Asking “What styles can you calligraph?” is like asking a chef, “How many ways can you cook chicken?” If you understand your craft, you know that there are endless variations. And the more you learn, the more there is to learn. Understanding letter forms is the start to taking any font and adapting it for hand-lettered script. Today, Bella Figura calligrapher Sarah Hanna is sharing her favorite calligraphy trends — from the most popular styles and ink colors to the different ways people are using calligraphy to add an extra special touch to life’s most important events.
Trending now: without question, Victoria. I think that is because it is traditional with a personality. Generally, I match the script from the invitation – if that is my calligraphy, excellent. I can match almost any script, though. Black ink is and always will be the most classic, formal ink for addressing wedding invitations. I do, however, custom-mix a lot of gold, amethyst, and pewter.
Classic Victoria hand calligraphed envelope
Classic Victoria hand calligraphed envelope
Embellished Victoria hand calligraphed envelope – Sarah Hanna’s most lively style
Classic Callaway – the up-and-comer (Callaway is the new kid, but she is bound to be the next homecoming queen!)
Classic Callaway hand calligraphed envelope
The hand-written note is making a come-back!
Just ask the New York Times
. Emotion comes alive in a way that electronic communication simply cannot. I am often commissioned to calligraph a toast or a quote or something special to be framed. It doesn’t have to be long or fancy (or written by you)…just intentional. In the words of that brilliant booze-hound Don Draper
, “Make it simple, but significant.”
Unique uses for hand calligraphy: I get a lot of interesting requests. I was recently asked to be part of a truly elaborate beach engagement! My client commissioned me to hand-paint their song on 4 canvas banners. She also had me calligraph promises on 30 different cards to be tied with ribbon to a tree over the candlelight picnic. Her girlfriend is a wedding photographer, and my client made up an alias email and hired her to photograph this special engagement…..but when she arrived to photograph the engagement, she realized it was for her! She said, yes, yes, yes!!
The promise cards for the engagement was a really meaningful one. Wedding toasts and vows mixed with custom painting is a favorite. Right now, I love doing the custom nursery rhymes. And of course, every Christmas, the Santa letters are fabulous! And I am REALLY excited about my new line of Artful Correspondence – hand-illustrated correspondence card sets.
Favorite calligraphy trends: Art that has staying power always gets my vote. A symbol or monogram that can be used after your wedding (which look fantastic on dance floors!), the bride’s married name custom-designed so she can put it on letterpressed stationery and more is an excellent gift. I love these trends, especially the ‘avere’ ‘tenere’ chairs….mais bien sur!
How did you get your start as a calligrapher? My mother Kaye Hanna is an incredible artist, master calligrapher, and my instructor. So, I am turning into my mother! Truthfully, if I end up with a fraction of her talent, I will be a lucky girl.
Blue Danube hand calligraphed envelope
London script – perfect for your thank you note to Her Majesty. Or your wedding at Ascot.
Honoured Guest hand calligraphed envelope
Embellished Honoured Guest – a fuller version of Honoured Guest
Courtney and Noah created this lovely custom wedding invitation design by incorporating some of our favorite customizations – a romantic pattern, blind deboss printing and the stunning hand calligraphy of Sarah Hanna. Our European Formal pattern is printed on the front of the invitation without ink, making a beautiful but barely-there background for Sarah’s gorgeous Victoria style calligraphy.
letterpress ink: prussian blue | blind deboss | font: nysa | paper: bella cotton 2-ply ivory | edge painting: prussian blue | hand calligraphy: victoria style | customization #15982 | The Dandelion Patch
What happens when you pair letterpress and foil stamping with gorgeous hand calligraphy for a New York City wedding? Behold this stunning customization of our Victoria Calligraphy design (by Sarah Hanna) sent to us from Judy Paulen Designs – it is glamorous and perfect for this occasion.
letterpress ink: black | foil: silver matte | font: trajan | hand calligraphy: the victoria calligraphy hand, by Sarah Hanna | paper: 2-ply white | invite size: F8 | liner: custom charmed ny pattern in pewter ink | corner rounding | customization #: 15384 |
The Wedding Library in New York submitted this elegant customization of our Victoria Calligraphy design by Sarah Hanna. An instant classic in our opinion, the timeless style shines in copper shine foil and looks lovely with our opal envelopes.
ink: black | foil: copper shine | hand calligraphy: the victoria hand calligraphy style by Sarah Hanna | paper: 2-ply ivory | invite size: f8 | foil edging: in copper shine foil |
Our lovely pals at Social Graces in Nashville, Tennessee requested this stunning customization of our Victoria Calligraphy (by Sarah Hanna) in charcoal ink. Our European Formal envelope liner design is letterpress printed in our inkless blind deboss as a background that we think gives an elegant touch.
ink: charcoal + blind deboss | calligraphy: victoria hand calligraphy, by sarah hannah style. | paper: 2-ply ivory | invite size: f8 | corner rounding |
Timeless romance exudes from these letterpress save the dates in a charming customization of our Delambre Classic design (by Jessica Tierney – featuring Sarah Hanna‘s calligraphy accents). A vintage color combination of antique gold and pewter inks showcases the crisp floral patterning. A sleek rustic crosshatch patterned envelope liner brings a modern element to the sweet packaging making this save the date perfect for 2012!
inks: antique gold + pewter | font: utrecht | calligraphy: the victoria hand calligraphy, by sarah hannah style | paper: 1-ply white | size: a6 | liner: rustic crosshatch pattern in antique gold ink | client coordinator: christie jones | in-house designer: lindsy aragona
Part of what makes calligraphy letterpress invitations so amazing is that each one is always going to be a little different from every other one we’ve ever made before. With each design being painstakingly written out by hand before being digitized and eventually turned into a printing plate for letterpress printing, there’s always bound to be subtle (and beautiful) variations. But there’s unique, and then there’s unique.
Take for instance this design here, featuring the lavish hand calligraphy of the super-talented Sarah Hannah. This design most closely resembles Sarah’s Magnolia design, but despite the family resemblance they’re clearly not the same animal. The couple’s names on this invitation are much more elaborately embellished than usual and the ornate flourishes along the edges of the original design have been dropped entirely. This look is exactly what the bride was going for, and it was completely doable since Sarah was able to understand what she was envisioning and translate it into beautiful calligraphy.
Printed in black ink on our 2-ply ivory paper and affixed to our opal colored pocketfolds – the end result is devastatingly elegant.
ink: black | calligraphy style: victoria | paper: ivory 2-ply | invite size: f8 | pocketfold: opal | edge painting: black | client coordinator: chris gannon | in-house designer: lindsy aragona
Our recent love for the Mediterranean ink color trend grows with this elegant design customization of our Delambre Classic letterpress invitation. Paired with cool Pewter ink, this traditional design is modernized with a trendy two color combination! Calligraphy accents by Sarah Hanna bring a feminine touch. The calligraphy monogram was replaced with a font monogram (2A) from our monogram library which helped keep costs low but still made for a beautiful design. You can add a monogram from our font library (for free!) to any of our invitations. The set is complete with a timeless Rustic Crosshatch envelope liner also in Mediterranean ink!
ink: mediterranean + pewter | fonts: uretcht | calligraphy: sarah hanna victoria hand | paper: white 1-ply cotton | invite size: F-8 for inner envelope | liner: rustic crosshatch pattern in mediterranean ink | client coordinator: christie jones | in-house designer: sarah walroth
by Christie Jones, Client Coordinator.
We spotted another stunning Bella Figura bride and groom real wedding feature on Style Me Pretty! The ceremony and reception took place at the historic Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona. We love the details, color scheme, and most of all the jaw-dropping open-back dress by Monique Lhuillier. Our Victoria Calligraphy Letterpress Invitations by Sarah Hanna were printed in black ink on our luxurious 2-ply ivory paper and perfectly complimented the event with classic elegance.
The couple planned an outdoor ceremony and reception all within a “garden-party” theme but encountered an unexpected twist! The bride says, “The weather gods had a different plan for us, however, as it decided to pour the day of our wedding and was freezing cold (ok, it was in the 40s, but that’s freezing for us Arizonans!)We made the decision to move everything indoors the morning of the wedding and I was a little concerned that our Plan B back-up space would end up looking like a generic ballroom. However, through sheer determination and incredibly hard work, our design team, Avant-Garde Studio, and our event planner, Rhonda Rush, were able to “recreate” my garden party theme indoors. Avant-Garde even built the entire tent structure inside the ballroom and draped all of the walls. They made the ballroom incredibly unique looking and beautiful. We moved the ceremony into the architecturally stunning Aztec Ballroom and it turned out better than we could have ever imagined. Despite the rain, the day was perfect, and the ceremony and reception went off without a hitch. The sun even made an appearance long enough for our wonderful photographer, Elyse Hall, to snap some beautiful outdoor shots before the festivities began. The food was delicious, the music was lively and the dancing seemed to last all night, just like we wanted.”
Our Victoria Calligraphy design, penned exclusively for us by renowned calligrapher Sarah Hanna, is one of seven new calligraphy letterpress wedding invitations we introduced with our 2010 collection. The opportunity to print this for the first time for one of our Bella Figura clients was an absolute joy. This couple chose classic black ink for the letterpress invitation itself and opted for a modern punch of color in our Tiffany Blue ink for the reply card insert. We love how this set turned out and just can’t get enough of Sarah’s beautiful work.