Mr. Boddington's Studio is one of my new favorite go-tos for wedding invitations. Owner, Rebecca Schmidt Ruebensall, infuses all of her work with her clever and playful style, while maintaining an air of sophistication. I am always amazed by Rebecca's creativity and I love working with her and her team at Mr. Boddington's. We've collaborated on three incredible wedding weekends, two of which are featured here: Chrissy and Alex's Napa Valley wedding and Rachael and Larry's Carmel Valley wedding (see below). I'm still inspired by those weddings! Photos by Mr. Boddington's Studio.
Your fresh style at Mr. Boddington's is what I love most about it, what inspires you to come up with new designs and unique typefaces?
Thank you for the compliment Ms. Arons.... I would say the same thing about your style! There are three sources of inspiration at Mr. Boddington's Studio. The first comes directly from the collection of eclectic artists and designers who really run the studio. I use to say that we employed "Little Williamsburg" (the hipster mecca in Brooklyn) but that makes some of the team grouchy. I meant it to be a compliment... because they always have the freshest ideas and are forever in front of design. Although I am far from being ancient, it is a splendid trick to have young people in your space revealing what works and what doesn't. Secondly, the clients. A cliche, I know, but all the more true. If a bride comes in and chirps about a "farm chic wedding on the banks of Lake Placid" then we get it and design from there. You asked about creating fonts. Creating fonts is a smart way to control the design. And lastly, I am always enamored by some THING... whether it is a period in history, a piece of nature in some far jungle hidden in the Amazon, the movie I saw last Saturday night or what my one year old is reading (Babar, oh Babar!). I am typically glued to that thing for about one month... currently it is True Grit, the movie. The lead actress is wearing a tailored outfit of dark brown wools with a ruffled cotton poplin shirt underneath. Wearing that while traipsing through the rough is such a site.
Do you have a favorite type of client to work with and what is your favorite kind of project?
Nice clients! Our shop is designed to be old fashioned and brilliantly serves those who want to slow-it-down and relish in an experience that doesn't take thirty seconds. I think there use to be a certain ladies and gentlemen civility that framed business transactions. Of course we will extend that to anyone who walks in the front door but secretly love our clients who yearn for those old sophisticated ways. After all, it is your wedding so you really should adore every last drop of the planning phase. As for specific projects, I bet you would think we prefer the more unique creative briefs (pirate chic on the Ivory Coast?). Yes we do, but it is lovely to meet a bride who is going classic too.
Can you describe a typical client and the process of working on a custom designed line with you, lead time, etc...?
Meeting with clients is the best part of my job. So often a party is figuring the design and logistical details out at the invitation stage so I get to observe the dialogue. So we try to weed through the swarm of thoughts and zoom in on the paper. The paper should never be overlooked. Not only does it give a hint as to what the celebration will be like, but more importantly speaks to the couple's social personality. Once we establish a creative brief, the studio goes away and creates palettes or drafts for each piece. This allows the bride to see all the ideas in her head on paper. We bounce a few drafts back and forth until it is perfect and then go to print. Everything is letterpressed and hand tailored so takes gobs of time. The entire process can take anywhere from two to eight months.
Your wallpaper backings are so fun. I love that concept and what is so refreshing is that you don't do the typical matchy-matchy look and it works. Has wallpaper backing been a really popular thing for Mr. Boddington's? I know my clients love it.
Many clients come to Mr. Boddington's for a wallpaper backing or liner. I think it is much like designing a living room. You want to make sure each piece has a dialogue with the other, but using the same french blue toile on the couch, drapery and wallpaper is overwhelmingly drab. The ticket is to find patterns and colors that compliment one and speak to the creative brief. Recently the studio has been into designing new patterns for each bride. This morning we created one for a southern belle ball in Memphis. The wallpaper looks like something you may find on a dress in the antebellum period... think Scarlett O'Hara in a Swiss Dot dress.
Anything new at Mr. Boddington's on the horizon?
Redefining engraving is top of mind. And of course Mr. Boddington is always thinking about clever ways to get people to stop tapping away on their blueberries and pick up a pen. Maybe we can get the hipsters to write formal invites for dinner parties.
Your company is so special from the designs to the fun fresh terms you use, what inspires your creativity most? Did your past career in advertising set you perfectly on this path?
Working in advertising taught me how to pull all-nighters, sweep the floor, scrutinize the competition and balance the books... all critical business skills one needs to run a small business. Creatively speaking, I had to chop off the part of my brain that use to work in the ad game to start this business. All due respect to Donald Draper...