Happy New Year from LAURA ANN! We hope you are enjoying a restful holiday with family and friends and gearing up for a great new year ahead. We appreciate the support of friends old and new as LAURA ANN has revved up its illustration and invitations operations this year. It's been an exciting year, from our social media launch in New York in May during NYCxDESIGN, to a focus on landmark art and universities with our first retailer at the Princeton Ustore and the launch of the Princeton Invitation Collection, to the Kappa national design competition selection, to a feature in New York Weddings Magazine, and a cross-country move to San Francisco. We are energized and optimistic for what the new year has in store.
We're still celebrating the 12 Days of Christmas around here, so as a little gift, here is a sneak preview leading into 2015 - LAURA ANN is excited to launch the Ivy League Chapels Collection! Starting with my own Princeton University Chapel wedding invitation suite in 2012, the collection has expanded to include the university chapels of Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, and Cornell for wedding invitations and beyond. Stay tuned for the full launch in 2015 - Happy New Year!
LAURA ANN is pleased to be listed as a featured stationery vendor in the Winter issue of New York Weddings Magazine. It's never too early in the planning process to start thinking about custom save the dates and invitations!
LAURA ANN is honored to be selected as the winner of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation's national design contest for the logo and branding of a new annual fundraising event. The "Kappa Croquet Soiree: Wickets in Wonderland" will take place September 20th at the Topiary Park in Columbus, Ohio, not far from Kappa national fraternity headquarters. The whimsical illustrated poster scene of the Topiary Park is actually art after art, as the park contains sculpted bushes and gardens landscaped to mimic Georges Seurat’s famous painting A Sunday Afternoon on the Isle of La Grand Jatte. For Kappa's "Wonderland" theme, Alice plays croquet in the park with a Kappa key rather than a pink flamingo.
As a member of the Zeta Phi Chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma during my college days at Princeton, I'm delighted to contribute to the cause with the design for this exciting new event. Kappa promotes women in friendship, leadership, service, and community involvement, and the Croquet Soiree will surely be a great new event for the Columbus community and the fraternity. Event proceeds benefit the local Topiary Park and the Snowden-Gray House, the Heritage Museum of Kappa Kappa Gamma which is dedicated to educating members and the public about the changing societal role of women in higher education. Attendees of the event are encouraged to wear Wonderland or Victorian style flourishes. Sounds like a ball - wish I could make it!
International flair was the name of the game for this Dutch couple who dated long distance between the Netherlands and New York before tying the knot. In this day in age their courtship remained strong via e-mail and Skype, but it was the airmail iconography more typical of the Pan Am era which brought their romance to life in their stationery suite. The tie between the two cities became all the more meaningful when the couple made their union official at City Hall in New York City, where the bride was living. After nearly a year together in the States, they returned home to Rotterdam where they hosted a ceremony and celebration with family and friends at the beautiful 'De Maas' yacht club. Aside from immediate family who knew of their marriage, they turned to traditional mail and a custom LAURA ANN designed airmail postcard to break the news. A digital save-the-date allowed them to notify many international guests of the date with ease. No doubt their time in NYC and the prolific "I heart NY" message inspired their heart themed personal logo. The red and blue patriotism shared by the Netherlands and US made for an obvious choice of wedding colors. Cheers to Lisa and Reinoud!
Happy Fourth of July! LAURA ANN enjoyed stationery styling a nautical themed summer baby shower at Beach Point Club in Mamaroneck, New York - an all American theme for an all American couple welcoming a baby boy! Watercolor anchors, sailboats, whales, and stars took the form of custom designed tags, banners, games, and thank you notes. Guests wrote messages to baby for his scrapbook tied to a "wishing tree," and at each table they could guess baby's arrival date and "stats." Sailboats abounded from baby's "ship's ahoy" cake to the sailboats on location through the view out the window, tying it all together for this joyful and festive celebration.
Congratulations to Austen and Bren on their June 14th nuptials in Hilton Head, South Carolina! LAURA ANN was honored to design a third custom illustrated wedding program in four years for three siblings all married in and around the beautiful Southern island town (recall Kathy and Ramsey's Hilton Head Collection and Logan and Pete's Orchid Collection themes). Austen and Bren chose hydrangeas, roses, and sand dollars to tie together the local feel and floral decor of their summer wedding. A New York City skyline represented their meeting place as well as their new home together.
I delight in taking part in the artful design and communication of wedding programs, as I found the ceremony to be the most intimate and meaningful part of my wedding planning. All the more special seeing it through with three siblings!
LAURA ANN was thrilled over the weekend to launch our first retail collaboration. The Yes! Collection "Tiger Spirit" cards in honor of Princeton Dean Fred Hargadon hit the shelves of the Princeton University Store just in time for Princeton Reunions. Thousands of alumni return to campus annually to reminisce and reconnect. This year alums remembered the late Dean Fred, known for his signature "Yes!" admissions letter, as well as his warm presence on campus as chief encourager and cheerleader. LAURA ANN launched the "Tiger Spirit" illustrated cards in his memory with 10% of profits to benefit The Class of 2007 Dean Fred Hargadon h07 Memorial Endowment Fund. The greeting cards are available for purchase exclusively through the Princeton University Store (purchase online here), or visit the shop on Nassau Street!
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.
Today marks the beginning of the second annual NYCxDESIGN festival in New York City! The 12 day festival taking place May 9th to 20th aims to elevate established and emerging design practices and increases awareness of and appreciation for design by all audiences. It's been an honor to serve on the steering committee wearing my Archtober Senior Advisor hat - stay tuned on LAURA ANN Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for event reports throughout the week along with the launch of LAURA ANN Spring 2014! Over the next twelve days follow the LAURA ANN blog as I reveal just what inspires design by LAURA ANN, along with the new line.
First and foremost, LOVE inspires LAURA ANN! If you think hard, can you hear the pitch of Hugh Grant's voice in your head saying "love actually is all around" in his perfect British accent? I'm guilty of watching Love Actually at least once a year, but what can I say, I'm a romantic! The love that inspires LAURA ANN is multifaceted - from the love of a husband or partner, to the love of friends and family, and the love of our heavenly father.
As I come upon my second wedding anniversary to the love of my life, I'm thrilled to make our illustrated rehearsal dinner stationery suite available this spring in the LAURA ANN "Something Borrowed" services, as the Red Love Collection. Looking back, our patriotic red, white and blue summer wedding color scheme comes as no surprise given the palette of our favorite piece of living room art. I picked up the Mondrian inspired needlepoint at a staff sample sale during my days at kate spade, and it has followed me to every new apartment since. With red envelopes pulling the theme together, it captured our love in a personal way.
Love transcends the best of all human interactions, and I feel honored when as a graphic designer, illustrator and calligrapher my work can help communicate this great emotion. From wedding invitations and stationery, to party invitations, birth announcements, greeting cards, custom illustrations and favors, LAURA ANN is designed with love for the everyday and the special days!
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.
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.
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!
My husband Brian and I had the pleasure of hosting my aunt and uncle and a few friends for Easter brunch following church last Sunday. Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays, and I find great joy in bringing loved ones around the table to share in the holiday celebration. I have fond memories from childhood of spending Easter with extended family at my grandparent's home in Louisville, Kentucky. The South would be in full bloom by then, and when we had grown out of our Easter bonnets and egg hunts, my grandfather would always give the ladies a fresh flower corsage. Thus the fresh bright orchids with matching LAURA ANN Orchid Collection illustrated place cards, along with colorful Easter eggs, brought a touch of home to our NYC table. The plastic eggs in each fruit bowl contained a Cadbury egg for dessert. The jelly beans added a pop of color, and dessert before breakfast if desired! We each drew two jelly bean filled eggs from the glass bowl at the end of brunch to select a lucky winner for the Whitman's chocolate centerpiece. Murphy's Law that our winner was the only non-chocolate eater, but he shared!
It's with great excitement that I announce LAURA ANN's Bridesmaid Collection collaboration with Stella & Dot Stylist Joanna Roth! In the spirit of Bridal Fashion Week in New York City, LAURA ANN has launched a line of "Will you Be My Bridesmaid?" greeting and thank you cards inspired by Stella & Dot's Spring 2014 Elodie Necklace and Naomi Cluster Earrings (also available as Allanah Clip Earrings). The curated special collection calls out to the confident, bold and stylish bride attracted to both brands.
At LAURA ANN, we believe in the art of the personal touch, and that inspiration from coordinated details makes an extra special impression. For engaged ladies overseeing the hundreds of details that go into planning a wedding, sharing the love with your bridesmaids is one detail not to overlook. Let them know just how much they mean to you with a handwritten note when asking them to be part of your bridal party, as well as a note and gift when they shower you with love on your big day. The LAURA ANN "Will You Be My Bridesmaid" card was designed in conjunction with a "Bridesmaid = Love" and "Thank You" card to coordinate sentiments of gratitude to your bridesmaids across wedding related occasions.
I personally love the warm gesture that goes with giving and receiving jewelry between bride and bridesmaids, and have seen how bridal jewelry can be a strong point of inspiration when selecting bridesmaid dresses, shoes, and other accessories. I am a big fan of the clean, bold, and artistic aesthetic of Stella & Dot, and love that they have so many jewelry pieces that could capture the style of a bride and her maids! I sat down with my longtime friend and fashionista Joanna Roth, an Independent Stylist for Stella & Dot to discuss Stella & Dot bridal jewelry:
Laura Ann Elbogen: As a Stella and Dot stylist, you are an expert in helping clients choose the right pieces for any occasion. What's particularly exciting about styling for weddings?
Joanna Roth: I love styling for weddings because it is such a joyous occasion! Women tend to wear more color during festive occasions and that makes me so happy. I wish everyone would wear bright colors all the time.
LAE: How would you describe the jewelry style trends for this spring / summer?
JR: There are three main trends happening this spring and summer. The first is fringe - you will be seeing it everywhere, on jewelry, bags, clothes. The second is a pop of color - we have some great pieces that are in a strong coral or blue that will liven up any summer outfit. The third is rocker chic - we have some beautiful floral pieces that were inspired by vintage Chanel necklaces our designers found in Paris. We added a little bit of edge to the design to make them cooler and more wearable for the modern woman.
LAE: What advice do you have to brides about selecting jewelry for their bridal party?
JR: For anyone who loves our pieces, but would like to see them in person before purchasing, please reach out to me to set up a FREE trunk show! I'll show you all our latest jewelry and can bring over my favorite pieces for brides and bridesmaids.
Joanna Roth can be reached through her website at www.stelladot.com/sites/joannaroth.
It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving to show your gratitude. At LAURA ANN, we believe a hand written note of appreciation in personal correspondence and business goes a long way, and others agree. Guy Trebay in the Fashion & Style section of The New York Times recently penned on the cultural art that the "boring stuff your parents made you do never actually goes out of fashion" ("The Found Art of Thank-You Notes", April 4, 2014). Not only is it proper manners, but he brings up studies linking the old handwritten note to health benefits such as better sleep and stress reduction - who knew!
Similarly, Regina Lewis reported in USA Today's weekly Money Quick Tips that a handwritten thank you note is helping individuals stand out in today's digital world of over communication ("Handwritten Notes making a comeback", March 22, 2014).
Here at LAURA ANN, where penmanship comes in many calligraphy styles, we believe in the art of personal communication, and helping our clients and customers communicate their own personal style and touch. How sweet is it to pick up a saved note from an old friend or loved one and hear their voice in you mind as know them by their handwriting? For my part, I know that any message written out to Laura Ann is from my parents, the only people who have ever called me by my full name.
It is with gratitude and thanks to friends and family who have supported LAURA ANN from its early days that the LAURA ANN online shop goes live with its first retail product category - Greetings and Thanks. From the bottom of my heart here in NYC, thank you for your interest!
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.
A custom illustration of the couple in the venue's gardens for the invitation reception card anticipated the happy day.
The couple wove key elements of their courtship into the names and descriptions of custom beer labels that Steve brewed himself. Cheers!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
Have you ever wondered how stationery notes and escort cards at the store achieve such a straight edge, and how you can do the same at home? As a designer for the last five years who started out by printing my own notes at home, I'd like to reveal a secret to the DIY guys and gals - invest in a scoring blade. I recommend the Fiskars 93558097J 45mm Rotary Scoring Blade (just $5 on Amazon!). Carefully remove your every day trimming blade, or keep a separate board for scoring depending on the frequency of your at home card production. The Fiskars scoring blade pops easily into the Fiskars 12 Inch Classic Rotary Paper Trimmer. Line up your paper to the desired fold location and apply light pressure to your cutting motion. To avoid unintended outcomes, stay light handed, as this blade can cut all the way through if you're not careful. For crisp LAURA ANN designs with charm, polish and professionalism produced by the printer savvy DIY home studio customer, a scoring blade is worth the extra effort. Print, score, cut, fold and send!
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.
LAURA ANN stationery display on Octavia & Brown's vintage Ruby Order Wheel.
LAURA ANN custom table tent cards and calligraphy paired alongside the delicious food and beautiful flowers and platters.