I recently met up – in the loose sense with the lovely Helene, Director of Smitten With Ink – Over FaceTime with coffee on a cold December day wrapped in blankets we spoke about all things Calligraphy and how we could help future clients understand the handwritten artform and incorporate this ancient art into their traditional or modern event.
As an Event Consultant, I always receive requests for stationery or need stationery for my client’s events.
Like printed stationery, Calligraphy is available in many beautiful handwritten scripts on a variety of paper types and textures however the price tag is not for the faint-hearted.
So, if your thinking of incorporating a handwritten piece into your event or alternatively you think calligraphy is not for you, Helene will help you think outside of the box; transporting you into a world of the ancient art form and she will explain how you can evoke emotions in your guests by using calligraphy.
What is your favourite Calligraphy style?
That is one tough question to start with!
I definitely do have a preferred style to use which is my own. I have put countless hours developing it, working on it and perfecting it and it has now become second nature to me.
It is modern in style but, I find it has a touch of the old fashioned script in it. I realise it probably isn’t obvious to all, I do get a bit geeky when I talk about calligraphy!
However, I don’t think there is one style fits all. When choosing a style of calligraphy, you may need to consider your stationery design as a whole so all the elements (colours, theme, textures, calligraphy, etc) come together.
And…these are the things I look at and discuss with my client when we sit down for our initial consultation. I do give advice on the different styles of calligraphy I offer but ultimately it doesn’t matter which one is my favourite, it’s all down to the client’s vision.
Handwritten Calligraphy or Printed?
A bit of both! I do love mixing both, although sometimes a whole calligraphy piece is just too beautiful to resist, such as wedding vows.
I generally find that for a modern look a mix of printing and calligraphy does wonders. It’s a bit of a “less is more” approach: spot calligraphy will make it pop.
Again, it is all down to personal preference. But it also depends on your budget. Calligraphy is more expensive mainly for two reasons:
1. It is a real craft, a form of art that takes years to hone. It is also completely bespoke to your event, making handwritten calligraphy an exclusive piece of art.
2. It is a time-consuming process. Now, if you order 100 invitations, your calligrapher won’t be writing each piece by hand (unless this is something you want and are ready to pay for!). However, the original piece will have to be digitized so it can be printed on the stationery piece. This requires time and expertise and this is what you need to keep in mind when your calligrapher gives you a quote.
When looking for a Calligrapher what do you need to consider?
There are many of us out there which I believe is great for engaged couples because it means there is a choice!
You should look for someone whose style complements the other elements of your big day. Most calligraphers are on Instagram so you can check out their work and see most of their portfolio.
Once you are set on someone, I think it’s a good idea to talk to them on the phone or via Skype to get a better sense of who they are and see if they are a good match for you.
I believe in working with people you click with, it makes the calligrapher & client experience so different and much more personal!
Another thing that clients should look into is prices. There is some homogeneity in the industry and calligraphers are transparent about their pricing, be it on their website or during your first contact with them. So keep in mind that a lower quote doesn’t mean you are getting a bargain, it might mean the work won’t be up to par.
Which leads me to my last point: professionalism. To make sure the person you are hiring for your calligraphy needs will deliver beautiful work in a timely manner, check their credentials. Again, there is a lot of information out there and you can read reviews on their website or Facebook page, contact someone who has used their services before or ask for some samples (you might have to pay a small fee for that).
After placing an order how long does it take to be delivered?
It depends on a few things, amongst them the time of the year and the type of services you order.
The wedding business is very seasonal and some periods extremely busy. So, I would always advise the client to start looking for a calligrapher/stationery designer as soon as you have decided on a date. You don’t need to be set on all your stationery details, you just need to be booked into the designer’s planning, so you have peace of mind that they have set time aside for your project when the time comes.
Depending on the type of order, the delivery delays may vary. If you have opted for a full bespoke suite, it will usually take between 6 and 10 weeks from the initial consultation for the whole process to unfold.
If you are using a calligrapher for your on the day stationery pieces, such as place cards, table numbers, table plan or other signage, then again you should make sure to book ahead.
2-3 weeks turnaround is to be expected. If you’re caught short, I may be able to take on last-minute jobs, but I will have to charge an additional fee.
Smitten With Ink recommends!
Budget-conscious couples who want to create a long-lasting first impression using calligraphy, which three must-have items would you suggest they should incorporate into their special day?
So I guess a way of absorbing the cost of calligraphy is probably to have it incorporated in the design of your invitations (the design cost is spread across the number of your invitations). It is a fantastic first impression for your guests and it will be proudly displayed on their pinboard or fridge for months!
I love how you can combine a place card written in calligraphy and wedding favour. For example, you could use agate slices or a glass/perspex coaster as place cards. Your guests will love the personal touch and that they can take it home.
Finally, a beautiful keepsake is to have your vows written in calligraphy. I get that it is not something your guest will necessarily see (although it could be displayed as part of your wedding decor), but it is a lovely piece for the newlywed couple to frame and cherish for years to come.
I hope you enjoyed my chat with Helene and her passion for calligraphy has made you consider how you can use calligraphy in your own event.
Everyone has that something they love; my personal style is elegant, simple with a little touch of traditional when I received my Marriage Proposal on a handwritten note this touched my traditional emotional side. The handwritten note in my husbands’ scribe; 19 years on, I can still remember the feelings the note evoked.
Helene’s website is coming soon however in the meantime catch up with her on Instagram @smittenwithink .