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Stationery Archives - Plurabelle Studio | Calligraphy & Graphic Design

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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A Party in Venice? Yes, Prego!




In Calligraphy, Stationery

On 13, Aug 2012 | 7 Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery |

On 13, Aug 2012 | 7 Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery | By Molly

Remember this video I made? Well that was a sneak peek at this project, which was one of the most fun orders I’ve ever done. For her husband’s 40th birthday, Ashley gathered 20+ friends at a Venetian palazzo for a magnificent surprise bash. Guests were transported to the party in gondolas where they enjoyed a beautiful Italian-style soirée of delicious food and spectacular views. Am I supremely jealous? Sì!

My only directive in the design of these invitations was that they should evoke, with color and texture, the over-the-top character of Venice. I think of the city as rich and luxurious, so I chose a color scheme of navy and pale gold, and combined the textures of vellum, cardstock, and glossy papers, as well as hand-painted ink washes. Each invite was crafted by hand, so they were all ever-so-slightly different.

The invitations themselves were black calligraphy on heavy-weight, translucent vellum, and each was accented with dots of sparkly gold ink. The vellum invites were enclosed in navy cardstock pocketfolds, with “you’re invited” splashed across the fronts in more gold. (You can see the process for that step here.) As a finishing touch, I sealed the enclosures with hand-painted gold and navy labels. Matching navy calligraphy adorned the pale gold envelopes, which also had custom seals – navy with a gold flourish. And once the RSVPs poured in, I made place cards to match the envelopes.

{ Black & white photos at the top of this post courtesy of Ashley Maddox.
Invitation design + photography by Plurabelle Calligraphy }

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Liner Love



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In Calligraphy, Stationery

On 03, Aug 2012 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery |

On 03, Aug 2012 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery | By Molly

{ Calligraphy, custom liner + photography by Plurabelle Calligraphy }

I decided to dress up a card I sent recently with this hand-made envelope liner, accented with a calligraphed “i love you” message for the recipient. The liner is a watercolor and ink wash on light bristol paper, and the calligraphy is in custom-mixed gouache.

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An Autumn Wedding in Palm Springs



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In Calligraphy, Stationery, Wedding

On 27, Jun 2012 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery, Wedding |

On 27, Jun 2012 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery, Wedding | By Molly

{ Photography by Justine Ungaro  |  Calligraphy by Plurabelle Calligraphy }

{ Above four images: photography and calligraphy by Plurabelle Calligraphy }

I just received the very top snapshot of this October wedding in Palm Springs from photographer Justine Ungaro. When I designed the invitation suite for this wedding, the bride wanted a classic look with a twist: black and white calligraphy accented with vintage stamps and an antique gold and black floral print matting paper. It all seemed perfect for a Fall wedding in the desert, and now that I’ve seen Justine’s photography, everything fits even better. I especially love the juxtaposition of aqua water and the floral arrangements of crimson, bright pink, and cactus green.

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Recent Work: Katie & George



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In Calligraphy, Chalkboard, Stationery, Wedding

{ Calligraphy & top photo: Plurabelle Calligraphy / Stationery & bottom two photos: Christina Reinersman }

Since August, I’ve been working with event planner Karen Oliver (Volare Events) on the wedding of Katie & George. In October, I addressed their beautiful white-on-grey wedding invitations (remember them?) and since then I worked with them on place cards and a huge table assignment chalkboard. Well, Katie & George tied the knot on Saturday and I wanted to share some of these other elements, like the complete invitation suite by stationery designer Christina Reinersman and the delicious cupcake table (below) styled by Karen. The geometric yellow and white pattern of the napkins (bottom) was used as an accent throughout the entire wedding, including as the inside of the place cards and the wrapper around customized chocolate bars!

{ Chalkboard seat assignment frame: Plurabelle Calligraphy / Photo & styling: Volare Events }

{Place card calligraphy: Plurabelle Calligraphy / Photo & styling: Volare Events / Stationery design: Christina Reinersman}

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Snippet & Ink: 2011 Paper Favorites



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In Calligraphy, Stationery, Wedding

On 21, Dec 2011 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery, Wedding |

On 21, Dec 2011 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery, Wedding | By Molly

{ Calligraphy by Plurabelle Calligraphy }

I am so honored to be included in today’s Snippet & Ink post on their “Favorites 2011: Paper” roundup. I am such a huge fan of Snippet and am especially excited to be featured alongside the five other awesome calligraphers and designers below. Thank you, Kathryn!

{ Clockwise from top left: Calligraphy from Mr. Boddington’s Studio; Stationery set by Stripe & Field;
Calligraphed invitation by Hillary Williams; Calligraphed invitation suite via Martha Stewart Weddings;
Envelope design by Betsy Dunlap }

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season’s greetings!



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In Calligraphy, Craft, Rubber Stamps, Stationery

{ Calligraphy + Photography by Plurabelle Calligraphy }

Remember awhile back when I’d drafted my “season’s greetings” design but still didn’t know how I’d use it? Well I eventually opted for a rubber stamp, which I used with white ink on fig-colored paper. This left a lot of room for personal notes (in gold pen!), which I always like. The calligraphy is done in white gouache with sparkly gold ink accents.

(Also, how awesome are my new vintage glass pharmacy bottles? I picked them up this summer at the Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena. I love that place!)

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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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mixing green



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In Calligraphy, Stationery, Wedding

On 29, Oct 2011 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery, Wedding |

On 29, Oct 2011 | No Comments | In Calligraphy, Stationery, Wedding | By Molly

{ Calligraphy + Photography by Plurabelle Calligraphy  |  Stationery by Cheree Berry Paper }

I loved this project. These stunning letterpressed menus — printed in grey ink and gold foil with grass green edge painting — doubled as place cards at what was surely a beautiful wedding reception. I had to match the calligraphy ink to the edge paint color, which took a little time but I finally got it just perfect by mixing primary blue, primary yellow and permanent white gouaches. I hope I get to see photos of the table settings!

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