Monday, January 12

Printed Invitations as Art

As a photographer, amongst my many duties here at, one of the important ones is the understanding of color, light, and texture as it relates to paper. Paper is inevitably an incredibly important part of the stationery industry. Every printed invitation starts and ends with a single statement: the paper.

We can convert it, design it, alter it through printing and coating processes, we can do a lot to the fundamental building block of communication that is paper. I was not particularly inspired by paper before coming to eInvite, other than as a substrate for carrying my artwork, rather a work of art itself.

However, as I learn about type and learn about paper, I have come to recognize the beauty of stationery design, of respecting the space and the materials. How the presence and absence of something can define an emotion or an ambiance. When all of this comes together in a single, portable shape, it is very inspiring, and inspires me to help tell the design's story.

Sometimes that story is as simple as the texture and design of the invitation itself. Other times, a wider vocabulary is required. Take this invitation by Checkerboard, for example:

A whole vocabulary of design and design history is contained within it. I may over-interpret the design (I have a tendency to do that with art) but when I look at this, I see a designer who has an understanding of how space defines shape.

The knocked-out wine glass is iconographic, rather than literal. It is stylized in a way that is both rustic and refined. Similarly, the construction of the invitation echos this feeling. The top layer and bottom layer are converted so that the paper grain runs at intersecting angles, creating different texture as the light strikes the layers. The colors of the paper itself are near complementary, green and purple, naturally the colors of grapes themselves.

The invitation is a metaphor for wine itself, the refinement of a simple fruit, representative of the duality of the very drink that the invitation celebrates. Art cannot occur by chance, it is either inevitable or deliberate. When I see something that has been designed by someone, either consciously or subconsciously, who pays attention to the details and message of a single invitation in this way, it inspires me to respect and underscore the care they took in their art.


Michelle pointed out to me that the paper is not varnished or coated in any particular process, but that both sheets have the same vellum finish, and are uncoated sheets. The differences in textures are tactile, but not the result of different paper or process! I've edited the post for clarity.


Michelle said...

Seeing through the eyes of the photographer is so interesting! Hearing about the details you see is pretty amazing. Thank you!!

Adoniram said...

Thanks Michelle, I really appreciate your encouragement~