Friday, 11 March 2011

February 2011–BAOD

At the beginning of November 2010, Javier and Tony at By Appointment Only Design told me about an event they were planning to hold at One Mayfair. It was to be a show casing evening of work for a wedding event like no other. Three looks, completely laid-out as a table setting with a few plinths around with an invitation or a dress or something amazing. ‘It is going to look like something in a museum!’ he said. Can I come up with an invitation that will be mind blowing!

The first port of call was the Save the Dates. Ideas were tossed around and the sketching began in earnest. I plunged into my Colourplan book with pens at the ready. I tried different looks, scripts, colours and then went on to produce five roughs. One based on a hanging Christmas Bauble as it was being sent the week before Christmas.


All the while the, furious designing of the invitation went apace. ‘Cutture want to have something to do with the invitation!’ And so this was thrown in the mix. We met almost twice a week to see how it was coming along. In the mean time I was also asked to consider invitations for two the three looks, BAOD’s ‘Paris Couture’ look and the wonderful Polly Atkinson from Brides’ ‘Valentine’s’ Theme.


We settled on a ‘circlet of text of the two main names with some kind of corner decoration and a pop-up feel when the card was opened’. I wanted something that seemed alive and moved, but something that also helped the circlet feel like it was rolling. I sent off the images to Javier. He chose the most complex one (number 3) with Anne-Marie (Cutture) and me opting for the simpler of the three (number 1).


Then came the working out of the text and the decoration. The circlet started life as our ‘Upright Copperplate’ and was a serious headache getting it right. Anne-Marie then suggested something in the corners so the flourishing began.


I was not happy. It did not balance well. I knew our Small Caps would fill the centre but could not get my head around then circlet. It was my intention to place all the contributors as a frame at the front and back, blind embossed in our caps, but we could not get all the names together and the printing deadline was upon us.

Still I was unhappy with the lowercase with the flourishing. The Save the Date was done and sent off and Christmas appeared and everything stopped. Well not the designing. On Boxing Day, Javier and Tony dropped by at home and Alistair had to put up with us discussing more designs. That morning I had an idea to do the circlet in interlocked copperplate capitals, I tend to steer clear of copperplate capitals but in this instance it would work. More hassle – have you ever tried writing capitals, in copperplate, on a curve and getting them to look right? Not fun, as the tops of the letters need to be narrower than the bottom. I had to also make sure the letters were large enough to go all the way round and connect up. Then came the hell of the printing.



I knew I wanted it in gold, die-stamped on black Colourplan, with a sunk plate border on the back and front of the card. A mock up of the thing was made, sunk plate and all. All of this whilst working out the dentelle pattern for the corner pieces. This done, I sent of off to Anne-Marie for her to work out the complexity of the laser cutting, because if we don’t make the design correctly, when it is cut, it will fall out! To work this out in my head, I drew the pattern out and shaded in what needed to be cut out. Steep learning curve.

P1060823Then came the clincher – Cutture cut the dentelle pattern and there it was in dark grey Colourplan for real. I was thrilled. All the while I was talking with Rachel at Mount Street Printers to work out how we were going to print this. It was too large to be die-stamped in one hit and so two plates needed to be made (10 working days!) printing still to be done.

This was a little bit tricky, I say a little but Rachel would tell you another story. We thought of printing it in 4 hits but the registration would be a nightmare. I cannot tell you how important it was being lead by Rachel on this one.

Wrote the text out, scanned it and sent it to her to print. The plates were made up and off we went.



P1060825Javier was also sending out letters to brides who purchased tickets and so a handwritten letter copied up and filled in where the name and number of tickets were needed were done. Envelopes were addressed in the same script.

This was an on going thing as tickets were purchased. We, Javier and I, decided that it would be best to do these on a daily basis, or 10 at a time, which ever came first.

They were printed the BAOD pink or nubuck paper with nubuck envelopes. I must say the pink letter with the nubuck envelopes look stunning.

P1060824All the black Colourplan envelopes arrived and I started addressing them in gold ink on the slant. The envelopes were A5. I opted for the slant as I made a crazy decision to do the contributors list on the slant, in interlocked copperplate script.

There were about 300 envelopes to address, all by hand. Came in on the weekend to do these.

I have included some of the roughs for working out who went where, these are the better ones – there were about 20! Fitting this much text in that space, oh well. I knew what I was getting myself into. These were done on a train back from somewhere, I forget. To say the stationery for this event was consuming my life is an understatement. Not to mention there was all the studio work to keep up with. Off it went to print, unfortunately Matthew Williamson came on board after the printing was started.


Invite outers and inners were sent to Cutture to laser cut and stick together. Envelopes were sent and delivered personally to Javier and Tony for stuffing. I turned up at BAOD Shop on the Friday to see the printed contributors list and to help stuff and post. This was the first time I was seeing the finished invitations, contributors list and the envelopes together. I was so excited!


I got to BAOD on Chiltern Street and was practically jumping. Javier thought I had seen one. When he took it out of the box I honestly nearly cried! Of course I then started to pick holes in the and was told to be quite!

Apart from that we also needed a programme for the evening and lots of little place cards with the names of the looks and the contributors to each look. The ‘girandole’ design was done and sent to Mount Street to be litho printed. They arrived on the evening at the show Friday 11th February at One Mayfair, in time to be put out.


Javier and Tony’s ‘Paris Couture’ look called for pale colours and delicacy. I immediately thought of something I had a toying with – a beautiful lace invitation where the names of the couple were written first and the lace constructed around their names. All in white on a heavy tracing paper duplexed to a 700gsm board with a pale blue frame exposed (it does actually work as an invitation)


Polly’s mood board came and I was stumped! I called Polly as soon as her mood board came in to talk options. Hers came in on a Friday and I really needed the weekend to figure out what to do. In the end I opted for a red background with a heart in the middle made up of the text for the invitation, the couple’s names made the arrow all framed by an embossed border with gold graining in the embossed areas, like heart strings. Polly’s look also came with a beautiful envelope to match with text in copperplate in a beautiful vintage rose dark pink. The place cards were gold gilt with the rose pink and sumptuous menus with a strip of red with speckled gold down the left side.



With both designs I was VERY careful to discuss with all the printers we work with, the scale of complexity, degree of difficulty and duration of printing each project would take. It makes little sense in designing something that cannot be done easily, well and with a budget in mind.

Arriving at the event after a very long day, to see all those petals strewn around, I had to write one more thing – and that was to tell people to ‘Write their details here!’

Below are images Sarah took when they were in place at the venue. I hope you enjoy what enjoyed working on. Thank you Javier, Tony and Polly. Love you lots!


For a better close-up. Oh! And this is what I did to mine – it is lined with GFSmith Gmund Treasury Shimmer.



There were also little gold gild edged placecards with the names of the specific contributors placed next to their contributions!



  1. Incredible to see your process Paul! Thanks for sharing your design ideas and fascinating sketchbook along with your finished pieces.

  2. Bravissimo! Magnificent, Paul! I love having the opportunity to see your sketchbook and to follow your process in creating the finished, gorgeous work. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Affectionately, Anne

  3. Fabulous work Paul! Brilliant and inspiring! Congratulations to you and your team, and thank you for sharing it with us.

  4. It's incredibly inspiring to follow the journey of these designs and very generous of you to share your thoughts along the way - the finished designs are breathtaking, but so are the initial thoughts you put on paper right at the beginning. Love your blog.
    Claire x