Thursday, March 19, 2009

Q & A: Eve and Lesley of A Day in May Design

Eve Weinsheimer and Lesley Hathaway are two of the nicest (and wittiest) people I have ever met. Truly. Together, Lesley and Eve founded A Day in May Design - a studio focusing on letterpress wedding invitations and graphic design. I have been working with A Day in May since 2004 and I find that every piece they create is infinitely beautiful and unique. Eve and Lesley love what they do and it shows. A Day in May recently spread their talents to both coasts: Lesley moved from San Francisco to New York in 2008 and now heads up their East Coast office. You really can have the best of both worlds.

Can you offer new brides any advice on how to prepare themselves to get ready for the world of printing during the wedding invitation process? What should they know?

There are many different methods of printing. For invitations, the three most popular are thermography, engraving and letterpress - letterpress and engraving being the pricier of the two options. In thermography and engraving, the ink lies on top of the paper, and has a “raised” feel. In letterpress, the ink is pressed into the paper via a metal plate, resulting in deep impressions into the paper. Once a couple has chosen the printing method they like, they should then focus on selecting the necessary printed elements for their upcoming event. There are many, many ways for couples to communicate with their guests; save the dates, wedding invitations, wedding weekend details cards/booklets, stickers for hotel room bags, wedding programs, escort cards (getting guests to the proper table), place cards (seating their guests at a specific seat at that table), dinner menus, tags or stickers on wedding favors, etc, etc. Finally, couples should also consider how they would like to work. Would they like to walk into a retail stationery store, look through books of different invitation options and pick out a set style? Or would they like to work directly with designers and printers on their invitations? This decision will narrow their vendors down quite a bit, opening up the bride and groom to much more fun selections like ink colors, typefaces and paper weights!

What should a couple ask potential invitation shops/ graphic designers about their business to make sure there are no surprises or disappointments down the road?
* How many rounds/proofs are included in the price?
* How will proofs be sent (via email, fax, etc)?

* How much custom work is involved in the price?

* How close will a proof be to the finished piece? (ie. How exact is color?)

* Who is responsible for assembling the invitations?

* Do the envelopes arrive lined, or unlined?

* Who is responsible for the calligraphy?

A Day in May only designs prints for letterpress printing. Can you explain why letterpress is so special and why you chose to use it?
When we started A Day in May Design, we had to educate people on the art of letterpress - it’s history, the technique, the final results. It was quite unique back then, and now it’s much more prevalent. But there’s no denying that however trendy the printing process becomes, each time you hold a letterpressed card in your hand it feels like small piece of art created just for you. We routinely see people holding our printed work up close to their face, turning the cards around and around, and running their fingers along the paper to feel the deep impressions. An immediate relationship is created between the viewer and the invitation, save the date, dinner menu, etc, etc. In this lighting fast technological world, letterpress is a wonderfully tactile way to grab your wedding guests attention and let them know that a special evening of love and celebration lies ahead.

What was the inspiration behind A Day in May? How did you two meet and decide to go into business together? (I am glad you did!)
We were introduced by mutual friends and soon realized that we had a very similar design aesthetic and work ethic. At the time, we were both graphic designers at large agencies and felt uncomfortably removed from our projects and our clients. We were tossing around the idea of starting a design firm when we were approached by several friends who were unable to find stylish wedding invitations for their upcoming events. They knew that we were up to the task and we were thrilled to engage in design projects and with clients in a much more personal/hands on way. So, we pulled in our extraordinary printing partner (FULL CIRCLE PRESS) and the rest, as they say, is history!

Are there any new trends with printed materials for weddings?

* We feel like people are returning to classic styles: scripts, simplicity, traditional wording, etc.

* We find more and more requests for VERY heavy paper.

* Black is back!

Are there any projects you would love to do but haven't had the opportunity yet?
We would love to create invitations for President Obama and his White House events (No joke!)

Do you have any tips for brides on a budget?
* Print as many pieces together. It is more economical to print a thank you note along with your other elements versus printing it later.

* You don’t need to print in more than one ink color to create a beautiful piece. If you really want to add extra zing without the extra cost, vary your paper color instead.

* Stickers are a great way to “brand” many elements of your wedding while keeping your costs down. Stickers can serve as labels for your programs, labels on wedding favors, tags for welcome bags in the hotel rooms, etc.

* You don’t always need a fully custom design to create a custom look. Ask a design studio if they will offer you a discount if you choose from one of their existing designs. Then, modify it with a different ink color, paper color or font selection.

* See if you can order extra invitation elements that can double as something else: for example, we offer folders as part of certain invitation designs. These folders can double as program covers on the day of your wedding – the look is beautifully consistent and inexpensive since you’ve kept your costs down by not reinventing the wheel.

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