NYCxD Inspiration Recap

It's a wrap! The second annual NYCxDESIGN has come and gone, bringing great design talent and energy to the city, as well as featuring the many designers who call New York City home day in and day out. I've enjoyed sharing design inspirations each day during the festival as LAURA ANN launched online. These categories define much of my existing work, as well as designs to come, but this is just the beginning! If you missed the campaign on social media, here is recap of what inspires design by LAURA ANN, as well as details behind each design and product.

NYCxD Day 2: INSPIREDxART&ARCHITECTURE. The "Birthday Boating" watercolor and ink illustration of Central Park  was inspired by a memorable birthday party that I attended for a dear friend where we rented paddle boats near the Central Park boathouse. It became one of a series of New York Landmarks Stationery stationery set, my foray into stationery in 2009. It has been incorporated into party invitations ever since, and LAURA ANN is now pleased to be able to offer iPad friendly digital files in tandem with coordinating print invitations and stationery. Purchase any of the Landmarks scenes as a custom invitation. Or commission your own bespoke invitation and matching greeting card, then frame the watercolor illustration for yourself or as a gift!

NYCxD Day 3: INSPIREDxFAMILY.  On Mother's Day I gave a special shout out to my mother Ann, mother-in-law Laurie, and grandmothers Barbara, Ruth, and Judy. My mother Ann (bottom right photograph), is the ANN of LAURA ANN! They all inspire me with their everyday grace, style and love. Brian and I collected a wedding or couple portrait of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents to display at our wedding, and have found a special place for them in our home as a daily reminder of their love and marriages. The white rose cascade bouquet that I carried at our wedding was inspired by the rose bouquets of my mom and mother-in-law. We shopped for just the right vintage cake topper, and I designed our tiered cake with fresh flowers to match the gorgeous wedding cake of my Trimble grandparents. Shop  Cake Topper Stationery  for congratulatory notes to the bride and groom, or as bridal thank yous.

NYCxD Day 3: INSPIREDxFAMILY. On Mother's Day I gave a special shout out to my mother Ann, mother-in-law Laurie, and grandmothers Barbara, Ruth, and Judy. My mother Ann (bottom right photograph), is the ANN of LAURA ANN! They all inspire me with their everyday grace, style and love. Brian and I collected a wedding or couple portrait of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents to display at our wedding, and have found a special place for them in our home as a daily reminder of their love and marriages. The white rose cascade bouquet that I carried at our wedding was inspired by the rose bouquets of my mom and mother-in-law. We shopped for just the right vintage cake topper, and I designed our tiered cake with fresh flowers to match the gorgeous wedding cake of my Trimble grandparents. Shop Cake Topper Stationery for congratulatory notes to the bride and groom, or as bridal thank yous.

NYCxD Day 4: INSPIREDxFRIENDSHIP. I am endlessly amazed by the passions, talents, and generosity of my friends, and always grateful for the love they bring to my life. A special bond of friendship that I became a part of in college is the fraternal sisterhood of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. The key and fleur-de-lis illustrated on place cards and menus represent the love and loyalty that binds Kappa women. More generally, the abstracted lily fleur-de-lis symbolizes perfection, light, and life. Shop Key Escort / Place Cards and Key and Fleur-de-Lis Greeting Cards.

NYCxD Day 5: INSPIREDxHAND WRITING. My first paid job as a little girl was writing names in calligraphy on certificates for the Washington Township Schools Tennis Program in Indianapolis, Indiana (celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year!). I've never given up that love of calligraphy and typography, and the joy of recognizing a loved one's handwriting on a piece of mail. I continue to hone in on my craft, diving in to learn more of the endless styles of writing, to offer that personal handwritten touch to my stationery designs. LAURA ANN also offers calligraphy services for envelope addressing, escort cards, certificates and custom signage.

NYCxD Day 6: INSPIREDxTRAVEL. Travel opens up our eyes and minds to the world around us, and is a huge source of creative rejuvenation and energy. I often love the artistry of the maps as much as the places themselves. Day to day and on the road, I'm a fan of Google Maps as much as the next busy traveler, but does Google mark out your favorite ice cream shop, or the romantic bench where you got engaged for all to see and share? I don't think so! LAURA ANN specializes in custom illustrated maps which elegantly integrate the practical streets and landmarks along with the more personal markings to match the needs of a client. 

NYCxD Day 7: INSPIREDxFASHION. I came to New York City with two suitcases in 2007 to pursue one of my earliest design loves..fashion! I learned a lot from those early NYC days at kate spade and Brooks Brothers, and pursued other design interests since, but have never given up an eye for personal style. Why not let your own statement pieces inspire a set of bespoke personal stationery? These personal notes were inspired by timeless jewelry styles - an IWC watch and Tiffany cuff links. Sincere personal notes that reflect your own voice and fashion will never go out of style. No matter how much technology and digital communication  becomes part of our lives, a handwritten note will set you apart.

NYCxD Day 8: INSPIREDxNATURE. I will never tire of painting flowers. They are the ultimate natural beauty, and no wonder they are in abundance at celebrations of love. Nature's gifts remind us of life beyond greater than ourselves, and what joy its exotic colors, shapes and textures bring to our life on Earth. The Wildflower Collection anticipated the countryside wedding and captured the love of two close friends who are wildly in love with each other. Shop Wildflower Thank You Cards.

NYCxD Day 9: INSPIREDxHOSPITALITY. Nothing warms the home like guests. Whether greeting friends and family or opening one's home to strangers, we are all called to share our gifts. The love is the same whether you keep things simple or bring out grandmother's finest, but why not make your guests feel extra special with a few hand touches? The LAURA ANN Fish's Kisses Collection of invitations, escort cards, menus, thank you notes, and gift tags is inspired by my own everyday dinnerware, the Dansk Arabesque pattern. The blue and white dishes with matching fish shaped serving-ware remind me daily of our honeymoon in Greece, and bring a touch of Mediterranean island living to the middle of Manhattan. Shop Fish's Kisses Stationery and Fish's Kisses Escort/Place Cards.

NYCxD Day 10: INSPIREDxFAITH. Goin' to the Chapel, and we're gonna get married...Brian and I got married almost two years ago now in the Princeton University Chapel! Our wedding invitation captured for us all the anticipation, joy, and Gothic architectural drama that we looked forward to sharing at the altar with the Lord, each other and our guests. The gatefold "doors" of the invitation, opening to a custom illustration of the wedding altar, are the signature of the Chapel Collection. The Chapel Collection can be customized with bespoke art of a couple's wedding aisle. The original painting is a wonderful keepsake to frame and hang as a constant reminder of the momentous occasion and commitment of the wedding day vows.

NYCxD Day 11: INSPIREDxSPORT. Tennis anyone? As the 11th day of NYCxDESIGN marked the AIA New York's ninth annual "FitCity" conference, it was an appropriate day to share my own passion for sport, fitness, and of course, competition. As a life long tennis player and athlete, I believe in the power of athletics to shape both mind and body. And without a doubt, competitive moments aside, sports are a great way to share in friendship, love, and camaraderie. These tennis stationery cards are inspired by a bright racquet cover I once received as a favorite gift. It happened to match a towel I picked up at Wimbledon in 2005. The Brits and their tennis whites and lawns bring so much elegance to the sport. Share your passion and love off the court with "Tennis Love, Love" and "Breakfast at Wimbledon" Stationery.

NYCxD Day 12: INSPIREDxSERVICE. Princeton in the Nation's Service, and in the Service of All Nations! As alums we have a charge to share our unique interests, passions, and talents near and far. There was no better cheerleader than Dean Fred Hargadon. This Yes Collection "Tiger Spirit" card pays homage to Dean Fred and his signature "Yes!" admissions letter. He said "Yes!" Princeton students to attend, "Yes!" to Princetonians to pursuing their passions, and "Yes!" to Princeton tigers to go out into the world to make positive change. These cards will be available at the Princeton University Store at the start of Reunions 2014. 10% of profits will benefit The Class of 2007 Dean Fred Hargadon h07 Memorial Endowment Fund.

Here Comes the Bride, Orchids in Hand

LAURA ANN's love of spring orchids continues this week with a spotlight on the origin of the Orchid Collection, which was designed for the wedding of Logan Smith and Pete Pollack. As the couple celebrates their three year wedding anniversary in just a few days, LAURA ANN looks back on the collaboration. 

After designing the wedding stationery suite of Logan's brother Ramsey, I was thrilled to hear from Logan when she was looking for a bespoke illustrated wedding program. She asked for orchids in place of the tree branches of Kathy and Ramsey's program, in a beautiful, bold fuscia color. When I sent her the first draft, she requested that the orchids be brighter. I went back to the watercolor and ink painting and added more pigment.

LAURA ANN custom illustration for Logan and Pete's wedding program. 

When I saw photos after her wedding of her bright orchid bouquet, I understood why! She envisioned this spectacular bold color to pop as she walked down the aisle, and how coordinated it was of her to anticipate this detail for her guests in her wedding program before making her entrance down the aisle.

Logan Smith Pollack's bridal bouquet of orchids. Photo by Tracy Turpen.

LAURA ANN orchid wedding program for Logan and Pete. Photo by Tracy Turpen.

The theme even carried into Logan and Pete's welcome bag stickers.

Taking the LAURA ANN mantra of personal touches to the next level, Logan mailed in a drawing by Pete's daughter to incorporate on the back of the program - an adorable, heartwarming touch!

Logan and Pete's trifold orchid wedding program, inside and out.

Logan and Pete's trifold orchid wedding program, inside and out.

Three years later Logan and Pete's LAURA ANN orchid commission has inspired a whole collection of stationery, from the retail thank you notes, Hawaiian "Aloha" and "Mahalo" notes, and place cards, to menus and invitations for the "something borrowed" host. Happy anniversary, Logan and Pete!

Mr. and Mrs. Pollak. Love the touch of orchids in Logan's hair! Photo by Tracy Turpen.

Mr. and Mrs. Pollak. Love the touch of orchids in Logan's hair! Photo by Tracy Turpen.

Virginia is for Lovers, and Cherry Blossoms

As this week marks the three year wedding anniversary of my dear friends and clients Steve and Ellen, LAURA ANN looks back on Steve and Ellen's illustrated Cherry Blossom Collection invitation suite, which is as current now as ever. The beautiful Virginia venue Raspberry Plain and the seasonal cherry blossoms native to Virginia inspired the design and custom illustration.

Photo by  Studio Juno

Photo by Studio Juno

Photo by Studio Juno

A custom illustration of the couple in the venue's gardens for the invitation reception card anticipated the happy day.

Photos by Studio Juno

The couple wove key elements of their courtship into the names and descriptions of custom beer labels that Steve brewed himself. Cheers!

Photo by Studio Juno

Anticipate, Inspire, and Deliver

LAURA ANN bespoke illustration and design services began one piece at a time with the wedding stationery needs of my Princeton tennis coach, Kathy Sell for her wedding to Ramsey Smith in his hometown of Hilton Head Island (see the LAURA ANN Hilton Head Collection Bespoke Process).

Kathy's approach to communication through her stationery, which aligns with the artistic vision I share with my clients, is much like how she trained me on the tennis court - anticipate, inspire and deliver. As a tennis coach, she helped the team anticipate the strategies or shots we would need for an upcoming match, inspire us to visualize and take on those skills as our own in practice, then delivery with victory!

With event stationery design, the artist and client collaborate to anticipate the important visual cues of the event that can be foreshadowed through the stationery, whether locations, natural elements, fashion or decor. The client provides any custom images for inspiration. Together we inspire the guests to visualize the mood of the upcoming event, and through the coordinated effort deliver an unforgettable experience of shared love and joy.

Kathy's bridal shower invitation anticipated the beauty of the wedding's seaside town, and this amazing tree branch dress portrait.

Photo by Tracy Turpen

Kathy and Ramsey's illustrated rehearsal dinner invitation with custom nautical art anticipated their party's transportation to dinner by boat on the Spirit of Harbour Town.

Photo by Tracy Turpen

The custom art from Kathy and Ramsey's illustrated Save the Date anticipated the scenic tree and lighthouse backdrop of their wedding day portraits - all the more meaningful and memorable!

Photo by Tracy Turpen

Manhattan Love Production Party

As a graphic designer and illustrator of wedding stationery suites, I have the unique pleasure of sharing in the love of my clients, giving visual communication to their emotions. With Adam and Marianne I also had the joy of working with them to bring the stationery pieces themselves to life. At LAURA ANN, I help clients find the printing (or digital) solution to best fit their needs, and I love it when clients jump in for a "do it yourself" stationery project.  I was delighted to lead a production party with the bride and groom to be and their lovely friend.

Adam and Marianne brought the LAURA ANN "Manhattan Love" collection to life for their New York City nuptials at the chic, modern Tribeca Loft venue. The illustrated island of Manhattan and the couple's initials with a heart in their wedding color became custom marks used from their thank you notes, to the menu, program, escort and table cards, and even the cake and photo booth (wedding day photos to come!).

The bride and groom found black and white photograph postcards of iconic New York City landmarks to inspire their table names, inscribed on the back with hand calligraphy as table cards. Look closely and you'll see that the heart moves on the map to match the location of the landmark!

Cheers to Adam and Marianne!

A Romantic Storybook Invitation, with the Luck of the Irish

Monday, March 17th is Saint Patrick's Day! It also happens to be Irish Arts Center Book Day 2014 in New York City.  Books and the Irish will always have a fond place in my heart as I think back warmly to my cousin Alberto's wedding to his sweet bride Betsy on the eve of Saint Patrick's Day last year. It was cold in Minneapolis but spring in spirit with touches of Irish green from the flowers to the shoes and the invitation suite.

LAURA ANN_Storybook Collection_Inspiration

The literature lovers wrote the story of their love into the details of the weekend, starting with a LAURA ANN illustrated bookmark save the date. The couple shared an image of the bench where Alberto proposed, which I illustrated and wove through the stationery suite.

The couple's initials drawn together on an open book became a signature mark throughout the stationery suite. The invitation featured three book pages with romantic quotes and a wedding weekend illustrated map. The reply card designed in the style of a library card reminded guests when their response was "due back."

The wedding day decor carried through the literary theme, from escort cards handed out in card catalog drawers, to hard back books stacked elegantly with the centerpieces. Literary themed table names matched romantic quotes designed for each table by LAURA ANN.

As a final touch, the bride and groom sent thank you notes with a wedding portrait on the same bench where they got engaged, with the bench illustration to match on the inside. Sounds like a storybook romance to me.

Winter Warm-up Bash: A Custom Tag for a Unique Favor

This past Tuesday LAURA ANN had the honor of participating in a party hosted by Octavia & Brown and Diana Tsao Events. Liz Geddes and Diana Tsao and their teams put together an elegant and hopping "winter warmup" bash in the lovely setting of vintage party rental furniture and accessories at the Octavia & Brown showroom. For the Diana Tsao Events party favors, the coveted and hard to come by Crane Crest Real French Dressing reflected the unique experiences that can be planned and provided by Diana Tsao Events. A custom illustrated watercolor and ink party tag designed by LAURA ANN captured this message. The tag cover featured an illustration of the view out the showroom window, leaving guests with a warm memory of the iconic New York rooftop view, water towers, fire escapes and all. The addition of daffodils was artistic license, but here's hoping that spring is just around the corner!

The gracious hosts of the evening, Diana Tsao and Liz Geddes.

© Michael Kelly Photography

LAURA ANN stationery display on Octavia & Brown's vintage Ruby Order Wheel.

© Michael Kelly Photography

LAURA ANN custom table tent cards and calligraphy paired alongside the delicious food and beautiful flowers and platters.

© Michael Kelly Photography

© Michael Kelly Photography

© Michael Kelly Photography

© Michael Kelly Photography

LAURA ANN Founder Laura Ann Elbogen with DJ Ray Jarrell of Jarrell Entertainment, Liz Geddes of Octavia & Brown, and photographer Christian Oth of Christian Oth Studio.

© Michael Kelly Photography