I recently hired Maria of Pastore Studio to help me with my logo design. I knew what I wanted but need a designer eye to “fix” it up a bit. Not only is she a branding genius, she also designs custom wedding invitations. I knew all of you brides might love to see her work as much as I did.
Thanks for agreeing to an interview Maria! Tell us a little about yourself.
• I am beginning to regret how little I read books.
• I am slightly neurotic when it comes to being organized and making lists, including lists that direct me to make a list about something else.
• I have never dyed my hair, unless you count a Sun-In incident in 1996.
• My favorite wines are Pinot Noir, Malbec and Chianti.
• If the setup in a room is odd, I start to rearrange the furniture in my head. I have successfully convinced people that another arrangement would be more functional.
• I prefer small groups and close conversation to large groups and parties.
• I have really become obsessed with making plans to travel to places I’ve never been.
• Love social media, but personal correspondence is still vital for fostering relationships.
• I have finally learned to drink coffee black.
• Designing for others is what I enjoy. Designing for myself is impossible because I cannot commit to fonts, colors and style which I think is due to not wanting my work or presentation style to be categorized.
• Clutter makes me nervous.
I may need to have you over to rearrange my house! I am definitely open to suggestions. So, how did you get into the invitation business?
You know, the truth is that I feel as though I’ve been in the business my entire life or at least trying to be in it since I was very young. I have been designing for myself and others all along, I just now do it professionally. To nurture my craft and love of design, I chose to go to one of the best design schools in the country – Kent State University School of Visual Communication Design and earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts. This really helped me find my style and voice as a designer, something that is still being developed each day with each new project. I have had clients reach out to me because they appreciate the aesthetic of my work and moments like that that keep me here and motivated.
Post-grad, I worked in Manhattan as a junior designer at a design firm for a little over a year and then found my way back to Northeast Ohio designing at an advertising agency for about five years. While I had been freelancing all the while, designing invitations, etc., I decided to go full-time with my studio a little over a year ago and made it official in April 2010. Big decision to make, especially in today’s economy. I knew it would be a risk, but one that I had to take. I’ve always done what I love to do at all of my design jobs, but now I am doing it on my own terms, which is important to me. As a visual branding and invitation/stationery designer I chose to offer both as services of Pastore Studio.
I am glad you did!
(Maria not only helped me with my own logo, but check out a couple of the other brands she’s designed.)
What were some of your favorite projects from the last year?
I really enjoyed working on everything this past year. One of my favorite projects was being able to design the invitation suite for William and Dolores Brown who had their wedding vow renewal wish granted by Wish Upon a Wedding, Cleveland. It is always wonderful when you can give your time in support of a wonderful couple and a great cause.
(Below are some examples that Maria sent over. Just gorgeous.)
What is something few people realize about invitation design?
The invitation makes the loudest statement about your upcoming wedding or event. It is definitely something that should be just as important as elements of the event itself (flowers, cake, accessories, lighting). Starting with setting the tone of your event with your invitation design, following suit with all parts of the day itself and wrapping things up with a thank you card. All elements should feel as they they are part of one branded package.
What is the process of invitation design like? Could you give us the basic steps starting with meeting with the bride and groom?
We’ll email ideas or inspiration or meet in person to discuss specifics. The design process begins afterwards. Usually, I will focus on the main ceremony card and present a couple different options. The client will choose their favorite design direction and the process evolves from there for the remaining items. It’s always different and tailored to the needs of each client.
How long from start to finish should a couple allow?
This will vary and depends on many variables. Ideally, it’s best to reach out and start the process anywhere from 10-6 months prior to the event. Or if you’re interested in sending out a save the date as well, I would recommend 12 months before the event.
Invitations should be mailed 12-10 weeks before a destination wedding, 10-8 weeks before a local affair with some out of town guests and 8-6 weeks before an event that mostly includes local guests.
For details on process/timing – please go to the following page of the Pastore Studio website: http://www.pastorestudio.com/Invitations-Process.html
(Here are some examples of Pastore Studio custom designs.)
If a bride has no idea what she’d like for her invites, is there a resource you can suggest to help her gather ideas?
Absolutely. There are countless wedding design and planning blogs out there that serve as great resources to brides. To name a few, some of my favorites are: 100 Layer Cake, Style Me Pretty and The Knot. You can also go to your local bookstore and browse the wedding and design magazines for inspiration. Additionally, sometimes inspiration comes from the least likely of places. Maybe you’ll see a pattern you like or a color scheme that catches your eye while shopping for bedding or dinnerware. Or maybe there is a nice detailed edge on your wedding dress that you really want to incorporate. Or you might see a color pop from a flower in your garden. Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to be open to seeing it.
What new trends do you see in the invitation business for 2011?
Less is more. Coral/peach is fresh for Spring and Fall – feel like it’s a better alternative to pink. Pockets and pouches seem fussy. Stripes are still around. Paper that feels good versus flat and smooth. A knot versus a bow. However, the biggest trend is always representing yourself in the best way possible.
What inspires you?
When designing for a couple (or any client) – they inspire me. Before I get involved in designing, I truly begin to understand them as a team, what they like and what they don’t like, what they’re inspired by and that inspires me to create something truly unique for them. There’s always this fear of will I run out of design solutions but I’ve learned that when I focus on who the work is being created for, the possibilities are endless.
Additionally, I am inspired by various designers, typographers, illustrators, those who keep it real and fresh – too many to list. The cuts and patterns of clothing/fashion always inspires me. I am very inspired by the Art Deco and Mid-Century Modern styles. Architectural elements play a role. I follow the lines and shapes of almost everything. I’m inspired by persistence and the desire to achieve and be successful. Of course each person’s definition of success is different. I am inspired by my husband’s ability to always make laugh, even when I am trying to be serious – sometimes it is just what I need to keep going.
I love what you said there, “when I focus on who the work is being created for, the possibilities are endless.” I feel the same way about photographing weddings. And for my final (and most vital) question…what’s your favorite kind of candy?
• Favorite candy with chocolate: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, original is best, but still thoroughly enjoy the Trees and Eggs as well as the Minis.
• Favorite candy without chocolate: a tie between Sweetarts and Chewy Sprees
Thanks so much Maria for telling us about yourself and Pastore Studio.
Head over and check out her site to see more awesome work that she’s done.