DOWNTOWN FOR KIDS!


Welcome to my new Downtown for Kids! column. I’m so glad you’re here!


A little more than a year ago I had my first child, a baby girl named Maeve. At the time I was a thirty-something designer/writer living in downtown Chapel Hill. When my daughter was born I began to see everything through a new lens, including my community and neighborhood. And as a “stay-at-home mom” to a little one obsessed with being outdoors and downtown strolls, I began to explore my community with a newfound sense of excitement.

Seeing the Triangle through a new set of eyes made the place I’ve lived for nearly three decades seem exciting and fresh. My goal for this column is to create fun and unique itineraries for active parents, grandparents or caregivers in the Triangle, with an emphasis on its downtowns. Fostering a sense community pride while encouraging fun, simple bonding time with the little ones in your life is my aim. I hope you enjoy reading this column as much as I have loved creating it! xo


REAL PLY WEDDING: LIA + ROB






















Perfection. Stay tuned for more on this beautiful Fearrington Village wedding (including a behind the scenes look at Lia + Rob's custom invitations).

Photos by Graham Terhune Photography

BEHIND THE DESIGN: REBEKAH'S FOIL WEDDING STATIONERY


Welcome to another Behind the Design feature, where I share a behind-the-scenes look at the process, from conception to delivery, behind my very favorite projects. Working with Rebekah on her wedding stationery was truly a highlight of my design career. And here's why: Rebekah is one of those rare dream clients who has impeccable taste, desires something totally unique, is completely open to ideas, and pushed me to be a better designer.

For her wedding stationery, Rebekah wanted to use gold foil (and lots of it!) stamped on blush pink stock. She wanted to include confetti/polka dots and bow tie motifs in the design. She wanted a modern southern belle vibe and wanted everything printed on extremely thick stock. Below are some inspirational images I gathered while working with Rebekah...


The silver foil save the date (top right) and invitation (center) were mine. Rebekah loved the save the date because it was all foil and the design was original and whimsical. She liked the invitation for the same reasons, but mostly because it was foil stamped on the thickest, richest stock available. It's a heavy, expensive invitation. And feels so good to hold.

Like all custom projects, Rebekah's came with a few challenges. Remember, custom is another word for never-been-done-before so every custom project includes a few unknowns. The main challenge in Rebekah's case was finding a very thick pink stock, in the exact shade Rebekah wanted. Finding pink stock is not a problem, but finding extremely thick stock in an exact shade (or even close to her preferred shade) was impossible. And while I could have had a white stock flat printed in the pink shade of her choice, because she wanted such thick stock, having it run through a flat/digital printer wasn't possible. So that wasn't an option either.

Our solution? Use blush pink stock for the envelopes but use white stock for the invitations, reply cards and info cards. This worked because a thick invitation was a priority, and we were able to bring in the pink on her envelopes. It was the perfect compromise for this project, and I really think the final design benefitted from the use of the two stocks within this suite. It was just more dynamic in the end.

After meeting with Rebekah several times to discuss design and stock choices, I created an initial round of invitations proofs. Here are a few of my favorites from this proof round...


I love the option above because it's so bold. The calligraphy is thick which means the gold foil would be dramatic. And I loved the confetti bleeding off just two corners of the design. We decided to use just confetti motifs on the invitations, and we would bring in others (like bows and bow ties) on the envelopes, reply cards and info cards.


I also love the option above because it seems a little more chic/formal. I love the masculine block font paired with the whispery calligraphy, and how the copy is centered on the card. I also love the confetti on the top quarter of the invitation. It reminds me of champagne bubbles.


The design above is the one Rebekah ultimately chose for her invitations, and I'm so glad she did! It really does use some of the best features of the previous two designs. I love the copy centered, and the use of the confetti in the corners. The calligraphy looks the most classic of the three designs. It's elegant but still thick enough for the gold foil to really pop off the card. Finally, in this design, I used various sizes of confetti to add interest. It's dramatic, but elegant.


Once Rebekah chose an invitation style, we got to work on the rest of the design. All of the other pieces in her suite (other than her invitations) feature bows and bow ties in different styles. I love this charming detail and wanted to get it just right for Rebekah, so I presented a plethora of styles (see above) for her to choose from. And this was one of the most fun parts of the design process!



Finally, Rebekah also wanted to include some special motifs on her info cards. These motifs included a picnic basket with a baguette and wine inside, a pair of ants (!!!) and a pineapple. See why this is one of my favorite projects??? But I wanted every detail to be perfect, so I even obsessed over the pineapple style (see above).


Once we finalized all of the design, we had the entire suite foil stamped in a classic gold foil. And you guys. I'm so proud of how it turned out. Truly breathtaking in person (if you're the kind of person, like me, who allows a gorgeous print job to take your breath away - ha - but you know what I mean)!

Oh, and I don't have any photos of them here, but Rebekah's envelopes are all lined with the most exquisite gold glitter enveloper liners. Which really took them over the top. Wow.


 And finally, once her invitation suites were complete, Rebekah and I worked together to design coordinating menus inspired by her invitations.


We pulled in many elements from her invitation suite (the same bows, confetti and fonts were used), but we had them digitally printed (instead of foil stamped) to keep costs down. And they were gorgeous.


Thank you so much, Rebekah, for being such an amazing client and inspiration. I'm so lucky to have met and got to work with you! xo

If you like this post, you can see more of my Behind the Design posts right here.

photos (except for the inspiration collage) by Bronwyn Duffield Photography