Archive for the ‘Event & Party Invitations’ Category

laser die cut cage for wedding invitation

We were commissioned to print the letterpress wedding invitations for a Canadian couple. It’s a little convoluted, this story, because the pedigree of these invitations spans a continent, borders and imagination: The designer (Nicole at Duly Noted) and the stationery store (Duly Noted, in Halifax, Nova Scotia) are in Canada, as is the laser-cutting company that accomplished the incredibly complicated filigree seen above (Laser Creative in Ontario, Canada). They gave me permission to put their photos on my blog. The part played here at Studio Z Mendocino in northern California was to print the invitations and the Rsvps and Rsvp envelopes on very thick white paper in gold foil and black ink. I think it’s incredible and extraordinary in every way, and honestly I wish i had designed it! How utterly gorgeous can you get?

Here is the Rsvp and Envelope. All pieces were printed by Rhea Rynearson on Heidelberg Windmill presses. Black pieces were laser cut at Laser Creative.

Rsvp and envelope

Rsvp and envelope


InvitationInvitations and Rsvps were printed on 600 gram Lettra.

Closeup of invitation

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I love love love Annette Thurmon’s wedding dress designs. They are sooo dreamy and gorgeous, and I am lucky to say that Annette is also a dreamy and gorgeous client of mine.

I got to work with Annette when I did her business cards a while back, and today she posted an interview with me on her beautiful website: Chaviano Couture.

I hope you will go see her beautiful designs and read my interview!

xo Zida



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Three color letterpress folders: gray, black and papaya colored inks on 300 gram white Cranes Lettra . Papaya envelopes with a jazzy stamp. A fabulous menu and guest list.

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It’s not too early to start planning your Kentucky Derby party for 2012. I know, Animal Kingdom has hardly stopped sweating, but believe me, a Kentucky Derby party worth its julep is going to take lots of creativity and lining things up in advance. You don’t want to get down to the wire and suddenly find the best party planners have already been booked, or that the guests you counted on have already responded to another save-the-date.

You might want to emulate this invitation we created to a Kentucky-Derby-theme birthday party that happened last December here in California. We printed them letterpress on super thick white paper, which we mounted to a gorgeous, deep red backing sheet. That formed a frame and gave the piece even more presence. Then we put it into a deep red BOX. The mailing labels mimicked the horse theme and we tied the whole thing up with a skinny little brown ROPE. We included also in the box instructions about its being a surprise party, and a directions-to-the-venue card. Everything went into a FedEx box and was delivered one-day-air.

The tickets were also printed letterpress on the same super-thick white stock, replete with a perforated stub to make them look even more official. I love the idea that they were sent in a subsequent mailing in #10 Cranes square flap envelopes, which only added to the anticipation for all the fun.

.The party was a hit and everything went off without a hitch, so to speak. Perfect food and drinks, perfect place, perfect guest list, perfect everything. And it was a complete surprise. A perfect winner.

We have been doing lots of wedding invitations in boxes over the last few years, and the idea in this post can be adapted to any number of party or reception themes. Boxes come in a big array of colors and we can choose gorgeous contrasting ribbons to tie them up and an infinity of different ways to make them uniquely your own.

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I don’t usually recommend that photographers use one of their photos on business cards, no matter how amazing. I think it limits what you do to that one image in people’s minds and, as we all know, there is SO much more to the range of work you do. When Elizabeth Perkins, a photographer from Roanoake, Virginia came to me for a new logo, business cards, and stationery wardrobe, she sent me a collection of images to let me get a feeling for what her work is like. One image, a stairway she shot in England, captivated me for some reason and I decided i wanted to use it and see what we could do to adapt if for Letterpress Printing. The singular image had to be turned into a one-color, fairly coarse halftone that could be made into a letterpress polymer plate and printed on black paper. This meant we had to print the negative image in order to make it look positive on the black paper. I know those reading this far are probably mostly photographers, so you can get your mind around this, yes? OK, then we printed it in white ink, so there was a bit of bleed-through from the extra-ultra-thick, black Museum Mount paper, creating something rather elegantly gnarly. Well, how can i explain this? We followed this up by printing the logo I designed for her in gold foil, with the contact information on the back also in gold foil.

I have to say, this is one of the most arresting business cards we have ever done. It has everything: a gorgeous but not too literal bit of Elizabeth’s work translated to something iconic; elegant typography; drama;Artfulness, and everything but a steak and mashed potatoes for utter satisfying gorgeousness. If I do say so myself.

Before Elizabeth and husband Jeff opened her shop in Roanoake, they also wanted us to send letterhead, envelopes, invoices, tags to hang or put up near the photographs, mailing labels and thank you cards.Here are her script cards and envelopes:

And above, her tags.

Below, one of her receipts, a correspondence card and hang tags.

They told me the opening was a grand success, with many well wishers, lots of excitement and even a few sales. I only wish i could have been there too to celebrate with them. Doing a job of this scope makes me feel like such a participant!

It was immeasurably fun to work through all this as Elizabeth’s plans developed and evolved over time. Finding something that expressed her personality and style … it’s one of the most pleasurable aspects of doing my work. The experimental nature of always pushing things a bit further than they have gone, too, makes me very happy. This project opens up a whole new conversation about images and letterpress printing. Working on the next experiment right now.

Congratulations Elizabeth, on your new shop. Thank you for allowing me to work on all this with you.

All photos by Pablo Abuliak

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Our friends, India and Luke, had their east coast friend, graphic maven Su Barber, design their wedding invitations, which we printed on the venerable letterpresses at our shop here in Fort Bragg, California. The bi-coastal effort resulted in this invitation that we all love. We flew out east and, after stopping in NYC for a couple of days and seeing the musical South Pacific, at Lincoln Center, drove up into New England to join friends and family for the sweet, joyful mid-summer event.

We loved the warm yellow, mandala-like flower they used for the front panel, which matched, among other details, the dresses India hand dyed with turmeric for all the flower girls. Stately typography in black ink got everyone to the backyard on time.

It was a warm, sunny pre-fall day and the garden setting could not have been more inviting. Welcoming, gorgeous people, a wonderful ceremony,  perfect, bright-tasting food, and the most hilarious toasts we ever heard at a wedding, or anywhere else for that matter, preceded dancing in the barn.

They say many hands make light work, which is not necessarily always true, but in this case, many hands certainly made loving work for dear friends on their unforgettable day.

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Meg and Mark have a love story of locomotive proportions that spans decades, miles, and defies probability. To celebrate it in appropriate style, they are having not one, but two events. The first will take place in New York City, small and private, followed by a romantic cross-country train ride to Astoria, Oregon. There, they will board a little trolley, with friends and family, that will take them all to a gala brunch at Gunderson’s Cannery Cafe. Epic!

We loosely based their 4 x 9 invitation on a train ticket. Meg even had me run a line of (seemingly) random numbers and letters, upside down, across the top. Actually, every single figure there has a meaning to the couple. After she received the invitations, she took out her special Conductor’s Hole Punch and put it to work making it look even more ticket-like.

We used Somerset English watercolor paper for its beautiful texture and almost-white color, printed it in black ink, and a red ink that exactly matches the trolley’s paint. Then Meg used her famous creativity for the envelopes, some of which were RED and a few special ones she’d been saving for 24 years. She had custom stamps made with a picture of them walking down the train tracks with Tasha, her most beautiful dog, for the perfect finishing touch.

Everyone is so happy for this amazing union.

Meg sent me an email the other day:

Everyone is starting to get them now, and they love them!  My friend wrote; “THAT IS THE GREATEST WEDDING INVITATION I’VE EVER GOTTEN!!!!! It’s beautiful!! Yay!!!! Oh my GOSH. It’s exquisite!!!”

Happy Trails to Meg and Mark!

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Studio Z Mendocino was very pleased and honored to be one of the sponsors of napcp’s fantastic photography retreat at the Meritage, in Napa, California last month. I got to go over and make a small presentation and then to meet so many fabulous Children’s Photographers. Schmoozing was of the utmost during our bus ride to the wine tastings after breakfast. Alice sent me these shots of the pieces we provided to the event, designed by the amazing Jane Johnson.

One of my favorite things, among many things, about the retreat, was getting to meet THREE of my clients in person. Alice Gung Park, Jane Johnson and Eydie Nelson.

Alice wanted to show how thoughtful details mean so much to the success of an event or a business. Our letterpress printed programs, place cards and thank you notes, printed on premium papers in three colors, reiterated their brand and their attention to every beautiful thing. And of course, their big round business cards were a hit. What does printing say about your brand and you…a lot, without speaking a word!

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photos by Pablo Abuliak

I hardly need say more than this: From Leah Garchik‘s column yesterday:

The birthday of Denise Hale – a date carved in marble, but whoops, the sculptor forgot the year – was celebrated Saturday night with a masked ball hosted by interior designer Ken Fulk and Kurt Wootton at their goth, glitz ‘n’ glam Seventh Street digs, which, as several knowing guests noted, used to be the home of Mr. S Leather. This was not a fundraiser but did mark the creation of the Denise Hale Fund at the San Francisco SPCA. One in the row of strapped, shaven and bare-chested guys arrayed at the party entrance said he was there for charity. The designer himself had paid taxidermic homage to all God’s creatures in decorating accessories that included zebra skin, antelope heads and a giraffe. (Since I am fond of these things myself, we’ll assume they died of gallbladder conditions.)

Over the course of the evening, the crowd morphed, beginning with society/civic power players who were mostly the honoree’s pals (among them the Newsoms, the Gascons, Mark Leno, Michael Tilson Thomas and Joshua Robison, Ann Getty, Jo Schuman Silver, Nancy Oakes and Bruce Aidells), and moving toward Fulk and Wootton’s South of Market pals, including the entire cast of “Pearls Over Shanghai,” who arrived, still in full costume and makeup, just before midnight. Picture fishnets, glitter, bustiers, sequins, rhinestones, more, and you still haven’t pictured enough. If there had been an accidental spill of mascara on the way there, the environmental disaster would have been big enough to cover the state of Texas.

Framed images of the honoree abounded on tabletops, along with clusters of candles and huge bouquets of white lilies. Paula LeDuc catered, and the drink of choice was the Halestorm: basil-infused vodka, lime juice, branch of thyme; the honoree wore Ralph Rucci. On the middle floor, Connie Champagne, Paula West and Fauxnique sang. On the top floor, Hale stood just inside the balcony – wherein a silken tent had been built – surveying the masses, most of whom were dancing to a DJ.

The beat throbbed; glasses crashed; revelers screamed. Forget soiree, this was a party.

Studio Z Mendocino was honored to be the letterpress printer who did up the incredibly fabulous invitations that San Francisco design firm,  Markatos Moore, created for the party of this century, so far. Then, even more fabulously, we got to GO TO THE PARTY.
But I am talking here about the invitations, so let me go on. And on…
OK, they were insanely fabulous. The talented Markatos Moore design team had us print the invitations on big squares of 300 gram Cranes Lettra. Classically pertinent Roman type, black ink, understatement, understatement, understatement. THEN…EYES, looking at you. THEN a mask pinned just to reveal the eyes looking at you.
Invitations arrived in a big square envelope with the tails of the mask folded over just so; as the tails dropped away: the gaze. The custom stamp was a vintage photo of the extraordinary doyenne of international and San Francisco society, Mrs. Denise Hale. Oh, it was too much. No, it was exactly perfect. The restrained typography married to the surprise ogling perfectly initiated guests into the excitingly juxtaposed experience of the party itself, as described by Leah G above.

We also made up presents for the revelers to take home that encouraged them to visit the SFSPCA web site to contribute to the fund. We created a dapper little masked doggy, printed in black ink and gold foil, who reminded them of all the animals who benefit from the services of the SF Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: “Darling! Rescue Me!”
He was given out to departing guests along with a CD of the dance music they’d just danced to and a few of our Ladies Who Lunch cards — Let the schmoozing continue!
To the beyond-fabulous host, Ken Fulk (whose birthday, I hear, is today) and Kurt Wootton, honoree, Mrs. Denise Hale, to the sublime Creative-at-Large, Nelson Bloncourt, to Peter Markatos|Tyler Moore design team, I second our doggy’s emotion: Thank you for throwing us a Ball.
Gorgeous photos of the madcap Ball may be viewed at http://megmessina.com/

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