Fonts have personalities. Although there are thousands out there to choose from they all have something to portray and a certain "feeling" they give off. For example: our most popular font is "Bickham" - this says classic and elegant. The style of font used in your invitation suite can drastically change your stationery's personality.

Here is a sample of Ava from Spark's Wedding Love Album. It is the exact same artwork just with very different font choices and colors. (Click on the image to view larger.)
Rules to remember:

• Avoid combining fonts that are too similar in appearance. Choose one that is really bold and one that is really light. Or one that is really clean and simple with a fancy script.

• Don't get too crazy with the number of fonts you choose to use. Try to keep it down to a maximum of 3 - using 2 is very common and works well.

• Make sure the font you choose for your body text is legible. If you choose something that is too fancy no one will be able to read it. From the font selections in our design book some good choices are: Bodoni, Gotham, Futura, Mrs. Eaves, Neue, Neutra and Roman Classic to name a few.

• Avoid orphans! Orphans are when you have a paragraph of text and one of the lines just
1-3 words on it following a long line of text. It becomes very distracting and throws off alignment.

• Avoid text over loads! Yes, we know you have lots of information you want to put on the small card - but just know that if you do have lots of text that we are either going to have to compromise on the text or the design. Make sure you compare your invite wording to the example in the book you have chosen - is there 2 times as much information?

• Don't be afraid of white space! Type and design don't like being too close to each other or the edges. Give them room to breathe!

• If you are not sure about fonts have a look at the design book. There are tons of different ones to choose from. After that, if you are still unsure feel free to ask for our assistance!

• Type up your wording. This is always helpful to our designers and eliminates spelling errors right off the bat. Since Andrea and I are setting your type and are mainly concerned with the design itself, sometimes those small errors can get overlooked after we've been staring at the same piece for hours. We try to catch as many things as we can but you will most likely get your proof sooner if your information is provided right when your order is placed with us.

Coasters - for more than just the glass!

Coasters can be used as a part of the whole table set up at the reception. Not only can they accent the centerpieces, but can send messages to your guests. Here are some ideas of how to use coasters as one of the "day-of" pieces:
  1. Quotes. Our albums showcase poems, lines from songs, etc. Don't forget classics like Dr. Seuss, Pride and Prejudice, or a vow (awww......)
  2. Passage. Favorite religious reading or part of a book can be very meaningful
  3. Thanks. If there wasn't room in the program, here is a great place to thank everyone for sharing the special day with the couple
  4. Signature drink. Example would be the from the Amelie suite. Create a drink for the special occasion which people can then take home to try to recreate. Also during the reception people can read what they are drinking!
  5. Menu. Save some money and put a simplified menu on the coaster!
  6. Photo. Here is another way to showcase beautiful engagement pictures or a favorite picture from time together. Letterpress photos are a piece of art!
  7. Monogram. Reuse the monogram created for the invites
  8. Contest/game. Have a simple "names and date" on the top and on the bottom create a game for your guests to play!
  9. Fun facts. Have two different coasters- fun facts about the groom and fun facts about the bride, your guests can get to know you even better!
More advice and ideas for coasters:
  • Use two different colored papers- as long as the ink color is the same, no price difference!
  • Have two different designs for the coasters, use them both on the tables.
  • To lower costs just use rounded corners, free with all one ply papers!
  • Or go all out and use a fun die-cut shape like a circle
  • Think creatively! Anything can be designed and used as part of your big day!
A one color, one ply paper, circle, 100 quantity - $225
A one color, one ply paper, rounded square, 100 quantity - $160
A one color, two ply paper, circle, 100 quantity - $290
A one color, two ply paper, rounded square, 100 quantity - $225

Pictured: Amelie's signature drink coaster, Valerie and Jim's wedding picture coaster (for an AIGA event), Hollie's song quote coaster, and the always beautiful Natalya pattern coaster

Just email for other quotes related to coasters or our other great "day-of" items!

Making plans for the future

We bought two new presses recently and today they get hooked up with electricity. Even though I'm the art director, I still get excited about new equipment because it makes me think of the additional possibilities the presses will provide us.

One of the presses is another Windmill which is our primary press for the bulk of the jobs we run, so I kind of know what we will be doing with that one. But the other press is a Heidelberg Cylinder KSBA which is larger than our current KS model. I was so excited about being able to run a larger sheet that I could barely sleep the other night as I was having a successful brainstorming session with myself. Well, that sounds kind of sad, but in another six months when we roll out some new products, you might not think that sounded so lame!

So today I'm hoping to refine my ideas to create a more concrete plan. I'm one of those crazy lists people so it always starts with endless lists. I have a master list and then a list for each idea/product/service. I keep sorting through them, adding and deleting as necessary. Once I've thoroughly made my lists, I enter them in Word (or InDesign if I'm feeling a bit more ambitious and design-y). In addition to the lists I also have doodles and sketches on the back side. I hang onto all of this stuff because I continually refer to it while I'm designing.

As for inspiration - well that's a tough one. I like to keep an eye on what is going on in the world of stationery, but I'm also super cautious about making sure our ideas and designs are original. And that is a constant challenge. Some days I feel like everything has been done and there's nothing left to do. But most of the time I get all giddy about the possibilities.


What's up at Spark...

We are anxiously awaiting the arrival of two new presses at Spark – another Windmill and a KSBA Cylinder. One of our friends in the world of letterpress is closing his shop after many, many years in business. On a recent trip to see the equipment we are purchasing, we were so lucky just to meet this man and be inspired by him. Some people have such a passion for letterpress printing and the business of printing that you can't put it into words. He probably could have talked to us into the wee hours of the morning, but we had our kids with so our time was a cut a bit short. Seeing his Linotype and knowing it might be scrapped just hurts my head and my heart. Seeing all of the other things that may or may not find a new home, well, that was just hard to see as well. We wish him all the best, and we hope he will take comfort in knowing that some of his equipment has a safe new home at Spark!

Happy Retirement Pat Leary of Harold's Printing!

The Linotype
Our New KSBA Cylinder

Ink+Wit has new baby announcements

Tara Hogan of Ink+Wit is such a lovely person to work with. We are always happy to see her name pop up in our in-box. She does truly original illustrations for a wide range of products, the newest ones being birth announcements. Here are a few photos from her blog post. Please be sure to check out the rest of her work as well when you have a moment - I promise it will be time well spent!

Welcome 2010 Wedding Season!

We are already in full swing with wedding season here at Spark. We have been quoting like crazy and are already seeing orders coming in from our NEW custom albums. I must admit I am a bit surprised to see them taking off so quickly, but I couldn't be happier!

If you are looking to see Spark's latest albums in person, please contact and we will put you in touch with the retailer nearest you. We are currently updating this feature on our web site and we don't want you to miss out on seeing our work and meeting with some of the wonderful retailers we are partnering with to carry our albums.

Smitten with...

I am often asked where I find inspiration given that I currently reside in what looks like the arctic tundra. I am, of course, an avid reader of many blogs that keep me connected to what is going on in the world of design, color, interiors, weddings and more. Here are a few of my favorites.

Oh So Beautiful Paper features so many of my favorite things - other designers I admire, letterpress lovelies from studios large and small, and things from outside of the world of paper (I often forget there is more to life than paper). I'm sure all of you read Nole's blog, and if you don't you really should start! She has such an eye for spotting designers, techniques and products I might not have otherwise seen.

The Inspired Bride
is a newer blog written by Maddy. Now I don't know Maddy but I feel like I do because the posts she does - especially her color palettes - really speak to me. I promise she has something different to offer than many of the other wedding blogs. Don't get me wrong, I adore the other wedding blogs that so many of our clients visit, but I've enjoyed her fresh approach. Apparently she is working with Kristen at Paper Crave, one of our all-time faves, on a new project as well. I can hardly wait to find out what the new project is all about!

FPO (For Print Only) is something I've become obsessed with I must admit. I really love the details that are included in their blog posts. As a printer we find it interesting to see how much time was spent on comparable projects and the materials that were used. As a designer I love to see what typefaces were used and the behind the scenes details they often give us.

We are technically on a holiday break, but I'll probably do a few posts this week so my brain doesn't turn to mush.

Happy Holidays!

Our new wedding line...

is in production! We are at varying stages with each of the 20 new designs we are launching. I've been spending a lot of time drawing lately in order to fill out the details of some of the sets, as well as to create the last few design concepts. I have to say it is quite the accomplishment around here for me to find any time to sit at my desk and draw since I am responsible for a wide range of tasks in our small organization.

I've learned a lot in creating these new designs. A lot about myself as a person, as a designer and as a letterpress enthusiast. It's hard to limit myself at times because we have the equipment, the desire to experiment, the resources to do the finishing work, and we can make the time to pour our hearts into each suite. Ultimately I need to set some parameters because I always want to look back at what I've created and find some simplicity in each design. Not everything has to be crazy over the top, and some of the designs I'm most excited about are so simple.

Here is one of the designs that is not so simple. I have to thank one of our wonderful Spark designers, Molly Althoff, who created the artwork for this invitation. I was lucky enough to be able to work with these drawings she did, edit and layer the artwork, and then pull it all together. I'll save the rest of the pieces in this suite for later.

I look forward to sharing more with all of you soon!