Voting for the 2015 Trendy Awards begins March 2

We are excited to announce that industry professionals will be able to vote for four Real Card Studio wedding invitations in Stationery Trends Magazine's 2015 Trendy Awards.

Our first entry, Hunter, is in the Green category. Engraved in Dandelion-yellow ink, this invitation is not just printed on recycled paper but also reduces paper by combining the invitation, reception card and response all-in-one. Neenah's Environment Grocer Kraft paper and envelopes, a premium recycled paper, is made with 30% post-consumer waste and raw wind power. The envelope liner is screen printed on handmade recycled paper.

From the Trendy Awards website:

The Trendy Awards recognize the latest trends and the best in the industry in greeting cards, gifts and all things stationery. Retailers and others involved in the industry are invited to vote on each of the entries, using either a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" vote. At the end of a two-week window, March 2-16, the votes are tallied, with the top 10 entries in each category being selected as finalists. At that point, the panel of industry judges will be invited to vote on the finalists. Judge votes will be tallied, and a winner named in each category. Winners will receive editorial recognition in an issue of Stationery Trends magazine, as well as an award to display in their offices.

The Trendys are sponsored and managed by Stationery Trends, the resource for greeting cards, gifts and all things stationery. Stationery Trends magazine is published quarterly by Great American Media Services. Stationery Trends magazine seeks to guide members of the stationery industry in their quest to offer the latest designs and trends to their customers - including everything from stationery and greeting cards to gifts. The design-focused trade magazine provides retailers with a peek at some of the industry's hottest designers and most sought-after products. Stationery Trends reports on upcoming trends before they hit the mainstream, ensuring its audience of diverse retailers is always ahead of the curve.

Hunter engraved wedding invitation by Real Card Studio is available at Union Street Papery in San Francisco, and other select stationers nationwide. Trendy Awards are sponsored by Stationery Trends Magazine. Photography by Fresh Outtakes.


Split-fountain Letterpress Valentine Poster

Boy holiding Love Boldly Valentine poster by Real Card Studio

Love boldly.

8.5x11" Reich Paper Savoy cotton card stock letterpress printed split-fountain of neon pink to Pantone yellow with foil printing in gold, by Real Card Studio. Photographed by Fresh Outtakes.

Stunning Black on Black Modern Bar Mitzvah Invitation

Duplexed invitation in black and antique gold
Custom duplexed black and gold stock for double thickness and gold edge view

invitation suite in black and antique gold
Bar Mitzvah invitation with black on front and gold on back features black gloss printing on both sides

celebration card black gloss printed in black on black
Black on black party card

What a stunning, elegant and modern bar mitzvah invitation. We custom duplexed smooth black stock to metallic gold and foil printed in black gloss pigment on both sides. This type treatment is very modern and the varying point sizes makes it more legible than just spreading small type out across the line. This works for a traditional synagogue ceremony as well as a night on the town party. Elegance is always in style.

Custom invitation by Real Card Studio. Available by special order from our retail partners nationwide that carry our Mitzvah and Party Collections. Photographed by Fresh Outtakes.

Modern Save the Date Engraved in Navy ink with Lilac Edge Paint

Engraved Save the Date card by Real Card Studio. #wedding #invitations #navy #lavender #realcardstudio
Engraving is a printing process where the ink fills and engraved void in a copper plate and is transferred to paper leaving a raised image that you can feel. It is very crisp and particularly good with very thin lines.
Save the Date card by Real Card Studio. #wedding #invitations #engraving #savethedate #realcardstudio
"Berry" tall save the date card engraved in dark blue ink and edge-painted in light purple by Real Card Studio.

Get engaged over the holidays? Once you've secured your wedding venue and date–particularly if you're marrying on a popular weekend (holiday weekend) or inviting guests to join you on vacation at some romantic destination–it's time to send out Save the Date cards.

Sending save the date cards lets you out of some of the anxiety around planning your wedding. It gets the basic information to your guests so they know what they need in order to plan to attend: when and where. And where doesn't have to be specific venue, it can be the city they need to travel to, the details can come later when you're ready to send out your invitations. Leave some of the exciting details for the big reveal when your invitations go out.

Another nice thing about doing save the dates is that it forces you to get that guest list together sooner than later; It's more work than you might think. You may have your holiday card address list in a spreadsheet, but remember, you need to gather names and address from your betrothed, your parents and his or her parents too. Get that pulled together early in the game and your save the date will pay for itself in avoided-stress down the road.

When should save the dates be mailed? You can mail a save the date as soon as your event date and location is set. Six months is pretty typical. The more planning your guests will need to do, the more notice you should give them. Once you've mailed save the dates, you can wait until 8 weeks before the wedding to send out the full-details invitation.

Does your save the date have to match your invitations? Well, sort of. It should definitely coordinate. You'll know how formal, traditional, modern, romantic, rustic or casual your event will be by the time you set to work on your save the dates, so choose something that reflects that. If you've decided on colors, save the date is a great way to introduce them. Choose fonts that you could see yourself using on your invitation, because the more coordinated your wedding stationery is, the more pulled together your event will feel.

Real Card Studio's "Berry" save the date card is engraved on super-thick ivory cotton paper and edge painted in lavendar ink. Available at The Wedding Library in NYC and other fine stationers.


Engraved Invitation in Pantone's Color of the Year, Marsala

Marsala is the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year. Shown here on Sangria duplexed stock engraved in blush pink by Real Card Studio.
Nothing makes me happier than when Pantone chooses a color of the year that lines up nicely with a design I've just launched. They call it Marsala, we call it Sangria.

"Callan" engraved invitation by Real Card Studio is available at JAM/Mindy Weiss in Beverly Hills.


Stunning Modern Engraved Wedding Invitation in Gold and Charcoal Gray

Engraved wedding invitation in charcoal gray and gold by REAL CARD STUDIO

When we unveiled Real Card Studio's new Engraved Wedding Collection at the National Stationery Show last May, this was hands down everyone's favorite design. "Magnolia" is a very modern yet still very classic invitation with delicious gold engraved type on a double-thick dark gray card stock. The Japanese screen printed envelope liner gives the ensemble extra interest and beauty. Suitable for a city chic wedding downtown as well as an evening church ceremony.

Magnolia is part of Real Card Studio's Engraved Wedding Collection available at Lee's Specialty in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and other select stationery stores nationwide. Visit our website for Store Locations. Photographed by Fresh Outtakes.com


Modern Gray and Blue Engraved Wedding Invitation

Another ultramodern wedding invitation from Real Card Studio's latest Engraved Wedding Collection, Olympia has a subtle beauty that let's the names of the couple take the spotlight. Understated blind impression border expands the design while containing the beholder's eye to the details of the event.

The black engraving is crisp and smart on this pale Seattle Sky gray paper in robust 200# cover weight. A pop of blue in the envelopes completes this stylish ensemble and gives it personality.

Invitation design, Olympia, is part of Real Card Studio's Engraved Wedding Collection, available at Patricia Ducharme Fine Stationery in Newport Beach, CA and select stores nationwide. Photography by Fresh Outtakes.


Corporate Holiday Card in Blue and Silver

Corporate holiday cards don't have to be a snore. Cobalt blue plus silver 3-ply cards are conservative and beautiful with matte silver foil printing. The silver paper in the middle of two blue cards give the illusion of the very-trendy edge paint. (We could have edge painted in silver, but we love this look, too!)

Real Card Studio created this custom holiday card for Kate's Paperie in New York City. Photographed by Fresh Outtakes.

Ultramodern Engraved Wedding Invitations by Real Card Studio

VALENTINA engraved modern romantic wedding invitation in yellow and silver by Real Card Studio
"VALENTINA" Lemon yellow card stock engraved in silver with ultramodern silver roses envelope liners, silver edge paint.
"Ginger" wedding invitation engraved in aqua blue and chartreuse by REAL CARD STUDIO
"GINGER" Asian red card stock engraved in mint and chartreuse with Italian ribbons envelope liners, aqua edge paint.
"Coronado" wedding invitation engraved in white on navy with neon pink edge paint by REAL CARD STUDIO
"CORONADO" Preppy navy blue invitation and backer engraved in white and edge painted in neon pink with pink and white striped envelope liner.
"Russo" wedding invitation engraved in gray and brown on white cotton with edge paint, by REAL CARD STUDIO
"RUSSO" Bright white thick cotton card engraved in masculine grey and brown with ash gray edge paint.

Ash grey engraving and edge paint on thick white cotton by Real Card Studio
Edge paint on heavy cotton cardstock.
Real Card Studio is so very pleased to announce that our new Engraved Wedding Collection is now in stores! This is a preview of a few of the ultramodern designs included in the new collection, but you really need to see and touch them in person to appreciate the thick colored papers, contrast edge painting and fine detailed intaglio printing.

In the stationery industry, we call these invitations "engraved" but really, it's the copper printing plate that is engraved with the image that the ink builds up in, leaving a raised image on the paper. Very old, traditional print method made new with bold colors and designs.

All designs by Real Card Studio. Photographed by Fresh Outtakes.


Real Card Studio exhibiting at National Stationery Show 2014

Thrilled to announce that Real Card Studio will be back at NSS this year! We have not exhibited at the National Stationery Show since 2008, and every year we've really missed it. So why this year? I'll tell you why: we have a spectacular new offering for in-house print capabilities: engraving!

More info to follow, we are working furiously to have as many new samples ready for the show as we can. Stay tuned!  And hopefully we'll see you (stationery store buyers) in New York!


Love Boldly, Valentine!

Love Boldly Valentine by Real Card Studio
Split fountain letterpress printing in neon yellow and neon pink on Reich Savoy 118# cotton. Designed by Real Card Studio.
I didn't quite get to sending out Christmas cards this year, but I think I've made up for it today. I've been trying to find the right project to try out a "split fountain". Split fountain means instead of putting just one ink color on press, you split the fountain and put two colors on at once and let them run together in the middle. Pick the right colors, and you get a beautiful ombré gradation like the one we did here.

We dropped in the personalization in gold foil at the bottom (and I used these for work, personal and Union Street Papery mailed out to their version to all of their valentines!)

Love boldly, my friends. Have a happy Valentine's day.

Valentine designed by Real Card Studio. Photographed by Fresh Outtakes. (See Kim's post about receiving this valentine in the mail here!)

Find what you love.


(This is what I wanted to do for my Valentine... but feedback was that it might be a tad dark.)

My dear,
Find what you love and let it kill you.
Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness.
Let it kill you and let it devour your remains.
For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover.

~ Falsely yours

Charles Bukowski. (Or was it?)

Custom Illustrated Bride and Groom Save the Date Card

Custom bride and groom illustration save the date by Real Card Studio. Illustration by Juli Douglas Illustration.
Custom illustrated bride and groom personalize these save the date cards

Save the Date card by Real Card Studio
Isn't this the sweetest bride and groom you've ever seen? And doesn't it just make it THAT MUCH COOLER that it was custom illustrated to reflect the attire to be worn by the couple at their wedding? I've been fascinated by the color and comparative drama of South Asian / Indian weddings for several years now. South Asian Bride magazine, and let's be honest, "Monsoon Wedding" movie (and Bollywood in general) have a lot to do with my piqued interest.

Not involved in a Hindu wedding? You may not be wearing vibrant red or pink to your wedding, but you can still have a custom illustrated save the date or even program, like this one we've blogged about here: illustrated wedding party program. Juli Douglas Illustration works magic with your wardrobe images, simplifying and personifying at the same time.

Real Card Studio created this custom illustrated save the date for Magnificent Milestones in Chicago. Illustration by Juli Douglas Illustration. Photography by Fresh Outtakes.


Classic Country Club Wedding Invitations

Traditional Jewish wedding invitation by Real Card Studio
Classic cotton invitation letterpress printed in two colors + blind impression monogram

Wedding insert cards by Real Card Studio
Wedding weekend accommodations, events and response cards
Response set by Real Card Studio
Opal metallic envelope offsets the matte texture of heavy cotton cards

Classic wedding invitation with Hebrew by Real Card Studio

Some venues and celebrations call for the utmost in classic elegance when it comes to invitations. It's tempting to go with something trendy for your invitations, when there are just so many fun designs available now. But your invitation's job is to give your guests clues to what to expect. A busy hot pink chevron patterned invitation would not give your guests the right information for a traditional wedding at the Princess Anne Country Club.

But just because you're going traditional, doesn't mean it has to be boring. This elegant invitation is personal, warm AND traditional. The blind impression monogram did not show up well in the photos, but on 220# cotton paper, the guests receiving these invitations definitely experienced it. The warm wheat and grey inks gave a more subtle and natural treatment of traditional copperplate gothic type, that was exceptionally inviting.

Real Card Studio created these elegant invitations for RSVP Stationery at their new location in Virginia Beach. Photography by Fresh Outtakes.


Just About That Action, Boss

I have to confess: I'm a fair-weather football fan. I couldn't be bothered with it for most of the season, I finally watched the last 5 minutes of the Seahawks vs. 49ers game, and then the Super Bowl. (They kind of made that whole business look pretty easy.) We've had a great year, and the Seahawk fans are, well, total fanatics. It's been contagious. And the team this year is just so interesting. Great guys, great personalities.

So I admit, I've caught the fever and hopped on the band wagon. Call it what you will, I'm not ashamed. And as a lover-of-a-good-quote, our own Marshawn "Beast Mode" Lynch gave such a catchy one in his brief interview that I've been repeating to myself all day. (And I'm not the only one, it's been remixed too.) So here's my homage to the Seattle Seahawks. Because I, too, am all about that action, boss.


Morning Crossword Puzzle Theme for a Brunch Wedding Reception

Modern rustic kraft, black and red invitation by Real Card Studio
Modern rustic invitation on kraft with black and red with ikat native diamond patterned envelope liner.

Kraft with black grosgrain placecards by Real Card Studio
Kraft placecards with black grosgrain bows topped mini stacks of pancakes at each seat.

Crossword puzzle themed table signs for wedding breakfast reception by Real Card Studio
Crossword puzzle table signs with table numbers spelled out in red on grocery bag kraft paper.

Crossword themed invitation and seating cards by Real Card Studio
Crossword puzzle themed kraft, black and red invitations, table signs and place cards by Real Card Studio.
Crossword themed invitation and seating cards by Real Card Studio
Crossword puzzle themed invitations and table signs for a breakfast wedding reception and Bloody Mary bar.
Seattle Met Bride & Groom magazine

Seattle Metropolitan Bride & Groom "Day Into Night" featuring table cards by Real Card Studio
Axis Pioneer Square venue in Seattle hosted Seattle Met Bride & Groom magazine's "Day Into Night" feature, with invitations and table signage by Real Card Studio

Seattle Metropolitan Bride & Groom "Day Into Night" featuring table cards by Real Card Studio
Custom crossword puzzles and puzzle themed table signs at a breakfast wedding reception and bloody mary bar.
Sometimes, the things I become most obsessed with I first resisted. (Don't tell my husband I just admitted that.) So when I started working on the paper pieces for Seattle Met Bride & Groom's magazine feature "Night Into Day" with Carna Lapping, Very Important Events, it took longer for me to embrace Editorial Director Laura Cassidy's vision for a morning crossword puzzle theme than I care to admit. I adored the burlap bags-as-table-runners and the antique coffee cans for the floral centerpieces... I wanted to work with every element of this styled photo shoot but the crossword puzzle. Once I yielded, the result was captivating. Typical.

Kraft and burlap seemed natural choices for the texture and paper for this wedding brunch reception's invitations and table cards. Taking cues from the screen printed coffee bean bags for the invitation design, Real Card Studio used bold black typesetting offset with red for drama and to tie in the prominent Bloody Mary bar. Table signs were filled-in crossword puzzles spelling out the table number across or down. Placecards attached to toothpicks and tied with tidy black grosgrain bows accented a small stack of mini pancakes at each plate. Each plate had a real crossword puzzle with pencils for guests to work out answers to questions about the newlywed couple. And the highlight of any brunch – caterer Lisa Dupar's Bloody Mary Bar, with it's own crossword puzzle sign on burlap textured background.

Real Card Studio created invitations, place cards, crossword puzzles and a Bloody Mary bar sign for the "Day Into Night" feature in Seattle Met Bride & Groom magazine's Winter/Spring 2014 issue. Magazine photography by Dennis Wise. Portfolio photography by Fresh Outtakes. Venue, Axis Pioneer Square. For more credits, see the magazine image above.

Chef Themed 50th Birthday Party Invitations

50th birthday party invitation by Real Card Studio
Copper foil printed 50th birthday party invitation by Real Card Studio for Blacker and Kooby Stationers.
For this foodie's 50th birthday party, an epicurean chic event was the special of the day. Real Card Studio created this ecru and copper foil (because what other color could we do for the big chef's pot?) warm and urban invitation for Blacker and Kooby in New York City.


Amore Custom Valentine's Day Card

Custom gold foil and duplexed Valentine by Real Card Studio

Custom gold foil and duplexed Valentine by Real Card Studio

Sending Christmas cards is a fun, seasonal tradition. A new trend that is gaining in popularity is to send custom Valentine's to all your friends and family, too. (Or if you didn't quite get to the holiday cards this past year, Valentine cards are a great way to make it up to everyone.)

Lauren, owner at Rock Paper Scissors, designed this delicious Valentine for her client. It looks like an expensive box of chocolates! Real Card Studio custom duplexed the card, so the front is red and the backside is metallic gold, with matte gold foil printing. We heart this!

Real Card Studio created this custom Valentine card for Rock Paper Scissors in Franklin, TN. Photos by Fresh Outtakes.


Modern and Elegant Wedding Invitation with Edge Paint and Letterpress Printing

Duplexed, Beveled and Edge Painted Wedding Invitation by Real Card Studio
 Heavy card with charcoal gray beveled edge by Real Card Studio
Traditional wedding invitation suite by Real Card Studio
Add caption

Hand addressed envelopes by Matthew Sherman Calligraphy

Traditional response card wording for a wedding by Real Card Studio

Letterpress printed monogram wedding stationery by Real Card Studio
Petite trifold wedding program by Real Card Studio
Petite trifold wedding program with map of Seattle by Real Card Studio
This is a beautiful wedding stationery suite for an elegant wedding ceremony at Benaroya Hall with reception at Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle. (Fun fact: Chihuly's glass art assembly studio is just across the street from Real Card Studio.) Traditional heavy cotton invitation with letterpress printing in charcoal ink is made modern with the addition of a charcoal duplexed backer that we beveled and edge painted in matching gray ink.

The beautiful natural white cotton envelopes were lined in cement grey to match the backer, and of course the couple had a calligrapher hand address them to their guests.

For the day of the ceremony, the grooms chose petite trifold programs in a size that neatly fit into a formal jacket's breast pocket, and included a map of the area for their out of town guests.

And no formal wedding ensemble is complete without matching luxurious cotton personal stationery to make writing those gracious thank you notes a treat rather than a chore.

Real Card Studio created this elegant wedding invitation, program and stationery for Charlie and Kevin. Envelopes addressed by Matthew Sherman Calligraphy.


Pink and Navy Arrow Monogram Wedding Invitations

Monogram wedding invitation ensemble by Real Card Studio
Trendy-chic monogram with a heart for the wedding day, and the couples' new H monogram for their stationery.
Monogram wedding invitation by Real Card Studio

Thank you to our family and friends Favor Card by Real Card Studio
Finally getting to use the new monogram with their last name initial at the wedding reception
Thank you to our family and friends Favor Card by Real Card Studio
To our family and friends, thank you for being our support system, our encouragement, our partners in crime...

Pink and navy monogram wedding program by Real Card Studio
Wedding program by Real Card Studio
Silhouette wedding party program by Real Card Studio
Silhouette wedding party program by Real Card Studio
Bridal portrait photographed by Azzura Photography

If you follow our blog, this invitation may look familiar, because we featured this couple's save the date earlier this year.

I love when we get to do all the pieces for an event from start to finish, as it really makes for a very coordinated event. And the pieces get easier and easier to design, as many of the tough decisions made at the beginning carry through to the end. After you've fussed about the colors and paper, those decisions are already made for the next round. Not that this bride had any trouble making decisions. As an event producer for a technology product group, she didn't waste any time choosing and approving the designs. And I have to say, there's not a piece in the bunch that would have been improved by more contemplation. It's pink and navy perfection throughout. And I've been dying to share the series of three monograms we designed for Lauren and Chuck.

I'm a stickler for proper monogram etiquette. The rule I see people break most often is using a three letter monogram with the groom's last name initial (without the bride's) on the save the date, wedding invitation or program pieces. (Even when the bride and groom have the same initial... showing just one implies it's his). Technically, that monogram should not be used until they are actually married. (Read more about monogram etiquette.) So for this couple, I came up with three monograms that they would change as the engagement and wedding progressed. A diamond icon for their engagement, a heart for the wedding, and finally their shared name initial for the reception menu, stationery and into perpetuity. Cute, right?

And of course, the ever-popular silhouette wedding party program, using illustrations created by Heather McGrath Design. Silhouettes have been oh-so popular. For good reason too-- guests really relate to the diagram, it helps them see who is who.

This couple also wanted to be gracious and thank their family and friends for sharing the happiest day of their lives. Using the colors and design elements we already had in place, we recreated a trend-worthy thank you note that was placed at each plate. To contrast with the white table linens, we went with a navy blue card and white with a pop of hot pink to show off the newest monogram in the series.

A sweet ensemble for a very sweet couple.

Real Card Studio custom designed this wedding stationery suite for digital printing. Portfolio photos by Fresh Outtakes. Wedding photography by Azzura Photography.