A memorable host often plans with the little details in mind: the colors, theme, atmosphere, and everything in between. When inviting others to a celebration, the experienced host knows and values the importance of making a first impression. However, even the best of hosts might be missing the essential first step that sets the tone of it all: the invitation.
As many designers and calligraphers would agree, an extraordinary invitation sets the stage for what a guest can expect from an event. Occurrences of receiving personalized sentiments and hand-written stationery in the mail likely are few and far between. A custom invitation is the perfect way to give an event the attention it deserves while giving guests’ mail a splash of joy they did not know they needed.
Furthermore, an invitation is the first opportunity to share the excitement of an event and the lasting keepsake by which to remember it once the cake is eaten and the flowers have wilted. Luckily, Texas is full of talented designers and calligraphers who are eager to help seal the deal on all your custom stationery needs.
Nib & Pixel | Houston
Nib & Pixel is a Houston-based, full-service graphic design studio operated by owner and designer Dionne Christensen, the creative genius who lives and breathes design and admits to a slight addiction to paper. Dionne began freelancing full time shortly before launching her company in 2013, gracing the Texas market (and the nation) with beautiful custom designs of all variations. Nib & Pixel is passionate about communicating the excitement and beauty of celebrations, whether it be a wedding, baby shower, birthday party, or graduation; anything worth celebrating is worth an awesome invitation!
“By including small details of personal significance on an invitation, the invitation is elevated from being just a pretty letter; it now shares a story,” Christensen said. “Some examples of ways to personalize an invitation would be an image of the bride’s favorite flower, or a quote from the movie they saw on their first date, or even an illustration of their wedding venue. Hand-addressed envelopes in calligraphy are also special; it will make the invitation stand out amongst all the junk mail (rarely do we see hand-addressed mail these days).”
When designing invitations, Christensen has two main goals: showing the client’s personality and making guests excited to come to the event. To Christensen, crafting these one-of-a-kind creations is truly an honor; she loves the journey of discovering her clients’ personalities, stories, and style.
“I enjoy finding all that out and translating it into an invitation,” she said. “And because every client is different, the invitations I design are all different from one another, and I love that.”
As Christensen puts it, she sees herself as “a custodian of her client’s story” and is humbled by each one who trusts her to bring to life their vision.
“I think it’s important to find a designer who listens,” Christensen said. “As artists, we designers have visions of what we think would work, but the best invitations are a collaboration between the designer and the client.”
Christensen recommended hiring a designer who enjoys the stories and collaboration process as much as creating. It is important to be vocal about what you do and do not want, and never feel guilty about being honest about it.
Pretty Post Calligraphy | Dallas-Fort Worth
With a passion for beautiful handwriting, vintage stamps, snail mail, and beautiful paper elements, Jennifer Gardiner is immersed in what she loves as the owner and creative director of Pretty Post Calligraphy. The Fort Worth native approaches her design process with the belief that each event is unique and can be brought to life with the details.
“My favorite part of the design process is that beginning stage: getting to know my clients, discovering a little bit about them, and then putting pen to paper so to speak, and transforming those ideas into tangible products for their event,” Gardiner said.
Businesses like Pretty Post Calligraphy allow for the creation of invitations that are an extension of you and your event. Gardiner stated, “One of the great benefits of custom invitations is just that – it’s custom! You can literally design the invites to your liking at all stages of design.” Custom stationery opens the door to creative freedom from paper color and font choice to illustrations and ornate drawings. The opportunities are endless!
“Personal touches are my favorite detail when it comes to invitation and paper design and are what make the difference between a generic invitation that can be bought online and something that is unique as the client,” Gardiner said.
From custom monograms to custom stamps featuring your fabulous fur baby, Gardiner takes pride in finding and illustrating the details that make each event unique. “Those special details truly make all the difference,” she said.
Gardiner encourages people to make the investment in a beautifully designed custom invitation suite; it lets your guests know that your event is one that cannot be missed and is a preview of what is to come.
Jesilyn Kay Calligraphy | Austin
To Jesilyn Kay, owner and designer behind Jesilyn Kay Calligraphy in Austin, the experience of making custom stationary visions come to life is something she truly treasures as an artist. At her modern calligraphy studio, the goal is always to create special pieces that make an impact in homes and at special events.
“It [custom invitations] shows the guests even before they arrive at the event that you’ve taken a lot of care and thought towards [planning] the event,” Kay said. “It sets the stage for a wonderful event, and your guests know what to expect from the theme and tone of the invitation.”
When creating custom invitations, Kay designs with the intent to craft pieces that her clients can cherish for years to come. One of her favorite personal touches to incorporate is the mixing of custom hand-lettered wording with traditional computer fonts. “If you have the right combo it can make your invitations classic and also modern while also making the custom hand-lettering really stand out,” she said.
A passion of hers from a young age, Kay finds her artistic process therapeutic. Over the years of practicing her craft, she has created a personal calligraphy style that others describe as whimsical and elegantly feminine. To wrap up a custom invitation suite, Kay admitted that her favorite part of the design process is hand-lettering the envelopes before they are sent to a lucky guest’s mailbox. “Once I get my process set up and start working, it’s a very calming and meditative process,” she said.
Kay advised planning ahead! The more time you have, the better. From the custom hand-lettering to getting the invitations printed and addressing envelopes, it could take a few months to complete a project.