Retro Illustrated Wedding Invitations

When a stationer and an illustrator get engaged, you know their wedding invitations are going to be spectacular. These retro illustrated wedding invitations by Rachel Dangerfield of Imaginary Beast certainly did not disappoint! Decked out with her husband’s vintage-inspired illustrations, these letterpress printed invitations are simply amazing!

Retro Illustrated Wedding Invitations by Imaginary Beast

From Rachel: My now-husband Dave and I met in art school (he’s an illustrator and I own the design studio Imaginary Beast), so naturally, when we decided to get hitched, we wanted to go all out on the details. Since I design wedding invitations at my studio, the pressure was on! We were married at an old stone pavilion in Mill Creek Park, near my hometown, in Youngstown, Ohio.

Retro Illustrated Wedding Invitations by Imaginary Beast

Growing up, every time we’d drive through the park, my mom would announce to my sisters and me, “Someday, one of my daughters is going to get married here!” After years of rolling our eyes, she was right! Since it was a spot so close to my heart (and beautiful, to boot!), we wanted to highlight the building on the save the dates. Dave illustrated a three-color illustration of the pavilion, and it was letterpress printed by our good friends at Igloo Letterpress.

Retro Illustrated Wedding Invitations by Imaginary Beast

Retro Illustrated Wedding Invitations by Imaginary Beast

For the invitations, we took a similar vintage vibe and designed a three-layer cake illustration, with each cake layer being a different stationery piece. The “cake topper” pulled double-duty as our monogram. Since we were going for a retro look, we knew from the beginning we wanted to design for letterpress, and once again Igloo Letterpress nailed the printing. To mail, each suite was stacked and enclosed in a translucent vellum envelope, stuffed with some confetti, wrapped in string, and sealed with wax. I wrote each address using a gold Sharpie and adhered 4-5 vintage stamps to each before sending them out.

Retro Illustrated Wedding Invitations by Imaginary Beast

Retro Illustrated Wedding Invitations by Imaginary Beast

Another “must-do” for Dave and me was brewing our own beer. We’ve made our home in Columbus, Ohio and are lucky to have an amazing brewery, North High Brewing, right up the road where you can come in, brew, bottle, and label your own beer. As an homage to our last names (his being Armstrong and mine being Dangerfield), we designed labels for the “Armed and Dangerous Brewery” and brewed up a tasty Octoberfest.

Retro Illustrated Wedding Invitations by Imaginary Beast

Retro Illustrated Wedding Invitations by Imaginary Beast

For our “guest book”, we wanted something we’d genuinely enjoy displaying in our home, so with a collection of tree ring imagery, I created a print for our guests to sign. It now hangs in our bedroom, as a reminder of that happy day back in September.

Thanks Rachel!

Design: Imaginary Beast
Illustration: Dave Armstrong
Printing: Igloo Letterpress

Check out the Designer Rolodex for more tal­ented wed­ding invi­ta­tion design­ers and the real invi­ta­tions gallery for more wedding invitation ideas!

Photo Credits: Rachel Dangerfield

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

Today we’re headed to Philadelphia to chat with Amy Voloshin of Printfresh about her stationery business story! As a textile designer, Amy has taken a unique path to developing a stationery line. She’s here to share the integral role that fabric, textures, and patterns play in her designs. Amy is also a huge supporter of her community in Philly and shares about the various ways she teams up with local organizations to give back. — Megan Soh

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

From Amy: I studied textiles at the Rhode Island School of Design and focused on print and knitting. My first job out of school was working for URBN designing prints and garments for the Urban Outfitters and Free People lines. It was back in 2003 when technology was still limited in the industry and the work was very hands on — we used gouache to mock up colorways, and made repeats with pencil and a photocopier. It was an incredibly creative environment and the experience opened the door to an art director position for a textile design studio in New York. I loved the work but missed Philadelphia, and I decided pretty quickly to move back and use what I had learned to start my own studio.

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

I rented a small warehouse space and began developing a print collection to sell to fashion designers. At the time I was screen printing many of our designs by hand and going on sales appointments myself! Our company grew tremendously over the next 10 years, and I was able to pull together an amazing team of talented designers and passionate saleswomen. Print design is so focused on behind-the-scenes work, and as our business became more established I started dreaming about what creative avenues I wanted to explore next. I’ve always loved stationery, but find that so many of the designs out there are too preppy for my personal bohemian aesthetic. After a lot of thought, I decided to apply my love and expertise in textiles and pattern to the world of paper. I signed up for the 2017 National Stationery Show and started working with a few of our textile designers to develop the very first Printfresh stationery collection. We got such amazing feedback at the show, I knew I’d made the right choice.

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

Our studio is based in the Kensington area of Philadelphia. My husband and I are obsessed with old warehouses and found a beautiful carpet factory built in the late 1800s. We decided to renovate and relocate our studio here, and we finally moved in last fall. I love that our building was was used for textiles in the past. It still has many of the gears and industrial equipment from working with carpet rolls, and we’ve done our best to preserve some of it and show the history of the space. The Kensington neighborhood faces a lot of social and economic challenges, and our hope is that by restoring this warehouse and creating a community of small business owners and creatives we can help spur economic development and revitalization here.

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

We’re invested in the Philadelphia community (I live less than a mile from our studio) and when starting the stationery line I knew I wanted to find a way to leverage the brand to give back. For the past two years we’ve partnered with Philly Paper Jam to donate a full year’s supply of paper to two local schools. We’ve also started giving 5% of our online sales to organizations that provide creative programming to children in Philadelphia’s public schools. Each quarter we feature a select group of amazing local organizations on our social media and blog, and it’s been great learning about and connecting with men and women who are really making a difference in Philadelphia.

My typical work day is very scheduled. I’m pretty busy between my entrepreneurial ventures and being a working mom. I’m a nut about Google calendars — everything is scheduled. I usually get up pretty early (around 5:45AM every day) to start working on something I really want to do, whether it’s a creative project or a walk around the neighborhood. That’s my power hour and I really try to do the thing I most want to do then. I spend time with my kids when they wake up and get them ready for school, and then I’m off to the office. During the work day most of my time is dedicated to meetings with my teams. I help direct all things visual – upcoming marketing materials, product development, progress on new collections, and ideas for upcoming selling events.

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

Our current collection focuses on journaling and desk, and I think that our point of view (combining a love for fabric, subtle patterns, soothing color and purposeful design) is what really makes us unique. While we’ve developed some purely paper products, the majority of our collection features fashion-inspired touches like fabric covers, woven wraps, ribbon bookmarks, and traditional textile processes like silkscreen and hand-marbling. One of our most popular product categories are our velvet journals, featuring plush velvet accented with metallic foil text and patterns. Another of our most popular styles are the noteblocks – they’re the absolute best desk accessory. Natural cork bases give these notepads a touch of something tactile, while the gold foiled edges evoke a modern shine.

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

While the products and inspiration changes, my process for creating each new collection is usually pretty consistent. Like most people these days I start with a new Pinterest board. I gather inspiration for color, silhouette and pattern and start identifying what kind of products and finishes are most inspiring me. I try not to spend too much time there, since another big part of the concepting process includes seeking inspiration in-person. I try to go to museums, art exhibits and flea markets to find more primary sources for my work. It helps the designs feel more pure and less derivative, and plus it’s more fun!

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

Once I have a few general concepts I start creating really loose sketches illustrating different types of silhouettes. Finding time to sketch in the office can be hard during a busy day, so I tend to do my most creative work away from the studio. I started drawing the latest collection after Thanksgiving dinner! You never know when creativity is going to strike, so I always love to have a sketchbook on hand.

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

After I’ve finished sketching I start making decisions on materials, choosing fabrics, embellishments and trims. Then when I’ve developed a clearer vision I work with a team member to start creating the artwork and rendering the silhouettes in Photoshop. We render all of our designs in fairly high detail – I’m a very visual person, and I find it helpful to see exactly what the designs would look like in real life. It’s also incredibly important on the production end of things, since we work with artisans and craftspeople in India rather than manufacturing in-house. We need to be very specific about almost every aspect of each design, and we prepare incredibly detailed instructions (including everything from overall dimensions to paper weight to Pantone colors) that we call tech packs. If something is even just a little bit off in the tech pack, the finished product will suffer for it!

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

Once we receive our first prototypes we review the product, decide on any style changes, and work with our vendors to develop a 2nd prototype. At that point we have to make the tough decision about which products make the cut and are good enough to be shown at the big industry trade shows like NYNOW, the Atlanta Gift Show, and NSS.

Starting a new line is never easy, and it definitely comes with challenges. I’ve found that creating and cultivating a cohesive brand is the most difficult and also most rewarding part. I don’t have a lot of experience in branding, especially since my textile design studio focuses more on relevant designs and great business-to-business relationships (a much different market than that of the direct to consumer). But since this brand is my aesthetic, I’ve learned that I just need to trust my gut instincts. If something doesn’t sit right with me about the colors, pattern, silhouette or wording then it’s probably off brand. I try to make sure I’m making decisions on an emotional level and always staying true to my intuition.

Behind the Stationery: Printfresh

All photos courtesy of Printfresh.

Want to be featured in the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to Megan at megan [at] ohsobeautifulpaper [dot] com for more details.

Ten Awesome Mother’s Day Cards

Mother’s Day is just a few weeks away – which means it’s time to pick out a card for all the wonderful moms in your life! I definitely have a new appreciation for Mother’s Day now that I’m a mom. What’s that saying? Motherhood is the best and hardest job? So much yes. I love being a mom, but being a mom also makes me want to send little notes of appreciation and encouragement to every mom I know! Here are ten awesome Mother’s Day cards to help share the love!

Ten Awesome Mother's Day Cards

1. A trip to Target without the kids sounds like heaven! Send fun Mother’s Day wishes with this Pinwheel Printshop card.

2. Why yes, E. Frances Paper, it SHOULD be mom day every day!

3. Loving this marbled Mother’s Day card from Antiquaria – the gold foil text is a lovely extra touch!

4. Such a sweet and sentimental Mother’s Day card from Our Heiday

5. Words that every single mom loves to hear from Worthwhile Paper

6. A sweet floral illustration and simple hand lettered message from Dahlia Press

7. Couldn’t resist this sweet mama and baby llama card from Ghost Academy

8. The perfect card from Heart Swell for those of you lucky enough to have a super close relationship with your mom

9. It wouldn’t be Mother’s Day without flowers! Loving this illustrated floral card from Lana’s Shop

10. Pretty pink text and sweet floral illustrations from The Whistling Fox


p.s. More Mother’s Day cards here, here, and here!

Happy Weekend!

Happy Friday everyone! I woke up yesterday absolutely convinced it was Friday, so I’m extra thankful that it’s finally here! This was a busy week, with lots of planning for this year’s Paper Party during the National Stationery Show in New York next month! I can’t wait to share the invitation design with you – it’s SO good! BTW, if you’re a stationer or retailer attending the National Stationery Show this year, you can sign up for our Paper Party mailing list here to make sure you don’t miss the invitation and other details coming up! But in the meantime…

Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin in Washington, DC by Oh So Beautiful Paper

Photo by me during cherry blossom season last week!

….a few links for your weekend!

So much backyard patio inspiration! Has anyone on the East Coast successfully grown a potted lemon tree outside in the summer? I’m thinking about trying it this year!

Have you seen the new Soludos x Anthropologie collection?? I’m loving these colorful tassel sandals!

The race to save the world’s disappearing languages

How cute is this PINK planter???

28 fun things to do with kids in DC – I even added a couple of new things to my list!

Marriage used to prevent deportation. Not anymore.

Card of the week from Hairpin Letterpress


Have a great weekend everyone! I’ll see you back here on Monday! xoxo

Soft Neutral Vineyard Wedding Invitations

Soft neutral hues never go out of style. Michelle of Honey Paper designed these soft neutral vineyard wedding invitations inspired by the gorgeous venue nestled in the California mountains. Add in some vinyeard-inspired botanical illustrations, gold wax seals, and curated vintage postage and you’ve got the recipe for one seriously elegant and refined wedding invitation!

Soft Neutral Vineyard Wedding Invitations by Honey Paper

From Michelle: Between the San Rafael and Santa Ynez Mountains the summers are warm and rainless, dense with thickets of shrub and stippled in gray pine, wild cotton and a long list of oaks. The narrow, steep ranges are considered young at five million years old. Alluvial soils of the valley bear the plants of myth: bay laurel, rosemary, grape and olive. The Santa Ynez Valley is vintner’s and an artist’s dream. Gravelly soil bakes white in the sun while the slender olive leaves shake and bristle like birds in flight. The villa at Sunstone Vineyards and Winery was built under a seafaring sky in the heart of this beautiful place.

Soft Neutral Vineyard Wedding Invitations by Honey Paper

Soft Neutral Vineyard Wedding Invitations by Honey Paper

When the Rice family founded Sunstone Vineyard and Winery it became one of the first organic vineyard estates in the region. Everything about their venture has remained true to the story of the land, from practicing sustainable viticulture to incorporating hillside caves among dense blankets of wild grasses and evergreen. Antique wooden beams, once privy to the smells and sounds of a Victorian lavender factory, were brought from England and integrated into the architecture. The villa is a testament to the materials and practices of the old world integrated seamlessly to meet modern standards. Thick walls of local stone were finished with imported French limestone and elegant terra cotta roof tiles. The villa is an architectural gem that simultaneously preserves the past and shapes the future.

Soft Neutral Vineyard Wedding Invitations by Honey Paper

We wanted the stationery to capture the essence of the light at Sunstone. We paired a pale clay-colored ink with soft white paper. Each piece of the suite and day-of details, including menu and escort cards incorporate the silhouette of slender olive leaves and branches. The subtle design is reminiscent of a sun print – light waves patiently breaking down the fragile color bonds leaving only traces of color. The envelope and invitation enclosure are a nod to sandstone – a rock whose only memory is of the sea. Each invitation was wrapped in a buttery white ribbon and completed with a golden wax initial seal.

Soft Neutral Vineyard Wedding Invitations by Honey Paper

Fine linens and freshly cut greenery were arranged on long tables with wooden benches and tawny pillows under the shade of the high walls. The wedding cake arrived: three tiered, quartz on sky on the softened teal of mountain bluebird. All of the details came together in this inspiring land of rocky outcroppings, sandstone, shale and limestone. A place where the sun leaves a trace of its brightness behind.

Soft Neutral Vineyard Wedding Invitations by Honey Paper

Thanks Michelle!

Design and Calligraphy: Honey Paper

Check out the Designer Rolodex for more tal­ented wed­ding invi­ta­tion design­ers and the real invi­ta­tions gallery for more wedding invitation ideas!

Photo Credits: Ashley and Erik Fine Art Photography