background (and upfront our brand new Hip Ink Couture business cards, which you’ll find out more about next Wednesday!):

image via Curly Girl Flowers Blog

The Wedluxe show really was a show like none other I’ve ever experienced – especially the amazing lounges put together for the show attendees. There was the “Love in Spades” Tea Room directly across from our booth, the Sterling Groom’s Lounge (the Man Cave as I called it) and the Beauty Boutique where brides-to-be could receive free manicures, make-up applications, free beauty products and free stationery! The the vendor set-ups were absolutely amazing. The cakes, the flowers, the invitations (we were one of 11 stationery companies exhibiting – that’s a lot of invites!), the accessories and headpieces, and the stunning tablescapes – it was a feast for the senses. And over 2000 people experienced it all in just 8 hours!

The show-stopper was literally the first thing you saw – the amazing flower entrance arch, made up of 1500 hanging ribbons with roses on the end (and yes, while we were setting up our booth, they were hanging those roses one-by-one by hand). So breathtaking in person, and I got to walk under about 20 times (lucky me!):

Photo by Verve Photo Co. via Wedluxe

We were able to participate in the show not just with our booth, but also through a collaboration with event planner Malvina Chevolleau from Fabulous Occasions as well as our stationery giveaway in the WedLuxe Beauty Boutique!

It was a pleasure to collaborate with Malvina on her WedLuxe tablescape, which was a gorgeous modern design with a cool grey, white and yellow colour scheme. We provided an invitation for display as well as screenprinted acrylic menus, oversize place cards (the ladies’ were embellished with handmade paper peonies), a table number printed on vellum which was wrapped around one of the centerpiece vases, and adorable clear packages with sequin “confetti”. I’ll even let you on a secret – the colour scheme and the printed items were actually based around Malvina’s new Fabulous Occasions logo and branding, and the tablescape created lots of buzz – especially our see-through menus, printed in white on clear acrylic, with a pop of bright yellow.

Here’s a photo from the show of the tablescape:

Photo by Verve Photo Co. via Wedluxe

And a closeup showing a bit more of our stationery designed especially for the show:

Photo by Tyler James Photography via Toronto Wedding Society

When we were asked to provide a stationery giveaway for the Wedluxe Beauty Boutique about 1000 ideas ran through my head, but I settled on something I knew every couple needs lots of  – versatile cards that can be used for thank yous, personal notes, etc. I asked talented calligrapher Laura Lavender to create some beautiful lettering (which said “From The Bride and Groom”) which we had letterpress printed in grey on a heavy cotton cardstock. We packaged them up with silver envelopes and tied them with an amazing peacock blue velvet ribbon and one of our brand new business cards. Hopefully the brides who were able to score a set put them to good use!

Here’s a photo where you can see our cards amongst the swag (top left):

Photo via WeddingObsession.com

We had a great time at the show, showing off our custom designs including silk box and silk folio invites and some of our most popular custom designs. We had amazing feedback from both brides and other vendors (and we had great neighbours – Alex from Life Images Photography and Konstadin from Cakes by Konstadin, and at the end of the day I was totally exhausted but so happy!

After the show, it was so fun to catch up with all the blogs that featured our work (both from our own booth and our collaboration with Fabulous Occasions).

Here’s a list of some of the blogs that featured us in their WedLuxe coverage (thanks all!):

The Wedding Blog by Devoted to You Wedding Planners

Wedding Obsession

Belle Amour

Holly Matrimony Weddings

Briderella

Gush Weddings and Events

Katia Trudeau

For some amazing photos from the event, check out the WedLuxe blog, which featured eight posts of amazing photos!

And last but not least, so you can’t say I never post any photos of myself, here’s one taken by the amazing Corina of Corina V. Photography when she visited the show:

See ya next year WedLuxe Wedding Show – we’ll definitely be back!

PS – Be sure to check back next week on Wednesday when I’ll have a recap of our show promo pieces – our new business cards, our stationery giveaway and our promo packages. Guaranteed eye candy!

Day 29, 2011: Wedding Invitation Trends 2012 – Eco-Friendly

December 29, 2011 § Leave a comment

Aspen invitation suite by Bloomin’ Invitations

Eco-friendly is certainly a buzzword these days, and it is definitely emerging as a trend in the wedding world – although describing it as a trend may not be the best fit, as we may very well see the eco-movement change the world of weddings in the coming years. But for now, just work with me – we’ll consider it a trend; call it eco-friendly, green, environmentally responsible or any number of other things, but a growing number of couples are placing greater importance on how the products (and services in some cases) they purchase for their big day are manufactured, and issues of biodegradability, sustainability, recycling etc.

Paper is certainly a big one on that list – traditional paper is produced from trees and processed with chemicals etc.  In response to customer demand there are a growing number of paper manufacturers who are changing they way they process their papers, and providing more options with recycled content (there are now a number of 100% recycled stocks out there that are perfect for use on invitations projects), as well as interest in related paper materials that are much “greener” than traditional papers – things like seeded paper, wood veneer and bamboo/cotton papers.

Seeded paper (shown above in the suite from Bloomin’ Invitations) is made from 100% recycled, post-consumer paper and embedded with wildflower seeds. At Bloomin’, they actually print their seeded paper with natural biodegradable inks that do not compromise the seed’s ability to grow, and all of their cardstock is FSC-certified. Not only that, but since 2010 they have been using a complete 30kW solar energy system, which offsets all of the power used.

Wood veneer is available from a number of sources and is a much more eco-responsible choice as it does not require the breakdown and chemical processing of standard papers – it’s simply a thinly-sliced sheet of real, natural untreated wood.

There are also beautiful cotton and bamboo papers available, which allow you to choose a completely tree-free options. Cotton papers are generally made from recycled content (for example, Crane Lettra – a favourite for letterpress printing – is made from reclaimed cotton fibers from the fashion industry) and bamboo papers are made from fast-growing bamboo fibers, which are a much more quickly renewable resource.

There are also eco-friendly printing options out there as well, with printers available that can print from vegetable-based dyes etc.

While I recognize, of course, that e-mail and digital invitations can also fall into this eco-friendly category, but there are so many eco-responsible choices out there that I’d like to think it’s easy these days to choose a invitation that is beautiful, personal, easy on the environment and still tangible (after all, showing your grandkids an email of your wedding invitation just isn’t quite the same).

Day 28, 2011: Wedding Invitation Trends 2012 – Unusual Materials

December 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Copperfield invitation suite by Twig & Fig

An emerging trend in the high-end/luxury invitation world in 2011 was using unusual materials and textures in invitations suites – everything from metal and acrylic to wood and fabric, there seemed to be an endless supply of unique invitation eye-candy out there. I’m definitely not complaining – I love the idea of using unusual papers and other materials in creating invitations, and it’s these types of invites that will definitely surprise and delight your guests.

Consider the invite above, created by the über-creative Twig and Fig. The Copperfield suite is screen-printed on rusted metal with a wood backer and suede envelope, and the matching program fan has a laser-cut (which you’ll be seeing more of in 2012 as well) wood cover and leather/brass fastener – a rustic and beautiful mix of completely unexpected materials and textures. Twig and Fig are masters of using amazing specialty papers and unique materials in their couture invitations, providing a big impact for clients and their guests.

Obviously, when considering new and different materials, cost is certainly a factor – in many cases, non-paper materials can only be printed by certain specialty processes. For example, things like screen printing and laser-engraving both tend to work well on a variety of substrates, but will definitely add to the cost of your wedding invitation suite. Add to that the actual cost of the material itself, and it’s no wonder that this trend has pretty much stayed within the upper-echelons of custom invitations.

But, I think that in 2012, we’ll see that trend “trickle down” a bit to more mainstream invitations, and as some of these print processes become more common for wedding invitations and more widely available, you’ll likely begin to see things like wood veneer and acrylic used more often in both custom and album invitations as well.

Looking to incorporate this trend into your wedding invitations, but working with a modest budget? Concentrate on specialty papers that have the “look” of other materials (like shiny crocodile skin paper or thin cork veneer), and use them as accents with your invitation printed on a standard paper. Or, incorporate other materials as embellishments – use shells, paper flowers, wooden buttons – anything that makes sense with your overall theme and design.

Day 27, 2011: Wedding Invitation Trends 2012 – Pattern

December 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ikaty invitation suite by Bella Figura

Pattern definitely became a trend in the world of stationery and invitations in 2011, and I think you’ll see it emerge in the wedding industry overall in 2012.

There were a few that were suddenly everywhere when it came to paper goods in 2011 – chevron, quatrefoil and ikat (and yes, the ever-present damask was still hanging around as well). It’s not so much *which* patterns are used, but how they are incorporated, and I think you’ll see all sorts of patterns showing up on invitations over the next year.

It’s my fervent hope that damask takes a break in 2011, but I think the others will continue to be popular (and more mainstream) in 2012, not just in paper good for weddings, but as part of overall wedding decor. I think we’ll see patterned used more overall when it comes to cakes, linens, lighting etc.

We’ll also see a variety of options as to where those patterns are placed – not just on invitations or on envelope liners, but on insert cards, on envelopes themselves, on the backside of printed cards, as belly bands, as part of wedding signage…well, I could go on, but you get the idea!

So, what other patterns might be emerging in 2012?

Trends in weddings and paper goods do often follow those in fashion and home decor, so you’re likely to see the emergence of soft florals (think watercolour, impressionist etc.), strong geometrics (colour-block, line-art etc.) and ethnic and culturally-based patterns (batik, tribal etc.), adding to the continued strong showing of small geometric based patterns.

Care for a peek at one that I know is going to be a fave in 2012?

from Envelopments.com

The beautiful pattern above is Trellis, one of the brand new patterns from Envelopments for 2012, and features hand-painted art by the amazing Kristy Rice of Momental Designs. Can’t wait to use this for one of our 2012 brides!

Day 26, 2011: Wedding Invitation Trends for 2012 – Colours

December 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

My favourite series of posts during last years original 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December was on wedding invitations trends for 2011, sooooo – I thought we’d revisit the same topic again during this year’s 31 Days (of Blogging) Hath December: The Redux, and talk about some trends for 2012.

As an aside, and not to toot my own horn *but*…I think we were pretty dead-on last year about the invitation trends that would take over in 2011 ;)

First up this year, we’re talking colour (and boy do I love talking about it). And what better place to start than with Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Tangerine Tango:

Pantone are the defacto colour experts, and their pick for this year’s hot colour is this hot red-orange. Interestingly, it pairs really well with another colour I think will be hot this year, which is teal – gorgeous colour combo, bright and dramatic!

I think in the wedding world (including invitations) there are always really three “groups” of colours – brights, pastels and neturals.

For 2012, I think brights will be coming back in a big way. We’ve had a few years of pastels and neutrals (and metallics) really leading the way, especially with the rustic/vintage trends happening at the same time, but I think 2012 will see trends shift slightly back towards more modern weddings, making way for some big, bright and bold colours.

Expect to see clear, bright tones – rather than rich ones – I think that orange will become hot and yellow will stay hot as well, and I definitely think we’ll be seeing teal become quite popular, as well as pink and red being used in more adventurous and unexpected colour combinations. I think purple and blue may be the two exceptions this year, with the hot colours tending towards deeper and warmer tones – think fig instead of amethyst or navy instead of sapphire.

Pastels are still going to be a contender in 2012 though, don’t count them out. I think you’ll continue to see pastels used as part of a greater overall colour scheme, rather than as a single overriding colour. Vintage and rustic themes will continue to be popular in 2012, which lend themselves easily to dusty pastel combinations – think rose, peach and sage green, as an example – and I think we’ll continue to see pastels used in palettes that combine multiple soft colours and textures to achieve a more natural look.

Neutrals never go out of style, but I think we may see a shift in the kinds of naturals that are being mixed into colour schemes this year. While the trend has been brown, grey and soft taupe and beige, I think we’ll be seeing a shift towards cleaner neutrals – bright white instead of off-white or cream, black instead of brown. Grey and navy will still continue to be popular, but they likely won’t be 2012’s main neutrals.

While I think that the rustic/vintage trend will continue to be fairly strong in 2012, I think we will be starting to see it decline and a more modern aesthetic re-emerge.  With that shift towards more modern affairs (both casual and formal), we’re likely to see a lot of bold and dramatic colour combinations this year – and I can’t wait!

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