Monday, July 19, 2010

Funny dancing penguin cards

Yes, it's high time for some wedding updates. Especially as we might get some traffic here now that our cards are going out! Plus, it's suddenly now less than a month away now. Glup!

Most importantly, our cards are FINALLY done and hoo boy, what a ride that has been.

The cards were only sent to print on Thursday, picked up on Friday afternoon, and we spent the weekend addressing, stamping and bundling the first batch along with figuring out how to get them out to as many people on our list as possible. But lets rewind a bit and look at how it all came about, which was an arduous process that took about 1,000 revisions and then some.

We originally had a Polaroid concept in mind, but at some point I picked up a box of vintage Penguin book cover postcards from Borders. Admittedly, I had no real justification for buying it other than a vague idea of stringing it up as deco for our wedding? House? Something? But a few weeks later, Fergs was messing around on the comp and said, "Hey, what if we use the design for our cards?"

Iconic, British, retro, literary. Qualities we like. It was a resounding yes!

That was settled quickly and painlessly enough. Then I said "I love patterns can we please have patterns please patterns are pretty, please." So Fergs gamely tried his hand using a book of patterns I had as reference, also from Borders.

Now lets pretend this is a movie, and a whole montage of pattern and colour combinations will now proceed to play. But long story short, I felt that each combination we tried didn't work as a whole. In most cases, it was hard to say why or how to fix it. So eventually, we roped in our superduper graphic designer Wei Yu and she helped us out immensely, reillustrating the penguins, drawing us some new patterns so the set finally looked cohesive and helping us with the alignment for printing, printing contacts and so many other little details that she deserves a giant penguin trophy. Plus she was super patient with us even when we delayed on the copy for the back. Hip hip hooray!

Ah yes, our copy. We knew that we didn't want to use a conventional template, and anyway the postcard layout wouldn't fit it. It needed something more compact and friendly-sounding, but it was hard to find the right tone and decide what information really needed to be included. For example, we didn't put any maps in on the assumption that people will just google or ask. Also, we didn't put our contact numbers because we everyone should have them already. In the end, we had to write a few versions before we settled on a style that still sounded like a postcard but was also proper enough for aunties.

The final touch was when Wei Yu suggested sticking stamps on, and I remembered that the weekend antique flea market in Amcorp mall sold old stamps for 10 cents a piece! Some of the stamps date back from as far as the 70s and are from countries that don't exist any more, or carry values from currencies that don't exist any more (for example, East Germany, Yugoslavia and the European currencies before the Euro was introduced). I love the romance of getting a piece of another country from another era and imagining the correspondence that stamp was originally on.

In fact, my role was to select and stick on the stamps, and it was a lot of fun matching stamps to people we knew - either countries they liked, have visited or had some connection with. I am proud to disclose that Fergs has done a marvellous job of hand-lettering all the wedding cards, and he is the only guy I have ever known to do that. It's a joy to sit side-by-side working and see the little piles of cards neatly tied together grow.

I love how our cards sound and look and feel completely us.

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