Interview with Borrowed and Blue
Hey guys! I did a little Q & A with Borrowed & Blue (a resource for locally inspired weddings all over the US). No matter where or when you are planning a wedding, good design never goes out of style. If you are in the market for custom wedding invitations or just curious about design keep reading below.
A wedding invitation is the first piece of information your guests will receive regarding your big day. It’s an insight into your affair’s personality, offering clues about what’s to come (things like formality, mood, size, and setting). It’s a gift, really, and can be as pretty as any present—if done well. That’s why we came straight to the local design expert, Mollie Blackwood of Mollie Joy Design, when talking wedding invitations to couples planning their Birmingham weddings. Her designs are thoughtful, striking, and aesthetically brilliant. Take a design hint or two from her expertise and we promise your wedding suite will shine all the brighter for it.”
– Stephanie, Borrowed & Blue’s Birmingham Market Specialist
What are the elements of “good design?”
Although there are general good design principles, when we say “good” design it means appropriate for the project and the client—so it’s in context. When it comes to wedding invitations or wedding suites my top three criteria for good are consistency of elements, clear hierarchy, and attention to detail.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
It reflects my personality: neat (as in clean, tidy), slightly feminine, fun, a bit quirky. I like for the finished product to bear marks of the human touch—that means some strategic “imperfections.”
What inspires you?
I love art museums. I leave a museum feeling refreshed with ideas so I find a lot of inspiration in fine art. I’m always searching Pinterest and blogs for new contemporary artists or reading about famous ones.
Runway fashion is another. It’s probably no coincidence a lot of those designers are inspired by fine art. Fashion designers update their aesthetic each season but somehow maintain a consistent identity.
Unexpected color palettes are a point of inspiration for me too—in nature or in urban environments. One of my favorite things to do is to experiment with color.
What are your 3 most memorable designs?
Chelsea and Brut’s wedding suite :: I have been lifelong friends with Brut and friends with Chelsea since they started dating (in high school!). Chelsea was a dream to work with. She had ideas but not preconceived outcomes. We arrived at a clear vision, only made possible by reciprocal honesty and feedback. I was able to incorporate some of my illustration and play with color. I attended the wedding and it was so neat to see everything in action and how my designs represented and worked with the event. That’s not a common experience for most wedding invitation designers.
Bamboo Bicycle Company :: I was hired to illustrate a design for printing on tank tops. This design was to be marketed toward teen girls—not a project for the fun-phobic. I had a blast playing with different bright color combinations and drawing the most perfect happy sun. We ended up with two different color combinations and I can’t even pick my favorite.
Animal Sterilization Assistance Program :: I am a huge animal lover and have three ragtag dogs of my own. It’s extra incentive to work for a cause you believe in. I was given free rein on the design (as long as it had a dog and a cat in the logo), which is great (when they mean it, as in this case). I wish I could draw puppies and kittens for every design!
What are some things to stay away from in terms of design for invitations?
I would stay away from doing something because that’s how everyone else has done it. These days anything goes when it comes to invitations. It’s more about reflecting your personal style and personality as a couple than adhering to strict rules. I would tell any couple I’m designing for not to feel pressured to go in a direction that won’t make them happy. On the other hand, as a designer, there are places I’m not willing to go—anything that looks like Curlz font, or other cliché/garish borrowed ideas.
Who would be your ideal client to design invitations for?
My ideal client would be a couple that wants something that isn’t totally traditional, wants to experiment, and is trusting of the process. I love playing with illustration, color, and different techniques. I like clients that have ideas to get me started in a direction but leaves room for me to make it my own. Communication is key—we’re in this together!
If you were to design your own wedding invitations today, what would they look like?
I’m not engaged but i’ve had the same boyfriend for 8 years. IF I were designing our wedding invitations (hint, hint Greg!) I think I would make them hand-lettered and simple. I’m really into brush lettering these days. I would pair them with different colorful patterned but somewhat coordinating envelope liners. Maybe include a quick painted sketch of our portraits somewhere. Making decisions for other people is much easier than making them for myself!
For couples trying to design their own wedding invitations, what advice would you give them?
Don’t do it! But seriously, good design is 10% natural ability and 90% hard acquired skill. You might have an eye for what looks good but there is a difference in being able to spot good design and producing it. Non-designers have a tendency to over design. An important part in being an effective designer is editing. If you don’t want to end up with an embarrassing, gaudy design, hire a graphic designer.
Most designers can work within your budget to give you something that will still represent your vision. You may need to make sacrifices but if you’re up-front about your budget, you can get something that won’t embarrass and still make you happy. If you have absolutely no budget or very little for invitations, think of alternate ways to invite your guests, something digital maybe.
Any suggestions for design tools that they could use at home?
Pre-made templates are good if you don’t have a strong independent vision for your wedding and you need something fast. But, if you want something personal and cohesive you need a creative ally. You don’t pay designers only for the finished product. You pay for expertise and skill.
Do you have any favorite local stationery shops around Birmingham that are worth checking out?
I try to support local businesses as much as I can. I like A’Mano in Mountain Brook Village. They have a small selection of stationery but it is well selected as well as a variety of art and gifts. I also like to support artists of any locale. Anthropologie and Paper Source have beautifully curated selections of stationery and paper products from independent artists and designers.
Any final design advice for couples deciding on their invitations?
I am speaking from experience here, proof read, proof read, proof read! You still have to pay for printing even if your name is spelled wrong. Take some time to find a designer that is going to be a good fit for your vision. Look at their portfolio and don’t be afraid to reach out with any questions you might have. Choose a designer you trust and stick with them. I know I’m speaking for all designers when I say we want happy customers!