Want: Classic yet stylish
Try: Novia and Baskerville
Two elegant fonts mingle in this letterpressed invitation suite. The fancy script (Novia, originally created in 2007 for our magazine) interspersed among lines set in the time-tested serif font (Baskerville) gives the suite a traditional but relaxed feel, while the unexpected palette of aubergine and dove gray -- as well as the quirky, off-center decorative frames -- keeps it au courant.
Stationer: Dauphine Press
The Petaluma, California, company is known for its "vintage-meets-modern point of view," says owner Trish Kinsella.
Want: Graphic, chic, and swanky -- with a dash of moxie
Try: Didot and Pistilli
There's nothing quiet about this stationery suite, inspired by the larger-than-life fonts used in 1950s fashion magazines. At the same time, there's nothing gauche or loud about it, either. Combining big-statement designs (oversize ampersand and quotation marks) with understated, elegant colors (deep teal and burnished-gold engraving) is the key to pulling off this luxurious and infinitely cool look.
Stationer: Gryphon Stationers
The Web-based invitation-design company in San Francisco "creates classic invitations with a modern bent," says co-owner Erik Olsen.
Want: Fun and fresh
Get the message across audaciously and cheekily with a letterpressed invite that isn't afraid to push the envelope or sample the color wheel. The capitalized letters rendered in simple, unpretentious Avenir and scaled large give the suite a carefree, youthful vibe.
Brooklyn co-owner Jordan Provost says, "We find inspiration in our collective interests and transform them into our designs." Their muse here? The Gershwin song "Love Is Here to Stay."
Want: Modern and clean
Try: Akzidenz Grotesk
Everything about this striking letterpressed collection is nontraditional, from the shapes (note the long, lean invite and the square seating cards) to the colors (unladylike orange tempered with charcoal gray) to the type (set asymmetrically). And the Akzidenz Grotesk font, while a classic, is a paragon of modernism and radical simplicity. Hand-circled table numbers add a warm touch and humanize the sleek, minimalist design.
Stationer: Precious Bugarin Design
The owner of the eponymous boutique design firm in Portland, Oregon, describes the font she employed here as "timeless, functional, and honest." The same can be said for her thoroughly modern and urbane sensibility.
Want: Part folksy appeal, part fairy-tale panache
Try: Hand-drawn lettering
Romantic doesn't have to mean sappy, and folksy doesn't have to mean unrefined. For proof, take a look at this charm-loaded suite inspired by the typography in old-fashioned fairy tales. The lettering was hand-drawn, then scanned and colored on a computer, and finally sent to a printer to be silk-screened. The effect is unique and startlingly affecting. Custom chocolates (designed by American Chocolate Designs) pile on even more sweetness.
Stationer: Rifle Design
Florida-based owner Anna Bond specializes in illustration and hand-drawn lettering. "My clients tend to want something more unique and personal," she says.
Want: Vintage cool
Try: Woodcut type
Look to turn-of-the-century carnival broadsides and their irregular wood-cut type for an eccentric, hip take on wedding invitations. Here, both antique wood and lead letters were hand-set, then used to letterpress a stationery suite that looks at once polished and homespun. Tear-off RSVP cards and "tickets" for a weekend's worth of wedding events continue the sideshow theme.
Owner Brady Vest has a thing for the past. For this set, he used old wood typefaces, a classic letterpress machine, and a vintage pinhole perforator.