Wednesday, October 27

Cirque Du Noir and the folks of eInvite

{images l to r: guests lisa crislip, j.fatima martins, chad sirois; musician valerie thompson of goli; eInvite photographer amy demar; eInvite artists: emily quillen and scott boilard; vip passes courtesy of checkerboard; louie despres and his wife tina zlody; angela cannistraro and myself,
and the art fusion audience, all images here by louie despres}

Our recent frolicking at Cirque Du Noir was such an enjoyable night. Every year we get dressed up in our finest noir and celebrate for a good cause. The premise is a simple one, with a huge artist community right here in town, the Worcester area is thriving with talent. We gather them up, watch them create incredible collaborative pieces before our eyes, while auctioning off donated pieces of art from many other generous and talented artists. All this happens while listening to incredible music. This year Esthema and Goli of Boston joined us for the haute evening of incredible creativity and fantastic costumes.

The event was actually inspired by all the creativity surrounding us at work. From this pool of amazing friends and creative spirit, the event became a reality. In its third year Cirque Du Noir has grown so much and we are so happy, as proceeds from the event support the Worcester County Food Bank. Our sponsors like eInvite and Checkerboard help to make the night a success adding the details that make it special. The VIP passes, programs and printing donations were customized for the event. Thank you to all that came out to enjoy art, music in the spirit of Halloween and giving back to our community.

Cirque Du Noir was Sunday evening, followed by a Halloween themed celebration at our annual company picnic the day before. We are just a bunch of party people here. We are now looking to Friday, which will bring yet another costumed day of fun!

Monday, October 25

Harvest Party

Here in New England, autumn is one of the most inspiring seasons, with the changing colors and dropping temperatures which call for cozy food and decorations. In a few weeks, my friend is throwing a "Harvest Party", and I am imagining natural colors and textures, hearty foods and an overall feeling of warmth. Here are a few ideas, so you can throw your own party and celebrate this fabulous season!

Friday, October 22

Typographic Pumpkins!

Following the spirit of the previous two posts, I was delighted to come across these typographic pumpkin carvings. There is something endearing about precise and austere glyphs of Helvetica being carved out of a giant vegetable/fruit. So in addition to the typical staple of Jack-O-Lantern faces, don't be afraid to celebrate the season by showing off your inner design nerd! Just watch your kerning.

Images from: Veer , Swiss Miss , ,

Thursday, October 21

Halloween favorites

Michelle's fun post made me want to share a few of my favorite halloween cards and accessories on eInvite!

Wednesday, October 20

We Summon You for Hallow's Eve Inspiration!

{images l to r via:, cheeseclothe welcome beautifully used, ghosts: martha stewart, cookies: good house keeping, fabric flora: dragonflys and stars and mask: sarah thomas designs}

Halloween is such a fun holiday for children and adults. The folks here at eInvite tend to get a little hokey around Halloween and have a lot of fun. This invitation shown above is from our digital invitation line, perfectly priced for a fun event like All Hallow's Eve, and sets the tone perfectly for a night of childish fun. You get to dress up and eat absurd amounts of candy. When I see elegant Halloween ideas, I am really drawn to them, like this mask by Sarah Thomas Designs. You can even make something out of recycled pieces from around the house. Autumn is vibrant in New England and it is also a time we can all reflect on the passing summer, rustle through the leaves and think about the approaching holidays with family, hopefully while stopping at a neighbors for some warm cider and apple bobbing!

Monday, October 4

Old Becomes New Again

As we've discussed on eInvite's Insights before, Pantone releases a color forecast seasonally, twice a year. The fall 2010 colors are a wonderfully muted, yet rich, palette of natural hues. They are:
As I began to play around with combinations and screens, I thought I would look at some of Pantone's own libraries regarding these colors, and discovered something interesting: Lipstick Red 19-1764 was the one of the textile colors of the year... in 1997. Needless to say, that got me curious. How was Lipstick Red being used in fashion more than a decade ago? Was it a pop color? Was it a hue applied universally as a base for furniture colorways? Where was it and how did it play?

It's worth noting that Lipstick Red is a perennial favor of the Pantone staff, and shows up every few years in one industry or another, so it's no shock for a currently forecasted color to show up years before. What struck me is that some of the color forecast information in 1997 was still floating around the internet. So, off we go to investigate!

It didn't take long to dredge up reporting on design back in 1997; the New York Magazine was particularly helpful in identifying textile and interior use of 19-1764. I noticed that Lipstick Red was favored as an accent color for doorways and large interior objects:

image from The Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas

Old becomes new again through some slight styling changes and an emphasis on woods and natural tones, rather than the more stark and hard materials of the 1990s, featured by the architect Barbara Bestor in a variety of design journalists earlier this year:

image from Barbara Bestor's BESTOR ARCHITECTURE

It's interesting that while the materials, and particularly the light design, have changed, some of the basic design aspects have not. We still see a lot of metal mixed with wood: a juxtaposition of human-made materials with human-shaped materials. Though the two images above are distinctly different in taste, you can no doubt see similarities in the treatment of space (light makes a big difference here!).

Interior design was not the only design quarter to see Lipstick Red in decades-long rotation. The AIDs awareness campaigns that dominated popular culture in the 1980s continued on through the 1990s and, as AIDs awareness was often important to the design community, the red AIDs ribbon showed up both as a literal object and as a cultural color. The Red Ribbon Project was created in 1991 and continues to be a recognizable object in today's culture.

Ralph Lauren showcased a few powerful reds that were very close, if not exactly, Lipstick Red in his 1995 fall collection:

Ralph Lauren 1995 Fall Collection

Then, more than a decade later, Nicole Kidman shattered the Oscars with this red Balenciaga, analogous to similar trends in the 1990s:

Nicole Kidman, style by Phillip Bloch in 2007, in red Balenciaga

Of course, a reasonable argument is that anyone can pick and choose through history to create a design narrative, but I think it's clear that both the color and the application have a real history in our design culture. One of the great challenges that creatives and designers have is recognizing the difference between popular and timeless design. This difference is often was separates good designers and great designers.

The same goes for print design. When looking to purchase something that's meant to memorialize a moment in life, both designers and customers have to figure out whether their style is something that is nuanced but unchanging through time, or if it bends and sways with the trends of the day. Both are perfectly acceptable! Predicting time is the hardest thing anyone can try to do.

Our advice is never to try and guess what the future may hold. When buying something you intend to cherish for generations, make sure it's an honest reflection of who you are and what you love: about this moment, about the event, about life. Stay true to this and when you look back in twenty years, you won't have to say, "What was I thinking?!"