I think by now you all have begun to realize just what Wednesdays around the D.Coop Bloggie means. If you guessed me trying to get out of working and not writing then I think you guessed Write! And for those of you that caught my grammatical blunder in that last sentence, shame on you for criticizing. There isn’t much that you can say to a guy who is still in his pajamas. At least I’m not sleeping in the nude. How’s that for a visual image? HA!
Alright alright… since I didn’t want to get out of the warmth of my toasty bed I asked my dear friend Angel of Write Robinson Couture Stationery to put together a little post for me. You know I love all things design. And what is better than design? Getting into the heads of designers.
Pour yourself a little French Press, sit back, and enjoy digging deep into the zany workings of a stationery designer!
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Design by Any Other Name
– Angel Robinson
When I first joined twitter, I had no idea what I was doing or who I would meet or even how to meet people. In the years since, my twitter community has grown to include many remarkably talented people, most of whom are interior designers (edit: I did not ask Angel to put this in, though I assume it’s about me!). Because Brandon asked me to grace his bloggie, I decided to take this opportunity to discuss my design process.
The way I begin to create stationery is no different than the considerations taken to create a great room. The first, most critical examination, comes at the beginning when I must decide what I want the end result to feel like. Emotions are a huge part of how I gauge a project’s success. When I’m designing a collection or working with a private client, I have to know the desired emotion and work towards that goal.
Step One: How do you want to feel?
When I begin a project and start looking through my vast collection of papers or sourcing new ones, I let the emotional end result play an equal role to the consideration of color and style.
Because stationery is inherently a product you give away, it’s important to know how you want that note to represent you. What will the recipient think and feel when they receive it? Will they they feel happy and regard you fondly or will they question what were YOU thinking?
Step Two: Experiment and Play
This part is kind of my favorite. Okay it is my favorite. It’s the part where I get to play. In the same way that interior designers create mood boards for rooms, I do the same thing for stationery. I pull together various elements that may make the final design: papers, ribbons, decorative papers, envelope styles, etc. I mix and match elements until I decide on options that feel right.
As technology expands, there are now fantastic digital tools I can use to create mood boards online and easily send a link to my clients for their input. This is a whole new world, but one that I’m looking forward to using more heavily in my business.
Digital mood boards, such as Olioboard, bring the client closer to the design process like never before.
Step Three: Consider Texture
Stationery is a tactile product. I believe it has to excite the sense of touch as well as sight. All of the elements combine to create emotion so each much be equally as strong whether they play a primary or supporting role in the design. I always consider it a complement when clients tell me how much they love just touching their stationery.
Step Four: Does it serve the purpose?
How many times have you seen a commercial, loved it, and couldn’t remember what product it was selling? I see that a lot in graphic design and stationery design. I never want the sum total of the elements to overtake the purpose of the stationery. Invitations should never be so convoluted as to confuse the receiver. My motto is: Simple, Pretty, Elegant. If the invitations don’t meet that criteria, they do not work for me. If the stationery is so over designed that the actual handwriting isn’t the best element, then then the card doesn’t work.
Step Five: Put it all together and feel the love
As I’ve mentioned on my blog, I send thank you notes to clients quite frequently. I usually say that “I hope you love these cards as much as I do.” I don’t mean it to be self-aggrandizing. What I know to be true is that no stationery design leaves my studio if I haven’t fallen in love with it. I truly want my clients to love the finished product because I want them to be proud to give it away when they write notes and letters.
Therefore, at the end of the process, when all the elements are put together, I ask myself if it satisfies the emotional need, if it delights the eye, and if it’s pleasurable to touch. If the answers are yes, I know the design is finished. And that is my greatest joy.
Visit Angel at her awesomesomesauce online store, Writerobinson, and buy some stationery already! You know you want it. You need it. No I don’t get a kickback. Just lots of love. And conversations involving a little Southern gossip.
All images courtesy WriteRobinson and cannot be reproduced without permission.