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Designer Spotlight: Courtney Jentzen from Swiss Cottage Designs shares her design process

Today we’re sharing an up-close look at Courtney Jentzen’s design process. Courtney is the designer behind Swiss Cottage Designs – and has an amazing collection available with us! We’ll let Courtney take it from here. 

As any small business owner will tell you, running your own studio has many positives and, of course, a few negatives too. One of my favorite aspects about having my own design practice is the uniqueness of each project. We’re fortunate enough to work with so many types of clients, each with their own thoughts and ideas. Because of this, every day is new, refreshing, and full of what I love — illustration! 

We’re excited to walk you through our process as we work on a custom wedding suite for an upcoming Brooklyn wedding. This has been on of my favorite projects as of late and I’m so happy to share it with everyone. Let’s get started!

Behind the scenes with Swiss Cottage Designs

When I sit down to create artwork, I double (and triple) check that I have everything I’ll need handy. It usually takes a moment to find a rhythm and warm up when I draw, so it’s quite annoying if I have to get up to find a specific pen or eraser and interrupt my flow. I almost always draw from reference, so I’ve kept a few image of the Wythe Hotel on hand as well as my copious collection of drawing utensils. Not pictured – an endless flow of good, strong tea. 

Behind the scenes with Swiss Cottage Designs

Once I’ve sketched everything in pencil, I go back over it in ink. This is where my Micron pen addiction can truly run rampant! It’s also one of my favorite parts of the process because I can start adding in some of the finer details that really make the illustration fun and personal.

Behind the scenes with Swiss Cottage Designs

After the illustrations are squared away, I’ll move onto the lettering. With brush lettering, like illustration, it can take a few minutes to get into the zone. I expect to go through several sheets of paper (sorry trees! love ya!) before I go back and edit down. I prefer to play with the ink and let several options develop organically before looking at everything as a whole and choosing which I like best.

Behind the scenes with Swiss Cottage Designs

All of the artwork is done! Hooray! Now it’s time to scan it and dive into the layout, type, and color on the computer. Creating the artwork by hand and editing it digitally gives the process so much flexibility and allows me to have the best of both worlds. It also ensures that I can accommodate revisions in a timely manner for the client as opposed to starting from scratch when it’s time for edits.

Behind the scenes with Swiss Cottage Designs

There are few things more exciting than receiving the project back from the printer! It’s the culmination of the initial ideas, inspiration, and artwork that you can hold in your hands and enjoy. Seeing the final colors and textures for these pieces made me fall in love with the project all over again.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into my process.The workflow is a constant evolution as I find what works best for me – and what doesn’t work at all! I’m very fortunate to do work that I enjoy and have clients who love the outcome. If you have any questions I’d love to hear from you! You can find us on Instagram on @SwissCottageDesigns

A big thanks to Bella Figura for having us on the blog today! Always a pleasure. 

Pink shine foil and letterpress wedding invitations

Christine and Jin customized our Whisper foil and letterpress wedding invitations with romantic pink shine foil, highlighting both their names and the edge of the invitation.  An elegant ombre envelope liner in british rose ink adds subtle drama to this modern yet formal customization.

Pink shine foil and letterpress wedding invitations | Bella Figura

Pink shine foil and letterpress wedding invitations | Bella Figura

Pink shine foil and letterpress wedding invitations | Bella Figura

letterpress ink: charcoal | foil stamping: pink shine | fonts: danube + moravia | paper: bella cotton 1-ply + 2-ply white | foil edging: pink shine | envelope: bella cotton white | envelope liner: elegant ombre pattern in british rose | Dandelion Patch | customization #25035

Custom Birth Announcements for Oh So Beautiful Paper

We are thrilled to share a recent collaboration that we worked on with Nole Garey from Oh So Beautiful Paper. We foil stamped the birth announcements for her family’s newest addition using Rose Gold Shine foil on our new white Bella Smooth Cotton paper. Rose gold foil stamped envelope liners in our elegant garden pattern lined jute envelopes, which were later calligraphed with beautiful white ink.

Custom rose gold foil birth announcements with hand painted watercolors and foil stamped envelope liners | Collaboration between Bella Figura + Mon Voir for Oh So Beautiful PaperCustom rose gold foil birth announcements with hand painted watercolors and foil stamped envelope liners | Collaboration between Bella Figura + Mon Voir for Oh So Beautiful Paper

After we printed and edge painted Alice’s birth announcements, we shipped them off to Jenna Rainey of Mon Voir calligraphy. Jenna provided the calligraphy for the names on the announcement as well as the envelope addressing, and after we printed everything she hand painted each card with the prettiest pastels. Each piece was subtly unique, with varying color combinations and brush strokes. 

Custom rose gold foil birth announcements with hand painted watercolors and foil stamped envelope liners | Collaboration between Bella Figura + Mon Voir for Oh So Beautiful PaperCustom rose gold foil birth announcements with hand painted watercolors and foil stamped envelope liners | Collaboration between Bella Figura + Mon Voir for Oh So Beautiful Paper

Nole included a photo of baby Alice with the announcement, and used Angela Liguori’s gold metallic line cotton ribbon to tie everything together! 

Custom rose gold foil birth announcements with hand painted watercolors and foil stamped envelope liners | Collaboration between Bella Figura + Mon Voir for Oh So Beautiful PaperCustom rose gold foil birth announcements with hand painted watercolors and foil stamped envelope liners | Collaboration between Bella Figura + Mon Voir for Oh So Beautiful PaperCustom rose gold foil birth announcements with hand painted watercolors and foil stamped envelope liners | Collaboration between Bella Figura + Mon Voir for Oh So Beautiful Paper  

Many thanks to Nole for including us on this project! Visit Oh So Beautiful Paper for more details on these beautiful birth announcements. 

Calligraphy and Hand Painting: Jenna Rainey of Mon Voir

Printing, Edge Painting and Envelope Liners: Bella Figura

Metallic Cotton Ribbon: Angela Liguori

Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper / Alice’s newborn photo by Sweet Root Village

Rustic gold foil and letterpress wedding invitations

When we say you can customize our designs we mean it – anything goes. Take this customization of our Harvest letterpress wedding invitations, for example. For their recent winter wedding in Virginia, Nora and Nathan made the rustic wreath more of an accent than the focal point of the design.  They used a combination of gold matte foil and hunter letterpress ink and used a blind debossed wood grain pattern to add texture.  Hand calligraphy by Nicole Black was the finishing touch, bringing an organic feel to this elegantly rustic design.

Rustic gold foil and letterpress wedding invitations by Bella Figura

Rustic gold foil and letterpress wedding invitations by Bella Figura

24850_Rustic gold foil and letterpress wedding invitations by Bella Figura

If you love Nicole’s hand calligraphy as much as we do, you’re in luck – she’s offering Bella Figura couples a special offer:  book your envelope addressing with Nicole between now and February 28, and get $25 off your order of $100 or more!

letterpress inks: hunter + blind deboss | foil stamping: gold matte | font: sans capitals | paper: bella cotton 1-ply + 2-ply white | hand calligraphy: mitty caps style | envelope: bella cotton white | metallic liner: white gold | customization #24850

Bella Figura + Smock Trunk Show at The Dandelion Patch

We’re heading to Virginia! On Thursday, February 26, we’ll be hosting a trunk show with our BFF Smock at The Dandelion Patch in Vienna, Virginia. We’ll be sharing a special offer for attendees, too: clients who attend the event and order before March 16, 2015, will receive 25 free invitations* with the purchase of 75 invitations or more! Reserve your spot today – we can’t wait to see you there!

Bella Figura + Smock Trunk Show at the Dandelion Patch

*The fine print: buy 75 get 25 promotion applies to wedding orders and can include invitations, reply cards, save the dates, menus, programs, or any other wedding-related stationery item. 

Custom calligraphy letterpress wedding invitations

For their New Year’s Eve wedding celebration, Adrienne and Robert chose hand calligraphy by Nicole Black as the stylish focal point of their letterpress wedding invitations. Charcoal ink kept the look modern and neutral while gold foil edging and our Gatsby liner pattern added a pop of instant glamor. 

Custom calligraphy letterpress wedding invitations by Bella Figura

Custom calligraphy letterpress wedding invitations by Bella Figura

If you love Nicole’s hand calligraphy as much as we do, you’re in luck – she’s offering Bella Figura couples a special offer:  book your envelope addressing with Nicole between now and February 28, and get $25 off your order of $100 or more!

letterpress ink: charcoal | font: copperplate | paper: bella cotton 1-ply + 2-ply ivory | foil edging: gold shine | hand calligraphy: mitty + mitty caps styles | envelope: bella cotton ivory | envelope liner: gatsby pattern in charcoal + cream | Hitched | customization #24559

Behind the design: the inspiration for Studio by Lindsy Talarico

Lindsy Talarico’s inspiration behind her new Studio invitation was a modern, hipster wedding with mustard yellow touches. Think an open urban space, lots of unique flowers, oversized balloons, and the occasional pop of turquoise. Love this look? Check out more of Lindsy’s inspiration for Studio over on Pinterest

Studio letterpress wedding invitation inspiration from Bella Figura

Photos, clockwise from top right: bouquet | flower box | centerpiece | tablescapeballoons | Studio letterpress wedding invitations 

Share your proposal story and win the wedding invitations of your dreams from Bella Figura + The Blooming Quill!

Did you get engaged on Valentine’s Day? Perhaps your proposal story took place over the holidays. Whenever it happened, we want to hear about it! Share your proposal story with us on Instagram using the hashtag #ourproposalstory. The editors from 100 Layer Cake will help us choose one lucky couple for an incredible grand prize: $1500 for your Bella Figura wedding invitations, plus $200 for calligraphy  addressing from Debi Zeinert at The Blooming Quill! Submit your entry by March 10, 2015 to be considered for the grand prize. 

Share your proposal story on Instagram and enter to win $1500 for invitations from Bella Figura + $200 for calligraphy addressing from The Blooming Quill!

Not sure what to share? Be creative! You could show off a photo of your engagement pictures, the spot where you got engaged, a fun candid of you and your significant other, or any image that embodies you both as a couple. In the caption, tell us about how it went down – we want to hear your stories! 

The fine print: entrants must follow Bella Figura (@bellafigura) and use the hashtag #ourproposalstory on Instagram to be eligible for the grand prize. Grand prize consists of $1500 from Bella Figura, to be used on a custom stationery order, plus $200 for calligraphy services from Debi Zeinert of The Blooming Quill. Post must be publicly viewable on Instagram to be eligible. Entries must be received by March 10, 2015 to be considered for the grand prize. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or associated with Instagram. Winner will be announced by 3/13/2015. Winner will be notified via direct message on Instagram. Grand prize must be redeemed by 3/15/2016.

NYC Modern foil + letterpress wedding invitations

Our NYC Modern foil + letterpress wedding invitations are an ode to all things New York  – and the perfect fit for Victoria and Mike’s modern wedding. They paired sea mist letterpress ink and silver matte foil for a cool, urban look and highlighted the New York skyline by printing it without ink (we call it a blind deboss).  A wedding weekend schedule with event specific motifs completed the ensemble, while silver matte foil edging and an envelope liner in sea mist ink tie in the icy, chic color palette.

NYC Modern foil + letterpress wedding invitations | Bella Figura

letterpress inks: sea mist + blind deboss | foil stamping: silver matte | font: swiss | paper: bella cotton 1-ply + 2-ply white | foil edging: silver matte | envelope: bella cotton white | envelope liner: vintage river pattern in sea mist | Village Invites | customization #23712

French Blue wedding inspiration for Wildflower Wedding Invitations

Brenda Fox pictured a darling country wedding on the coast of Maine when she began the illustrations for her Wildflower wedding invitation suite. At the reception, hints of blue tableware and white candles would be in abundance. Bridesmaids and groomsmen would be decked out in blue, too. Sounds (and looks!) pretty dreamy, doesn’t it? Check out more of Brenda’s inspiration behind her Wildflower design over on Pinterest

The inspiration behind the design for Wildflower letterpress wedding invitations from Bella Figura

Photos, clockwise from top right: flowers | cocktails | groomsmen | tableware | rings | shoes | flower arrangements | bridesmaids | Wildflower wedding invitations 

Copper foil and letterpress rehearsal dinner invitations

Katy and Wes gave our Colette invitation design an outdoorsy makeover for their foil and letterpress rehearsal dinner invitations. Copper shine foil and olive letterpress ink are complimented by our natural woodgrain envelope liner pattern, while Kelle McCarter’s free flowing hand calligraphy highlights the couple’s names.

Copper foil and letterpress rehearsal dinner invitations | Bella Figura

letterpress ink: olive | foil stamping: copper shine | font: moravia | paper: bella cotton 1-ply ivory | envelope: bella cotton ivory | envelope liner: natural woodgrain pattern in olive | hand calligraphy: maura style | Shindig Paperie | customization #20314

Traditional East Indian Wedding Inspiration from Aimee O’Boyle

With Valentine’s Day just a few days away, we’re loving all the red we’re seeing lately. The inspiration behind the design for Mumbai Scrolls, a stunning new invitation suite by Aimee O’Boyle, is filled with rich red tones and lots of golden glamour. Inspired by a traditional East Indian wedding, Mumbai Scrolls features intricate foil stamped details and the prettiest pop of cardinal ink. Here’s a glimpse at what Aimee envisioned for a Mumbai Scrolls wedding — to see even more of her inspiration, check out her Mumbai Scrolls Pinterest board!

Mumbai Scrolls Indian wedding invitation inspiration from Bella Figura

Photo credits, clockwise from top right: bride | sari | roses | gold shoes | gold dress | bridal party | bride | Mumbai Scrolls invitation 

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