Friday, June 12, 2009


If you're like me, you are sick and tired of hearing about how bad the economy is. Yes, it's bad but I'm a big believer in scarcity breeding creativity. A couple of my recent bridal clients were very creative where their invitations were concerned. They knew they wanted letterpress invitations but could not justify the whole of their wedding stationery to be letterpress, so they chose to be creative in their approach to their invitations. There is a common misconception out there that letterpress is nothing less than a luxury option for invitations. I would hate to think of a bride dismissing out of hand the opportunity to have a letterpress wedding invitation just because she thinks it's out of her budget. Yes, letterpress is often not a budget option, but there are ways of saving money and getting what you want. Here are a few tips:

  • Do your research. This is hinted at above but I'll say it as clearly as I can: Don't assume that letterpress is out of your budget. Talk to a few designers/printers and go through the entire estimating process with them. Be up front about what you want, what your budget is and be open to new ideas. Armato Design & Press {ADP} welcomes all opportunities to talk to brides about what they want their invitation to be. If you tell me what you want and what you can afford, I am happy to try to find solutions that fit. I, and a lot of businesses like mine, give free estimates. If I can't come up with something for you, the only thing you've spent is the time it takes to email me. That's it, no commitment. But what if I can come up with a solution that is creative, beautiful AND fits in your budget? The moral of the story: it doesn't hurt to ask.
  • Choose a semi-custom design rather than a custom design. Here are mine. The invitation above was created because the bride liked the bird design I had on one of my note card designs. Since the bird already existed, the only design time that was involved was the layout of the wording. If it's not from scratch you will save money but still stand to get a highly unique letterpress invitation.
  • Skip the reply card. This is what the two brides I refer to above chose to do. One put a reply line with a web site directly on the invitation. The other {above} chose to order pre-cut cards from me to print her own reply cards. She then asked if I would supply a digital file of the bird {which I was happy to do} so she could print it on her reply cards, favors, etc. Both brides not only got the invitation they wanted, but got a two color invitation at that.
  • Skimp on color without skimping on color. In letterpress, the more colors you have the more expensive the invitation is going to be. So go with one color for the invitation and a different color for the reply card. A great way to add another color is to have a coordinating or contrasting colored envelope for the invitation and another for the reply. It adds color without adding cost.
  • Two words: Reply postcard.
  • Skip the printed envelopes. Instead invest in a rubber stamp. Some brides are afraid that the stamp won't be completely straight on the envelope. To avoid this go all out and tilt the stamp so the "crooked-ness" looks purposeful. You could even place the stamp on the lower right corner of the envelope. You won't have to center it and it looks very artistic. Another note on the stamp: as your designer I would be happy to send you a digital file of your return address so you can have a stamp made. As long as it doesn't take a ton of time, this is an easy add-on.
  • Start early to avoid rush charges. Invitations should be sent 6-8 weeks before the wedding. I ask for 3 weeks from final art approval to delivery for printing time. If you are doing semi-custom invitations you will need another week or two for design time. So for a semi-custom design you should allow yourself 11 to 13 weeks before the wedding date. Yes, that's about 3 months. FYI, if you are doing custom design it's best to add another 4 weeks on to that.
And if all else fails,
  • Consider flat {offset} printing. No, it is not letterpress but, if you just can't find a way to fit letterpress into your budget, flat printing is a nice option. You can still have a beautiful design and gorgeous paper for your wedding stationery. And adding a metallic ink or a die cut can add unique qualities to your stationery while staying within your budget. More on this later.
There you have it. Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about letterpress or the design process. I am always happy to figure out creative ways of getting my clients what they want for their wedding stationery. It's my job and I absolutely love it.

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