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Photo credit: Hilary Argentieri Photography

Today’s stationer interview is with Julie of Up Up Creative! I had the pleasure of meeting Julie at last years National Stationery Show, and I can attest to what an awesome, sweet person she is — not to mention how beautiful and clean her invitation work is! Enjoy the interview.

How did you get started doing wedding invitations?

Is it weird that I don’t totally remember? I mean, I designed my own invites, but the thought never ever crossed my mind that I might eventually do that for a living. I have a degree in communication systems and technology – basically a communication-based (rather than an art-based) approach to graphic design – with a focus on human-computer interaction. I was pretty sure when I graduated in 2000 I’d end up in web design, though a few years and many career diversions later I found myself six years into my PhD in English. Then I had a baby. Then I had a postpartum breakdown. And then I started making things all the time.

I first opened an Etsy shop in 2008 and stocked it with all manner of things: colorful, modern handmade quilts, scrabble tile necklaces, calendars, art prints. I needed an outlet for all the stuff I was making because it was piling up in my house!

Over time I settled comfortably back into graphic design, and I was happy to design whatever anyone wanted, invitations included. And then, strangely, I found that brides were my absolute favorite clients. I know there’s all this stuff about “bridezilla” and I know lots of designers don’t like to do weddings, but I love it. I love that most of my brides come to me looking for a way to infuse their wedding with creativity and personality, and I love it that I can do that for them. I love helping reassure them that whatever they choose to do for their wedding will be perfect simply because they chose it with intention and love. I love making at least one part of their wedding planning process fun and easy and no-drama. So now I do weddings almost exclusively.

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What is your favorite color combination?

I don’t think I’ve met a color combination yet that I didn’t like, and I think combining color in interesting ways is a big part of what differentiates my “voice” from others. Just as I love to look through my thousands of fonts to find the perfect type combinations, I can spend hours putting together unexpected color palettes in order to strike just the right note. One of the most fun things about designs of mine like the boombox suite is that I get to put a lot of fun and interesting colors together.

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What is the most unique invitation you have designed?

The most unique invitation designs I’ve done have both come from the most unique situations I’ve designed for. The first was for a client who hired me to design an invitation to her future wedding. She used it as the last page in a book she created to propose to her girlfriend. It featured two penguins – one of which was holding a rocket because my client’s girlfriend was an actual rocket scientist – and read, “please join me at the wedding of Katherine […] and Sarah […]” and it was completely awesome. And Katherine said yes.

The second super cool custom job I did was to design a program (in lieu of an invitation) for a surprise New Orleans wedding. The bride and groom had planned a small trip for both their families to go to New Orleans. Apparently they did trips like this somewhat often so it wasn’t a big tip-off. But then while they were there they had this whole secret surprise wedding planned in an old apothecary museum. For that we designed a z-fold program that explained what was going on (surprise! we’re getting married right now!) and featured robot illustrations of the bride and groom and incorporated old-style apothecary-themed elements, as well. At one point the bride also sent me a picture of her and the groom and they both had this amazing hair and so I also ended up doing a cool illustration of just their hair that they used for their favors. It was a crazy fun project from start to finish and the fact that it was for a secret wedding only made it cooler.

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Do you have a favorite typeface?

This is not even a fair question. It’s like asking if I have a favorite child.

What is the most bizarre request you have received?

See “surprise wedding” and “proposal invitation” above.

Ampersand or the word “and?”

Depends on the couple, the event, and the typeface being used! Nothing beats a plain old plus sign for modern minimalism. Ampersands are cool, though, too, because they’re not merely a symbol but also a physical representation of unity since the ampersand is a ligature (a joining of more than one letter into a single glyph) of the letters in the word et, latin for the word and. Plus it’s kind of a sexy, sensual character.

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Any advice for brides?

I have three favorite tidbits: first, remember that you’re basically inviting your favorite people in the world to your wedding. The people who know and love you best. They’re going to love whatever you do because you chose it. There’s no right way to make them love it. There’s just your way. Second, remember that no one knows what’s on your to-do list except for you. If you don’t get to something, no one will know. So take it slow and do what you can and don’t worry about the rest. Third (and I actually try to remember to send this to my brides right around the time of their weddings) is my Number One Piece of Advice for Marrying Couples or Anyone Embarking on Bed Sharing In General. I swear it’s good advice even if it is always unsolicited.

Always buy your sheets separately, not in sets. Then follow this important two-step rule:

  1. Buy your fitted sheet in whatever size bed you have. If you have a queen-sized bed, buy a queen-sized fitted sheet.
  2. Buy your flat sheet (the top sheet) one size larger than the size bed you have. If you have a queen-sized bed, buy a king-sized fitted sheet. This way, there will always be enough sheet to go around.

I swear. It’ll save your life. Oh, and if you have a king-sized bed, trade it in for a queen-sized one. Then follow the above advice.

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Do you offer more than just stationery?

I do, yes. I have wrapping paper (recently featured in the 2012 Martha Stewart Living Gift Guide!!) and art prints and I also often do branding and other freelance graphic design.

Thank you Julie! For more about Up Up Creative, see her WeddingInviteLove profile, or head straight to her website. You can also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, or her blog!

Questions or comments for Julie? Write a comment below!