Elegance in Simplicity: Kelle McCarter’s Inspiration for Colette

We love seeing what inspires the designers who help create our collection of letterpress wedding invitations. “Elegance in simplicity. That is the inspiration for Colette. Elegant calligraphy with a pointed pen sweeps across the width of its edges with languid tails and lower case lettering. It embodies the drama and femininity of its namesake – Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, the famous modern French writer whose romantically fervent novels reflected her own impassioned life.”

A befitting setting for Colette includes textural elements extracted from nature. Feathers, nests, branches, and woven textures are a striking juxtaposition to sparkling lights, shiny metallics and gold leaf and make a beautiful artisan presentation.”

Check out more of Kelle’s inspiration for Colette on Pinterest, and be sure to take a look at Kelle’s entire collection of designs, which is on sale during the month of March!

Wedding inspiration for Colette - calligraphy wedding invitations by Kelle McCarter for Bella Figura

Images, from top: gownstable | colette customization | cake | chandelier | shrug 

Calligraphy Addressing with Kelle McCarter

Ever wonder how long it takes a calligrapher to hand address a set of envelopes? Curious which ink color is used most often when it comes to calligraphy addressing? We sat down with Bella Figura calligrapher Kelle McCarter to learn about the ins and out of her business, how she got her start, and her favorite way to dress up an envelope.

How did you get into calligraphy? I fell in love with calligraphy and lettering art when I discovered the fabulous work of French artist Francois Gervais. When I moved to Denver seven years ago, I joined the Colorado Calligraphers’ Guild, with the goal of incorporating calligraphy into my graphic design business. I was fortunate to study with renowned artist and calligrapher Laurie Doctor, who was president of the CCG at the time.

Where do you do your addressing?  I am blessed with a beautiful space in which to do my work. I have a window view of the Rocky Mountains from my Denver studio. And, having two Golden Retrievers always by my side makes it the most pleasant of work environments.

Kelle McCarter at home with her girls, Garner & Gibson
Inside the studio with Bella Figura calligrapher Kelle McCarter

Take a peek inside the studio of Bella Figura calligrapher Kelle McCarter

How long does it take to address an envelope or a set of envelopes?  It takes about one hour to complete eight to ten envelopes because I rule pencil lines and erase them after I hand letter each envelope. I call the process “painting lettering” because each envelope is a miniature piece of art that can not be rushed.

What’s your favorite way to dress up an envelope?  I adore envelope liners. They are a simple, yet beautiful, way to incorporate another layer of design, color and texture into the presentation of an invitation. Wax seals can be beautiful and modern with a bright colored wax and a simple calligraphy monogram or initial. Also, vintage or themed postage stamps can add character and interest to any envelope.

For my own wedding, I placed Marvel Comics postage stamps on the envelopes to match the commissioned comic strip wedding announcements that my husband and I sent to friends and family after our wedding.
Hand calligraphed envelopes from Bella Figura calligrapher Kelle McCarter
How many ink colors do you offer? Because I work with gouaches (opaque watercolors), I can offer a beautiful array of color options- from opera pink to leaf green, two of my favorites.
What are your most popular ink colors for envelope addressing?  Black is the most popular, as it should be. It is classic and elegant always, regardless of the invitation color. A rich antique gray and sepia brown are popular, too. For save the date envelopes that are less formal than the invitation envelopes, white ink on a colored envelope is striking.

Hand calligraphed envelopes from Bella Figura calligrapher Kelle McCarter

What’s your most popular style?  “Maura” is the most popular calligraphy that I do. I think it is because it is a blend of modern and classic lettering.

Colette, a Bella Figura letterpress wedding invitation featuring Kelle McCarter's Maura hand calligraphy accents

Many thanks to Kelle for giving us a behind the scenes look at her studio! Visit her website to learn more and to work with Kelle for your wedding calligraphy! Be sure to shop Kelle’s collection, too – her designs are currently on sale for 10% off!

 Studio & envelope images courtesy of Zorn Photography

Romantic lace inspired wedding invitation

This romantic customization of the Gournay design is perfect for a southern wedding full of vintage style and grace. Southern charm is abundant in the details of this big day with ladies adorned in delicate lace, beautiful bouquets filled with florals in varying shades of soft pastels, cake served on vintage china and perhaps even a bluegrass band playing into the night.  Gournay – and all of designer Kelle McCarter’s inspired designs – are on sale through March 31st!

gournay customization = letterpress inks: deep blue + sand | font: gotham | paper: white | invite size: f-8 | liner: juniper pattern in deep blue, french vanilla, sea mist + fern | hand calligraphy accents: lady m | original design by Kelle McCarter | customized by in-house designer Jessica Tierney

Photo credits: Jose Villa


This wedding, inspired by the elegance of nature, is set at a garden estate with lush florals all around. Romantic and soft touches of mercury glass, candlelight and ornate chandeliers are offset with bold pops of purples in varying shades.

capri customization = letterpress inks: aubergine + light lavender | foil stamping: pearl shine | fonts: holden + keeva | paper: white | invite size: f-8 | liner: pearse pattern in light lavender ink | original design by Amy Graham Stigler | customized by in-house designer Jessica Tierney |

Photo credits from the top: tablescape | bow-tie | bouquet

Designer of the Month: Kelle McCarter (collection on sale through 3/31!)

Each month we offer a sale on one designer collection, and for March we’re featuring Kelle McCarter! Save 10% on all of Kelle’s designs from now through March 31, or save 20% when you order 6 printed pieces or more. Kelle’s designs are elegant with a touch of whimsy, and most feature her amazing hand calligraphy accents. Next week, we’ve got a special Q&A about Kelle’s calligraphy addressing, inspiration boards from Kelle, and information about the latest edition of her magazine, Paperswell – be sure to check back for those features. Take a look at Kelle’s designs below — here are some of our favorites!

Kelle McCarter is Bella Figura's designer of the month! Save on all of Kelle's designs through March 31,2014

Have questions on how to customize, or need help with pricing? Please, be in touch!

The fine print: this offer is exclusive to designs by Kelle McCarter and does not apply towards the purchase of other designs. Orders must be placed by 11:59pm EST on February 28, 2014 in order to receive this offer.

Gracelyn Vintage: Sophisticated Glamour in Purple and Silver

Unfailingly elegant, our Gracelyn Vintage design is the gold standard for classic wedding invitations. Lindsay and Edgar opted for Wisteria letterpress ink and added a touch of sophisticated glamour with Silver Matte foil to highlight their names and the added border.

Gracelyn Vintage: Sophisticated Glamour in Silver Foil by Bella Figura

letterpress ink: wisteria | foil stamping: silber matte | fonts: nysa + harlow | paper: bella cotton 1-ply white | envelope: bella cotton white | envelope liner: classic color pattern in wisteria ink | customization #19366 | Elizabeth Grace

Purple Shine and Hand Calligraphy

Sarah Hanna’s gorgeous hand calligraphy mimics the billowy swirls of the Illuminer design, printed in Purple Shine foil and Lavender letterpress ink for Leanne and Craig’s late summer wedding.  Love this design? Order soon – this and all of Lindsy Talarico’s designs are on sale through the end of February.

Purple Shine and Hand Calligraphy on Illuminer by Bella Figura

letterpress ink: lavender | foil stamping: purple shine | font: declaration | paper: bella cotton 1-ply ivory | rounded corners | hand calligraphy: victoria style by sarah hanna | envelope: bella cotton ivory | envelope liner: formal flourish pattern in regalia + lavender inks | customization #18243 | Nota Bene


Purple and Gold Viceroy Wedding Invitations

Our Viceroy wedding invitation design is as glamorous as ever in Lavender letterpress ink and Gold Matte foil – perfect for Breanna and Melissa’s garden party wedding in Palm Springs, California.

Purple and Gold Wedding Invitation Inspiration by Bella Figura

letterpress ink: lavender | foil stamping: gold matte | fonts: streamline + marilyn | paper: bella cotton 2-ply white | envelope: bella cotton white | envelope liner: classic color pattern in regalia ink | customization #: 20340 | Sweet Paper

Soft, Romantic Purple wedding invitations

Meredith and Timothy chose our Vintage Apothecary invitation design for their botanical garden wedding, customizing it with whisper soft letterpress inks and a sweet polka dot envelope liner.

Purple wedding invitation inspiration by Bella Figura

letterpress inks: wisteria + celadon | fonts: ashwell + zephyr | paper: bella cotton 1-ply ivory | envelope: bella cotton ivory | envelope liner: petite dot pattern in wisteria ink | customization #: 17408 | Dandelion Patch

Bejeweled Gold Wedding Invitations

Our Bejeweled wedding invitation design cries out to be printed in gold foil. Sure, it looks gorgeous and super sophisticated in any color combination, but when Megan and Micheal opted for gold matte foil and classic black letterpress ink we knew this design had found its perfect pairing. Menus and programs dazzled their ceremony and reception – and check out their pint-sized save the dates!

Bejeweled Wedding Invitations in Gold Matte Foil and Black Letterpress by Bella Figura

letterpress inks: black + antique gold | foil stamping: gold matte | fonts: moravia + bejeweled | paper: bella cotton 1-ply ivory | envelope: bella cotton ivory | envelope liner: gatsby pattern in black + antique gold inks | customization #: 17794 | Judy Paulen Designs