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My fiancée Alyssa and I are not typical when it comes to our wedding planning. For one thing, we’re getting married at an unconventional venue, the Los Angeles Natural History Museum. Moreover, we both work in design, and there’s no chance in heck that we’d buy any prepackaged save-the-dates or invitations. No sir. So we’ve spent the better part of the year planning out how our wedding will look, from the décor to the communications, and the first component of this gigantic undertaking is the “Save the Date” postcard that you see before you.
We want our wedding to feel like a party. Not just any party, mind you; more like a 1960s-concert-in-the-park-meets-prehistoric-hipster-safari. Or something like that. We’ve been scouting inspiration from far and wide, and one of the first ideas that hit us was to create a “gig poster” or a vintage-style handbill to inform our potential guests of the basic logistics in advance of the invitation. I’ve designed a whole bunch of save-the-date postcards for Gallatin at NYU (as you can see on the portfolio), but this was obviously a lot more personal. We decided it would be an adventure to silkscreen the invitations ourselves using the “split fountain” technique. It was a popular method of decoration for old concert or boxing posters, but it was usually used in the background to create a bright, colorful gradient on which black type would be set and printed on a letterpress. To stick with the theme, I used a combination of different type and lettering styles, some of which mimic the rough letterpress style of printers like Hatch Show Print in Nashville and Colby Poster Printing Co. here in Los Angeles. Other lettering comes from House’s Photo-Lettering site, such as the “Save the Date” script at the top. We referenced old show prints as well as movie posters (for the “Dino Vision” logo, a pretty blatant rip of the Cinerama logo and the Sinclair dinosaur mark. For the central silhouette illustration, we combined vector traces of two photographs taken by our good friend Sakura Koontz.
The process was remarkably smooth. We’d both done some screenprinting on t-shirts before, but neither of us had any hands-on experience with serigraphy on paper. The stock we chose is French Paper’s Mod-Tone in gray, which comes with a pre-printed pattern. We designed the card to be printed without bleed, 2-up on an 8.5″ by 11″ letter-sized page, allowing us to make a very simple cut and end up with a finished product. (We printed the back side on the cheap using inkjet). Using a Photoshop mockup of the design, we determined that Pantone Orange and Rubine Red would make a nice, yummy “Tequila Sunrise” gradient. Our comp wasn’t far off the mark, but the real-life result was far better than the digital version. Before we knew it, we’d printed up about 150 of them. The right side of the screen had some imperfections in the emulsion which led to some interesting artifacts, while the left side was nearly perfect. I think the variation between different prints is one of the beautiful and lively aspects of hand-printed serigraphs. So even though we sacrifice a bit of legibility, I think we’ve really hit the mark with our attempt at creating a vintage, imperfect look.