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Chic dinner

BY jane, ON Monday, January 31, 2011

I was a guest for dinner over the weekend at a soiree hosted by Kelley L. Moore. (Take a look at her Friday blog post for a Give Away we are co- hosting.)  Everything about the evening was perfect. I met the most interesting and talented people. I will share their talents, my new sources, with you as we continue our blog.

Here is the flower arrangement for our table of 10.  These colors would be a perfect palette for a garden wedding.  Place cards or menu cards in various shades of soft yellow and blush would be perfect. Yes, of course we do them. We hand paint the flowers on each one.

Photo:Courtesy of Kelley L. Moore

May we use this as a sample?

BY jane, ON Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another consideration, when negotiating a contract with a calligrapher, is whether you wish to let your calligrapher use your invitation or other piece as a sample.  Most people are flattered to be asked. Sometimes their invitation or seating scrolls ends up on a magazine cover, or our website, and the client is thrilled.  Other clients decline. We never ask why, we just respect their wishes, and understand.   Not all calligraphers ask beforehand, however. Your calligrapher may assume they can use whatever they wish as a sample. So, my advice is to get this information up front.  If you are at all concerned,  then have a sentence added to your contract.

Find it in the Flat Iron

BY jane, ON Monday, January 24, 2011

I love lettering.  I love the process of it, and I love admiring all kinds of lettering.  Even typewriting! My mother kept an old Olivetti typewriter and my little nieces love playing with it. I recently was on a hunt to find a replacement ribbon. The wonderful thing about New York City is that there is a “district” for everything. In typical NYC style, there are several typewriter repair businesses in the Flat Iron District. (A section of the city which has an old  building in the shape of an iron.) Gramercy Office Equipment is one of them.  Not only did they have my ribbon, but they do complete overhauls of typewriters including washing them and replacing the rollers. It is comforting to me to know that skilled trades like this exist, being a tradesperson myself!

Considering a contract

BY jane, ON Friday, January 21, 2011

Once you have asked the questions to determine if the calligrapher you are considering is a professional,  specializes in the style you like,  and has a portfolio that is impressive,  you may wish to move on to a contract. Our wedding jobs are generally processed through retail stores, and so the contract is between that retailer and the customer.  For other work,  the contract originates from us.  For smaller jobs,  often an email stating the terms and payment will suffice.  For larger jobs,  you will want a contract.  Get the terms in writing! You want clearly stated the turn around time, the dates when your job will be started and completed. How much of a deposit will you need to put down? When is the remainder due?  Who pays for shipping? Then read all the fine print. Some calligraphers have written in their contract that they will stamp or emboss their name on every single envelope they address.  The Delicate Pen does not do that. Our invitation line prints our company logo elegantly and subtly on the back side of the invitation.  We want you to be the focus of your invitation!

Portfolio

BY jane, ON Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yesterday,  I suggested that when you select a calligrapher you look at their portfolio.  A professional calligrapher should readily have available a sampling of their work. For our main wedding work, we have sample albums in the retail stores that represent us.  It is a two volume set.  We showcase  many different papers,  styles and pieces.  For our corporate and business to business work, I invested in a beautiful dark purple embossed leather portfolio. To me, presentation is everything.  I can grab my portfolio and go.  Inside are my tear sheets from magazines, a sample or two of my most elaborate work, and something specific to the meeting that I am attending. I would be wary of anyone that has samples strewn here and there and things finished and not finished. You should look for a clean, concise, impressive presentation that includes the scope of the calligrapher’s work over a considerable amount of time,  not just their most recent job.

Tear sheets from my portfolio

Professional or hobbyist

BY jane, ON Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When selecting a calligrapher, another factor you should consider is whether you want a professional calligrapher or hobbyist.  For your most important events,  I recommend a professional. Someone who has a real live calligraphy studio.  Someone who can show you a few  magazine tear sheets from magazines that they have appeared in,  and a client list with perhaps a name or two you might recognize.  Ask to see those things, as well as study their work.  Ask them what their services include.  I would suggest you find someone whose skill sets go beyond envelope addressing and setting up calligraphy for invitations.  Inquire if seating scrolls,  large commissioned pieces,  menus and elaborate wedding ensembles are part of the studio’s portfolio.

FInd an Expert in Your Style

BY jane, ON Friday, January 7, 2011

Another consideration, in choosing a calligrapher, is to find a specialist in the particular style that you love.  I specialize in roughly five different scripts, all pointed pen scripts.  I have heard several calligraphers say that they can “match” any style. But is that what you want?  “Matching” to me will not have the organic,  free flowing,  graceful lines that comes with years of experience, in a specialized script becomes a part of you-in your blood, so to speak. I am an wild advocate of being able to do many things well,  but I believe you want to find the person who is the expert in the style that you like, not something that will be quickly learned, or approximated, for your important job. I constantly evolve and experiment and certainly may add another style down the road,  but currently, most of my work is in variations of the Spencerian style, and all are in pointed pen scripts.  If this is the look for you,  we just may be the studio for you.  If not,  you have some guidelines to help you in your search for the style you like.

Calling Card

BY jane, ON Thursday, January 6, 2011

You can see yesterday’s post on why we believe your decision in choosing a calligrapher should begin with their business card or logo.  We are proud that our card was selected to be featured on the Calling Card page in Victoria Magazine.  We take our card even more seriously than most.  We add hand painting to each card.  We like to have many different colors on hand.   People seem to have difficulty choosing which one they want to keep! The back of the card has our info.  I used a non-standard size.   You know how we artistic types are!

Selecting a Calligrapher

BY jane, ON Wednesday, January 5, 2011

While we would be very happy to take on your calligraphy needs, we would like to offer advice on seeking a calligrapher should you look elsewhere. The most telling sign of a good calligrapher is their branding. Seek an artist who uses their own calligraphy on their business card, or as their logo.  The Delicate Pen logo is my calligraphy.  I collaborated on our branding with Roy Levitt, partner at Van Deusen and Levitt, during our company’s fledgling years in 1998. Roy was adamant that we use my calligraphy as the cornerstone of our branding. If I was not brave enough to put my own work on my business card, who would have confidence in hiring me!

A dozen years have passed and (with help from Roy) we are still using the same branding with consistency. It is our brand. That mark, or logo, is on our stationery, all over our website, on our gift boxes and much more. Our business card was even featured in the Calling Card section of Victoria Magazine.

Choose a calligrapher who is brave enough to design their own business logo.  That is a good start in making your decision. We hope you consider us as a possibility!

Click to enlarge

Text: Copyright Labanz

Why Use Calligraphy

BY jane, ON Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Calligraphy is lettered by a person, not a machine.  Nothing can replace something finely crafted by hand.  There are nuances inherent in anything done by hand.   Those nuances are what give something charm,  and life. When you add calligraphy you give life and breath to whatever you are adorning.  It is no small coincidence that many brides choose to have calligraphy an integral part of their wedding, whether in the invitation itself,  the envelope addressing, or simply the use of place cards at the wedding itself.  Calligraphy elevates the event.  Calligraphy tells your guests or viewer that they are special and sets an immediate tone of importance.  Note how this simple place card is more special because of the calligraphy.

Photo by Gray Hawn Photography

May not be used without permission.

Text Copyright Jane Labanz

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