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Letterpress Archives - Plurabelle Studio | Calligraphy & Graphic Design

Kelly & Michael’s Hollywood Deco Wedding



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In Calligraphy, Graphic Design, Invitation Design, Letterpress, Wedding

Kelly_and_Michael_1Kelly_and_Michael_14  Kelly_and_Michael_12     Kelly_and_Michael_7 Kelly_and_Michael_6 Kelly_and_Michael_5 Kelly_and_Michael_4 Kelly_and_Michael_9 Kelly_and_Michael_2

This letterpressed invitation suite was written entirely in custom calligraphy and printed on luscious 220lb cotton Lettra in a combination of black ink and gold foil. The wedding theme, which drove the design, was Old Hollywood Deco, with hints of Moroccan influence. Kelly & Michael were married at the Colony Palms Hotel in Palm Springs, California, a location rich with patterns, textures, and colors that we used as inspiration. The envelope liner was a custom pattern based on the ballroom’s tiled floor, the black-on-gold foiling was reminiscent of the décor and the emerald green edge painting of each piece spoke to Santa Barbara’s lush greenery.

Printing by the fabulous Czar Press.

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Behind the Scenes – Instagram Lately




In Behind the Scenes, Calligraphy, Color Inspiration, Graphic Design, In Pencil, Invitation Design, Letterpress, Rubber Stamps, Stationery, Wedding


Snaking down from top left:

• Dr. Ph. Martin’s Iridescent Copper Plate Gold ink drying on a navy place card

• An invitation suite I designed for a Bahamas wedding, letterpressed in turquoise ink and gold foil with a custom return address stamp

• Wet gouache in my studio’s evening lighting

• My sister’s favorite Leonard Cohen line calligraphed on a Moleskine notebook card.

• Bleedproof white on craft paper with one of my favorite vintage stamps

• A packet of Plurabelle samples headed out the door to a stationer in Virginia

• White on turquoise!

• From my sketching desk: refined logo sketches for a wonderful event company and an ex libris stamp in Spanish

• Precision light pad work

• Custom-mixed burnt orange gouache

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The Paion Society: Mystic Order of Dreamer Vigilance




In Calligraphy, Collaboration, Invitation Design, Letterpress, Stationery, Wedding

Paion_Society_Plurabelle_Calligraphy Paion_Society_Plurabelle_Calligraphy2


Every so often a project comes along that is so energizing and fun that it entirely reboots my creative drive and re-inspires me to be the best designer I can be. Very often, these projects are collaborations with other designers, where the meeting of minds proves true the old adage that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” In the case of this invitation suite, I was lucky enough to join forces with two other creative minds: graphic designer Megan Knight Gonzalez of MaeMae Paperie and the bride, Shoshana Rosenberg. Our cross-country collaboration (from LA to Minneapolis to NYC) manifested itself as long email threads and brainstorming explosions, resulting in one of the most exceptional, unique invitations that I have ever laid eyes (or hands) on. It is as beautiful as it is absurd; as funny as it is peculiar.

Because photos really can’t do it justice, I feel the need to tell you about each of the items in this suite, which was actually a box of goodies sent to each guest:

  • Each invitation was packaged and shipped in an 8.5 x 11-inch kraft paper box, caked in vintage stamps, addressed in large black calligraphy, lined with navy tissue paper, and tied with red and white baker’s twine.
  • Navy #10 envelopes calligraphed with guests’ names in white and sealed with custom-made red wax seals that said “Ian & Shoshana” were the first elements recipients saw when they peeked inside.
  • Inside these envelopes were letterpressed invitations on 220-lb Lettra with a blind-embossed, patterned background and black text. 
  • After opening the invitation itself, invitees were presented with an array of curious and delightful “extras”:
    • The 14-page Paion Society Official Handbook — the secret society Shoshana and Ian created just for their wedding guests.
    • The Paion Society Official Membership Card (for the “Mystic Order of Dreamer Vigilance & Camera Alignment”).
    • A fold-over reply card entitled “Lettuce Know”.
    • A rubber-stamped reply card envelope with more vintage stamps and a custom-designed embossed seal on the flap that depicts a compass and reads “Clear Eyes • Full Hearts • Can’t Lose”.
    •  A metal decoder ring for guests to decrypt a secret cipher that Shoshana wrote inside the Official Handbook.

As Shoshana played a huge role in conceptualizing her own invitation suite, I asked her to give me a little background about her inspiration and the design process. She writes:

I am not sure I have ever been as excited about a project in my life as I was about these invitations. Ian and I both love comic books, and I actually began my vision for the suite with the altered version of the Kavalier and Clay cover. I worked with Dan Anselmi’s team at Imagecraft in NYC to lovingly re-work the book cover from Chabon’s brilliant novel. (I’m a bit old-fashioned and wanted to make it “Ian and Shoshana,” but the spacing simply doesn’t allow for it.) The original cover art was done by Henry Sene Yee, and it is really such a gorgeous and high energy piece of artwork and great design that I was struggling to find a way to create pieces that could complement and accompany our use of it without being overwhelming.

Once the cover art rework was finished, I contacted MaeMae Paperie. I had been to Megan’s lovely site again and again in my endless research, and as soon as I knew that I wanted graphic design…there could be no one but MaeMae. I sent her the “book cover” and the copy for the invitation and we started to talk in earnest. Megan was wonderfully supportive and open about my idea — I wanted to try to create something that felt like a “Secret Membership Kit” that a child might have ordered from the back of a comic book in the 40s. I had once sent away for similar kits from Bob the Sub-Genius, and from Bed Edlund at New England Comics. They had been absurd and elaborate kits, replete with all manner of clever nonsense. We agreed on several ideas for pieces and presentation and I went hunting for and, to my absolute amazement, found, those honest-to-goodness Secret Decoder Rings which are made and designed by Seth at Retroworks.

I wrote and drafted the copy for all of the pieces as we went along, and Megan came up with endless ideas, including the inspired idea of including games and puzzles. I giddily ran with that mission and wrote into the middle of the night for several nights, and more than once sent her far more than we could use. She found stunning graphics and picked perfect fonts for all of it. I am a pain in the neck as a client because I am a perfectionist with a thousand ideas and inputs and edits, but Megan is an absolute creative genius with wonderful acumen, and she designed the suite of pieces in complete harmony with everything we had discussed and that I had hoped for. They absolutely floored me.

The invitations really seem to have wowed everyone who received them, but the one item in the suite that was the most romantic of all was the piece that I wanted to be the true gift of the invitation, and it is the piece that most of my friends and family have kept and displayed and raved about: the box the invitations were mailed in, with addresses calligraphed by Plurabelle. In this day and age, the spectacular way the lettering was done on the boxes and the formal invitations, for most of us, is akin to seeing our names in lights. A friend of an invitee asked if the box had been commissioned as art just to show off their new address. My husband, an artist in his own right, was shaking his head again in awe a few weeks ago when looking at Plurabelle’s work and said “I still can’t believe this was made by a human hand!”

From the start I was set on very plain boxes with elaborate and personal stamps and gorgeous lettering — a keepsake that would look as though it truly was arriving in your mailbox from 1942. When Megan recommended Plurabelle to me I was immediately in awe. I had already swooned about the pieces Plurabelle did for prior MaeMae collaborations and I found the work on Plurabelle’s site to be absolutely breathtaking. I think my first email to Plurabelle sounded a lot like begging…or maybe it was my email to MaeMae begging that she make the inquiry on my behalf…but there was a great deal of willingness to beg, and an overwhelming sense of gratitude when I knew that Plurabelle’s artwork would be the first and most lasting impression of the whole endeavor. In one of those repeating and endless “chain FWDs from a decade ago about lovely things kids say,” I was always struck by this quote: “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.” (This is currently being credited to the author of a book published in 2010, but I cry foul.)

When I was sending out these invitations, these months of everyone’s work and creativity, to everyone we truly love, I knew that their names were not only safe, but would be both unforgettable and treasured in Plurabelle’s hand.

{ Photography & Calligraphy by Plurabelle Calligraphy  |  Invitation design and production by MaeMae Paperie, with the exception of the altered comic book cover (originally designed by Henry Sene Yee) done by Imagecraft  |  Invitation suite copy by the bride, Shoshana Rosenberg }


I’ll take this opportunity to say…

MaeMae Paperie is the outstanding stationery studio founded and headed up by designer Megan Knight Gonzalez. Apart from being an extraordinary designer, she is a great friend, awesome collaborator, and valued design world peer who has inspired and motivated me (specifically in one memorable pep talk over a pizza dinner) ever since I’ve known her. MaeMae offers completely custom wedding and social stationery and recently launched a new collection of wedding stationery that is now in wedding and fine stationery stores nationwide.

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Recent Work: Bettina & Brian



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In Calligraphy, Letterpress, Vintage, Wedding

On 19, Jan 2012 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Letterpress, Vintage, Wedding | By Molly

 { Calligraphy: Plurabelle Calligraphy / Event planning & styling: Beth Helmstetter Events / Photography: Steve Steinhardt }

This is one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever had a hand in (literally). Bettina and Brian were married at Gull’s Way Estate in Malibu, California last August. When I look through the photos, I am most struck by the stunning combination of colors and textures, from raw linen to fresh white flowers, and pink Thai silk to bone. My calligraphy — all warm grey ink on cream paper — was used in the letterpressed invitation suite, as well as day-of items like place cards, menus, and dessert table labels.

View more photos of Bettina & Brian’s wedding at the photographer’s blog, here.

 { Calligraphy & Photo: Plurabelle Calligraphy / Stationery: Beth Helmstetter Events }

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recent work: kate + deni, part II




In Calligraphy, Letterpress, Wedding

On 29, Nov 2011 | 2 Comments | In Calligraphy, Letterpress, Wedding |

On 29, Nov 2011 | 2 Comments | In Calligraphy, Letterpress, Wedding | By Molly

{ Calligraphy by Plurabelle Calligraphy; Photography by Jon Koch Photography;
Stationery design by the bride, Kate Allen }

The photos are in! A month ago I wrote about the navy, coral, turquoise and gold wedding stationery that my calligraphy was a part of, and said how much I was looking forward to the wedding photos themselves. Well here they are, and the whole effect is even more beautiful than I imagined! I can’t decide if my favorite part is the head table back drop or the fact that they had Groucho glasses at every table.

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recent work: kate + deni




In Calligraphy, Letterpress, Stationery, Wedding

{ Calligraphy + Photography by Plurabelle Calligraphy  |  Stationery design by the bride, Kate Allen }

This was surely one of the most beautiful projects I’ve ever worked on. You may remember the coral and navy save the date envelopes I posted back in March. Well that was only the start. This invitation suite was in the works for a full nine months! I can’t take credit for the design of the stationery suite, though — that all goes to the bride herself, Kate Allen. I provided Kate with the digitized calligraphy files and she utilized them in such creative and beautiful ways.

I don’t think that any photographs can do this suite justice. None can capture all the tiny details, let alone the experience of opening that outer envelope and pulling out each gorgeous item, one after another. Each double-thick letterpressed piece was double-sided and printed with navy ink, gold foil and small touches of coral. The three envelopes were lined with custom liners of coral, teal, navy and gold stripes, with a tiny “xoxo” gold foiled on each one.

As a final touch, the place cards for the reception were color-coded in the three colors — navy, coral and teal — to signify to the waiters which entrée that guest chose. I love that!

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pearl & marmalade



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In Graphic Design, Letterpress, Shopping, Stationery

images via

i’m in love with letterpress printer pearl & marmalade, especially their victorian-inspired invitation designs. they do really nice custom work at what appear to be very reasonable prices. they also have an etsy store and a nice blog which are both worth visiting.

images via pearl & marmalade’s etsy store.
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In Graphic Design, Letterpress, Shopping, Stationery

{ farmer’s market “fresh produce” letterpress greeting card pack via yee-haw}

ahhh! the packaging! the packaging!

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pistachio press



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In Letterpress, Shopping, Stationery

On 15, Feb 2010 | No Comments | In Letterpress, Shopping, Stationery |

On 15, Feb 2010 | No Comments | In Letterpress, Shopping, Stationery | By Molly

images via the pistachio press etsy shop.

pistachio press. fantastic name, fantastic letterpressing, fantastic designs. yes, yes, yes.

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In Graphic Design, Lettering, Letterpress, Shopping, Stationery

I was recently turned on to the jaw-dropping work of letterpress studio Hammerpress, located in Kansas City, Missouri. I’m not sure how much I could have appreciated their work had I never done letterpress myself, so let me tell all you out there who’ve never tried it: it is hard, and this stuff is amazing. The detail in the work is wonderful but perhaps more impressive to me is the precision of each layer of color. I can only imagine how long each press run takes….

I purchased a lot of things from their site recently, including the calendar below. I must say that it’s ten times prettier in person! It has amazing detail, the imprints are crisp, and they’ve used a beautiful, translucent silver ink which is barely even visible in the photos.

all images via
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