Sunday, April 10, 2011
Step 43 - Research and Book your Calligrapher
Calligraphy is an expression of one's heart, head, and hands. It's two Greek words define the word kalli and graphia meaning "beautiful writing", most often associated with writing done by scribe's during the renaissance. The allure of calligraphy lives on embodied in the rich tradition of special events.
Calligraphy establishes a formal tone and elegance, making it a perfect choice for engagement announcements, wedding invitations, place cards, programs, seating arrangements, location maps, and thank you notes for many of your wedding guests. The invitation will be the first impression of things to come, so it will reflect your personality and tone of the wedding. Couples design wedding invitations to portray the importance of the blessed event and express the love they have for each other.
Many of us have dabbled with calligraphy some, either in a school course or as a hobby in our homes. Does this mean we are qualified to address 300 envelopes? Is it realistic for a bride to do it herself? Little things like the handwritten or little ink smudge can make a big difference between wedding invitation cards and envelopes looking tacky or professional and these drawing skills only come with steady hands and experience. You have two choices, hire an experienced calligrapher or do it yourself and practice, practice, practice. Calligraphy is a perfectionist's playground, so even slight imperfections will cost you time and money.
An expert calligrapher has the training, the tools, and the patience to address your wedding invitations and envelope needs for your wedding and cover whatever other printing needs you have for your big day. You want to start researching various calligraphy artists by looking at wedding related websites, put into a search engine your city followed by "invitations" or "calligraphers", and some select city calligraphers appear elsewhere in this blog. You want to study calligraphers websites and look for a style you like and the type of paper the calligrapher used. You want to find a calligrapher that you like and fits your budget too.
Special type of paper is generally used for calligraphy for a wood fiber paper does not bind well with ink and has a tendency to break down or wear out over time. Paper in ecru, buff, eggshell, or ivory is the most popular choice for wedding invitations. Cotton fiber paper has a soft luxurious feel and binds well with most inks.
You should invest in a good quality calligraphy pen set with detachable and interchangeable nibs (tips) for fine detail, spring loaded dip pens for larger areas and thin sable brushes for outlining and letter build-ups. The two most popular styles of font includes "royal script" and "shaded antiques roman", but there are scores of calligraphy fonts to choose from.
Identify and interview a number of calligraphers before deciding on one. Book with your calligrapher as early as possible, preferably a couple of months in advance before the invitations are to go out. You need to find a calligrapher that you are comfortable working with and who is responsible enough to get back to you as soon as possible, should they encounter any issues that should arise such as with paper, ink, format, address, timetable, or delivery. Establish a communications medium with the calligrapher, whether it be email, phone, or text mail.
A matter to understand and remember with calligraphers is, calligraphers are often dealing with multiple clients at the same time and their work is often time consuming and tedious. One must not be too strict with calligraphers, you need to be a little flexible about them meeting deadlines with you. Their work is a perfectionist profession. They are pretty good at prioritizing their work but when they are working on your product, try not to put them under stress and under the gun. You need to understand their world has "oops" moments and do overs and if you can give them a little leeway you are apt to get a superior product.
Some characteristics of most professional calligraphers. They often work from their home office, which generally contains voluminous amounts of books, magazines, and newsletters related to their art. They collect beautiful papers, pens, writing instruments, inks, and paints and will write with just about any tool or medium they can get their hands on. They belong to local guilds and national organizations such as "The Association for the Calligraphic Arts" and IAMPETH "International Association of Master Penman, Engrossers, and Teachers of Handwriting". They attend conferences all the time and meet with renowned calligraphy scholars and network often with other calligraphers using email or texting.
As you interview with calligraphers, see if you like the paper they specialize with, the ink products they use and the fonts and styles they employ. You want to catalog examples of their finished works to gain a sense of what they have prepared for previous clients. You want to get a sense of their style, the wording, the font and formatting styles and see if their techniques are what interests you.
As for costs, the industry standard is to charge by the envelope, but many calligraphers charge differently depending on what part of the country they are in. The rule of thumb is to expect a charge of around $2.00 per envelope. Be sure to order 20 extra paper and envelopes for every 100 invitations to compensate for any "oops" mishaps. Many brides opt for printing needs to go along with the theme or color scheme of their wedding.
Calligraphers will charge for their work in different ways. Some charge by the line, others by envelope or place card, others have or add a charge for a specific writing style, and charge additional fees for lined envelopes. There may be charges for centering, using unique paper, or having to address international addresses, or working with handwriting or incomplete lists. The important matter is to understand the charging arrangement and do the costs come within your wedding invitation budget.
Some brides and grooms opt to write their own wedding invitations. Before considering, you need to ask yourself? Do you have the time? Can you get the calligraphic pens and calligraphic style paper? Do you have the patience? Do you have a good quiet space? Do you have the penmanship? Do you have access to the calligraphy fonts, and can you get drawing techniques down? There are font script guides you can order for a fee off the internet. You can also pick up drawing skills from Youtube, you not only need to use a font script guide but you need to visualize how the experts handle the pens and stroke the letters.
When you practice calligraphy, you want to use a lot less expensive paper and pens. Special felt tip pens are good and there is special script paper that has embedded slanting directly embedded in the paper so you get into the habit of slanting your pen strokes. One solution is to give calligraphy a try yourself, if it goes good, great, and if you continue with "oops" moments, become a realist and switch over to a professional calligrapher. If you master calligraphy yourself, and the guests hear of it, your guests will truly be impressed!
As you derive a count, remember to count a couple with their children as one unless the kids are of legal age. Be sure to share your theme and color scheme with the calligrapher and he/she may help with some ideas. Let them know of the wedding date and develop a targeted send out date and an RSVP date. Make sure you communicate frequently and come up with a medium to communicate with. Check out previous clients satisfactions and ask if they were happy with both the calligrapher's work and communication style. Review the contract in detail and come to an understanding, does the calligrapher get the work to you or do you have to get the work from him/her and who is responsible for the verifying of addresses, the stuffing, the stamping, and shipping.
Is the calligrapher going to take care of other wedding needs, the programs, the place cards, the seating arrangements, and the thank you notes? It is important to have a comfort zone with your calligrapher or find another one. So research and book your calligrapher and see you on the other side!