I Forgot to Post – Part 2, Kissa and Charlie’s Wedding Invites

This set of invitations I hold very near and dear to my heart. Not only was it a labor of love, but it was one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever taken on. And of course, those wedding invitations were ours. Looking back at this experience, I remembered Charlie and I racking our brains night after night trying to make these invites “perfect.” There were a few bumps in the road here and there, but in the end we were so happy with the way they turned out!

As graphic designers, we were more than excited to churn these bad boys out. Way before they needed to be sent out (we’re talking years!) we were already discussing what type of invitation we were going to do. As time went on the design changed – we scrapped ideas, added new ones, started over completely, you name it! Lucky for us, Envelopments (we <3 them!!!) released the perfect color for our outer “pocket.” That rich teal was exactly what we were looking for, hallelujah! We wanted the invite to make a statement right when our guests opened up the envelope. On top of the texture and color, we added a belly band with a blind emboss of our wedding logo at the base. The band also acted as a holder for the tons of cards  we had to hold on the inside.

No detail was overlooked with these invites. Every single detail was personalized, even the outer envelope got a beautiful patterned chocolate brown liner, a blind emboss of our logo, and carefully set typography for the return and mailing addresses.

On the back side of our pocket, we hand-adhered a chocolate brown pattern that matched the envelope liners to create a dual tone. This stage of the invitations was probably the most difficult and detailed of all. Since our invites was a custom size we spray mounted the brown stock to the teal cover, cut it so they would be flush to the edge, and scored/folded each one by hand. If we were off by even 1/8″ the rest of the invitation would not sit properly inside. This gave us a beautiful background for the white linen cards that would be mounted on top.

We knew we wanted to take advantage of every inch of the invite, so we got creative with the ideas.

We included a favorite bible verse to the left, our typography-inspired invite card in the middle, and the information/bridal party/sponsor/RSVP cards to the very right. In our culture, it’s a tradition to mention your wedding party and primary and secondary sponsors in the invitation. The only thing is, this was a huge dilemma to us! We didn’t want the invite to be too daunting but we also felt it was important to have the certain traditions in our culture. So, something had to give. We gave in and made 4 insert cards. I know, it’s a bit much but we still wanted it to look visually appealing while including all that information. It wasn’t an easy task, but we made it work – thank goodness! They were loosely binded by the RSVP envelope and held in place by our belly band.

The invite card was printed on a linen card stock and mounted on the beautiful teal that we used for the outside of the invite.

The information cards were printed on the same linen card stock and then mounted on a smooth chocolate card.

One of my favorite parts of this invite? OUR BELLY BAND! We wanted to give it more than functionality. We wanted to give it a little pizzazz! If you saw our save the date cards, we included a little pictogram to keep people intrigued about our cards. We decided to continue that concept in our invites and thought it was the absolute perfect place for our 2nd pictogram. Can you solve the puzzle?

As an invitation designer, I’d say this was the most difficult job I have done. It was so involved – the amount of work, the labor, the designing, the production planning, and the emotion. But in spite of all that, it is probably one of the pieces I’m most proud of. The hard work and time was well worth it after we saw the final product with our own eyes. Knowing that this piece was shared with our closest friends and family was truly a blessing and honor.

I Forgot to Share – Part 1, Jesse’s Birthday Invitions

Somehow, in the midst of planning my wedding (with my 2 planners, of course) I was able to work as an office manager, work at Ninong’s, and run CO. I don’t know how I did it, and quite honestly, all I remember is being exhausted ALL.THE.TIME. But I did do it, and part of my escape was designing. It was always fun working with clients and coming up with new designs. I love working with them and coming up with the concept that best suits their personality. And sifting through the endless color swatches, paper samples, fonts….OMG – that was the best part of it all!

But, because of my absolutely hectic schedule I didn’t get to share any of the projects I did! So here we go, a flashback into some of my favorite pieces from 2011. 🙂 Let’s start with these. Jesse’s birthday invitations.

I remember talking with Jesse when she started planning her 18th birthday and remember how excited she was. Turning 18 is a huge deal in our culture and in life. Transitioning from high school to college, moving into adulthood, and enjoying her graduation were all upon her. See! I tell ya, it’s a very overwhelming time; I know I was when I was her age. She has a very bright and airy side of her. She’s very friendly, always smiling, and is full of ambition. So, after a few meetings we started to design her invites.

When it came to selecting the right paper and colors, I knew texture was going to be everything. Going with a combination of stocks with give the invite visual interest in a soft, subtle way. Jesse is a simple, modern kind of girl with a little bit of whimsy thrown in.

For the main invite card, I wanted to make a bold statement. Wanting to highlight the paper and variety of texture, we went with a textured ballet pink card stock as the main focal point. We layered that on top of a smooth cream card that matched the outer envelope. Then we mounted that on a beautiful metallic patterned chocolate brown. Because of this beautiful paper combination we went with a flush right, ragged left type layout. In this case, the “less is more” design style was my best friend. The negative space was a beautiful balance to our typography – and using a stylized font for her name added that boost of eye candy that draws your eye.

The RSVP card and envelope were a nice complement to the main design, wrapping it with a belly band to keep it in place.

Thank you, Jesse, for allowing us to be a part of your special day! You were absolutely beautiful that day and it’s a start for a bright future to come!

How to Start a Business in California and Frequently Asked Questions About Marketing

It makes me really happy to see people starting businesses. As a fellow business owner and advisor for many people that have started a business here in the great ol’ state of California, it’s just a great thing to see. People with hopes and dreams making an investment in themselves. In my  almost 7 years of being a business owner, I’ve seen many businesses come to an unfortunate close. But in the past few years, I’ve met and heard of many people starting new businesses again! For many, being the owner of a business is a scary thought. The lack of a “steady” paycheck, start-up costs, (sometimes) longer hours, and other things can be daunting. Though there are cons to owning a business, there are lots and lots of pros as well – doing work that you are passionate about, the satisfaction of seeing something grow from the ground up, contributing to the economy, seeing the value of hard work, networking and meeting new people, and so much more. A lot of people have asked me to weigh in on what they need to do to start a business here in California, so I hope to answer many of the frequently asked questions here.

FAQ’s

Q: How do I start a business in California?
A: You first have to decide what kind of business structure is best for you. Sometimes talking to your accountant or lawyer for advice is best. They can give you valuable information about the pros and cons of business types so that you can make the right decision with an educated mind. If you do not want to seek the help of a professional, I would do research. Lots of research. The Small Business Association (SBA) is an EXCELLENT resource for all things business related. I’ve personally started sole proprietorships, partnerships, s-corporations, and LLCs – it all depends on the nature of your business and the amount of protection. The next step is to think of your business name and check if it’s available. You can find out more information here. Thought it’s not required, I’d also recommend getting your company trademark as well. Make sure you also check your tax certificate requirements for your city (for Los Angeles, download the form here).

Q: What kind of expenses go into starting a business?
A: There are filing fees when you start a business. For example, if you start a sole proprietorship in Los Angeles there is a fee to file your DBA and to publish your name in a local  newspaper. If you start a partnership, LLC or corporation there is a $800 yearly there is a franchise tax. Then you have the expense of printing business cards, setting up your website, setting up your accounting program, internet and telephone lines, office rent (if applicable), and office supplies. I know, it’s scary. But the good news is these will help you when you file your taxes at the end of the year!

Q: How can I market my company?
A: There are many approaches to marketing your company nowadays. The best advice I can give is to hire a great designer. The branding of your company will be the forefront of how your audience will perceive you. And trust me, that perception means EVERYTHING. Branding doesn’t just mean your logo, but the avenues you’ll use for marketing, what your brochures and business cards will look like, what kind of content you put on your blog and website, every.thing. And having a firm grasp about what you want is key. Once you figure that out, come up with a realistic plan. Maybe you need to start small – start by telling your friends and family about your new business, start marketing your business on your Facebook and/or Twitter, join the local Chamber of Commerce and start attending networking events, etc. Or maybe you want to start off with a bang. On top of your local market, you want to start a full-blown marketing campaign complete with a launch party, online advertising campaign, and press release. There is no wrong way to do it, to be honest. Just make sure you know what is best for you and your brand.

Q: Should I create a Facebook Page and Twitter for my business?
A: This is probably the 2nd most popular question I get from people. My answer is always in the form of a question. Are you going to use it, and actively post relevant content on there? If not, then it’s probably not for you. The whole point of blogs and social media is to create conversations. The point is to engage people with relevant content and do so on a regular basis. If 6 months go by and you haven’t posted anything on your Facebook page, sometimes I’d wonder if people are still in business. Social media is not an “easy” marketing strategy. It’s just like any other form of marketing – it takes work.

 Q: What is the best advice you can give to someone starting a business?
A. I always stress 3 main things. One is be patient, not all businesses boom overnight. In my opinion, lots of the businesses that have overnight success sometimes are short-lived and don’t have long-term business success. Two is find your niche. No matter who you are and what you do, the best thing is to narrow your market to an ideal client. You can’t be everyone’s cup of tea.  Third, work hard and believe in your product. It starts with you first. If you believe in what you have to offer, then others will believe in it too.