What Now for the Not-so-Alternative, Alternative Couple?

design, weddings

The other day I received word from one of my favorite wedding inspiration blogs that I probably shouldn’t advertise with them because my style of wedding design isn’t quite “aligned” with what their readership is looking for. I love this broad generalization, because I patronized their website when I was getting married! Regardless, it was a nice way of saying “thanks, but no thanks.” While I appreciate their candor and also the fact that they aren’t taking money from me while secretly knowing it would result in zero return on my investment, the correspondence has me thinking:

Where do the non-traditional couples, who aren’t quite “alternative” fit on the wedding spectrum?

I like to think I can create something for any type of bride or groom. I have had clients in most of the 50 states and a few areas of Europe. My pieces range from “southern” and sophisticated to totally loud, mish-mashes of themes. What I love most about my happy couples is that every single one of them comes away with a completely unique product! Weddings are about expressing how the couple feels about one another and creating an inviting space for the guests. A lot of the blogs out there today make couples feel like they have to fit into a mold in order to have the picture-perfect wedding that could be featured in a magazine. This is not true! There is a lot to be gleaned from the traditional, on-trend wedding blogs out there, but it’s easy to let them sway you into thinking you must pay a million dollars for your wedding to look like what is popular now.

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For the rest of you, paying for your weddings largely yourselves, wanting a unique experience for your friends and family, hoping to be able to have money leftover for the rest of life and working full time jobs that leave little time for DIY days, my hope is that you find something on the Fried Green Blog and in my design that fits your budget and gives you peace of mind in your wedding planning.

I’m speaking to you:

1. You don’t want to go into debt over your wedding, but love high quality details.

2. You want a unique experience that people remember for years to come.

3. You love personalization, but aren’t necessarily design-y or crafty on your own.

4. You aren’t in this for the cookie-cutter aspect of having a wedding.

It’s important to remember that your wedding stationery (among everything else!) reflects you and your future spouse, not trends, blogs or what’s popular on Pinterest. There’s a large, beautiful area between the wedding extremes (the space between comic book themes and misty-lacy-vintage) and I feel like that’s the area where most of us fit. It’s an area that is affordable, expressive, fun and approachable with fewer couple-disputes over what the big day looks like and costs. It’s a place for the non-alternative, alternative couples. Maybe you call it “non-traditional” or “modern.” You know who you are.

The internet can be an overwhelming place where you begin to feel obligated to conform to the trends, but I can attest that some of the happiest brides and grooms I have worked with have been the ones that bucked the trends and created an experience that was all their own. Forget what you’ve been told and head down the aisle in your own special way! You’ll thank me, your future spouse will thank me and you’ll have people talking about how special and memorable your wedding was for years to come.

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New Projects and Graphic Design Web Bits

branding, design, design inspiration, fine arts, freelance, guerilla art, outdoor art, weddings

Things are heating up in New Orleans, and the graphic design projects keep coming – each project fabulous and each client amazing. I seriously cannot ask for better clients. Recently, I had the opportunity to work with ISeeChange on some branding items (logo not included) for an event they took part in. I love what they are doing to try to get every one of us involved in climate change from a local, grassroots level. It’s social, it’s fun and it’s important! Check out Julia and her fantastic team and see what they have going on at ISeeChange.org.

I also got to see the finished product for the shaving soap labels I worked with Sweet Olive Soap Works on. I love, love, love her products and was super excited to design these labels! Check out her fantastic array of natural skin care products.

new orleans shaving soap

I shipped off the last of a wedding package I designed for a fantastic couple in Virginia. They had the most unique and inspiring ideas to use for the designs. I am extremely pleased with the way everything turned out. Look for a post dedicated just to their items soon!

new orleans wedding graphic design

If you have some time to do some perusing online, I came across a few design-y articles I thought y’all might enjoy!

More Tips for Your Big Day!

design, freelance, weddings

If you’ve been following for any length of time, you know I love a good wedding. I love the details, the sparkles, the happiness, the fancy shoes. Though wedding season in New Orleans never really takes a break (some of the best weddings in our city are winter weddings!), wedding season is ramping up in the frostier parts of the country and I’m working with some amazing brides and grooms this spring who are throwing truly unique parties to celebrate their love! I can’t wait to see how they all turn out.

I wanted to share with you an updated list of things to think about to make your big day even more special and memorable for you and your guests. Last summer, I shared with you a few Tips for the Modern Wedding that I think are still super relevant. I wanted to expand on that list, so keep reading for my next few Tips for the Modern Wedding!

Minimize the number of vendors you pick out of thin air.

  • By this I mean, did you pick a vendor out of an internet search list? There’s nothing wrong with that, but once you find a vendor you love (say, a photographer) you might want to see if they can recommend a related vendor, like a videographer.
  • Your stationer might know an embroiderer and screen printer, your caterer may know a great florist, etc.
  • Vendors love giving their amazing vendor friends and colleagues referrals,which can drastically cut down the time you spend searching blindly on the internet and hoping for the best.
  • Your vendors are getting to know your taste and wedding style, so they will be able to help steer you toward appropriate and related services.

Boozing on a budget? Crowdsource your choices!

  • When my husband and I got married, we decided to leave liquor off the table, mainly for the sake of our booze budget. We had our wedding in the heart of Virginia wine country and had a hard time choosing wines for our 100+ guests to enjoy for an entire evening. Our solution was to hold a tasting at our home a few months before the wedding.
  • We bought a wide variety of single bottles from our favorite vineyards around the state and did a blind tasting and light snacks with some friends who had varying tastes in wine. We ended up with two reds and two whites that were overwhelming favorites, but not necessarily what we would have picked on our own.
  • These wines, along with a keg of local brew, were plenty to keep our guests dancing and happy all night! (And we had yummy leftovers for several months!)
  • Another option we considered was limiting to wine and beer and one signature cocktail. This is another way to skirt the big budget booze and still have all the options. Find a cocktail that represents something special to you as a couple, or splurge on both “his” and “hers” themed options.
  • Remember, pre-mixed cocktails in a carafe or pitcher is best if you are skipping the bartender altogether. Ask your caterer if they will do the mixing for a small fee!

Put those maids to work. Nicely, of course!

  • Host a wine and cheese party and have your bridesmaids help you with DIY decorations, pre-cutting ribbons for chairs, handmade signage, painted mason jars, and all kinds of other tasks. Remember not to overdo and scare your lovely maids off, but one or two Pinterest parties would be really fun!
  • This is also an easy way to include junior maids if you’ve gone that route. It can be challenging to find a way to make them feel included, without taming your bachelorette party or skimping on the fancy lingerie gifts.

Don’t be afraid to have your guests DIY.

  • Pour your own beer and wine is no longer tacky in this day and age! Add some ice buckets to your centerpiece and then no one has to get up during dinner.
  • Buffets are amazing for both budget and ease of use – and the bonus is that you can easily appeal to picky eaters and food allergies.
  • Photo booths are amazing for capturing your guests all night without having to pay a photographer and assistant for the whole event – the prints also make a great take-home gift.
  • I’ve loved the idea of having many small vases/jars of flowers as the guest seating cards. When all your guests grab them and sit, they form one big arrangement on the table! This would work well with potted plants too – which could double as a take-home!

My favorite part about modern weddings is the lack of rules. Everyone can ditch tradition, guilt-free, and have a totally unique wedding! Remember to enjoy the planning, it should be fun!

Fresh Off of Winter Break!

design, design inspiration, galleries, invitations, Uncategorized, weddings

I don’t know about you all, but my winter was consumed by being a hermit. I cannot express how excited I am to see the light at the end of the super cold tunnel! Wedding season is getting into full swing and I’m working on some amazingly fun projects this spring! I can’t wait to see what else 2014 holds for me. How are y’all doing? I would love to hear what exciting things you have going on this new year!

I can’t believe it’s been since before Thanksgiving that I’ve written, but it was a much needed break, and I’m getting into a serious routine over here. I’ve begun graduate school at University of New Orleans in the Arts Administration program – a goal I’ve had for years, but have only just acted on. So far, it’s fun, if busy, but I’m enjoying every minute and soaking up every bit of information I can. If there’s one piece of advice I can give you in life, it’s when an opportunity presents itself, you need to take it!

Other than school, I’ve been working on a few new projects that aren’t quite to the point of sharing, but they are very exciting. I’ve also been making an effort to get out and see more art, and finally made it down to the Contemporary Arts Center. I also stopped by the Before I Die wall outside the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, which is the next museum on my list of places to stop in.

Before I Die Wall

I took a couple recent trips around the Royal Street galleries, and these dioramas caught my attention in the windows of the Antieau Gallery:

antieau gallery

antieau gallery royal street

We took a Thanksgiving trip to Birmingham, Alabama and came across an incredible book store downtown full of vintage maps and advertisements and more paperbacks than you could imagine. The whole downtown has such a specific vibe. It was a really great trip.

birmingham bookstore

birmingham poster

And of course, I’ve been busy adding to the Fried Green Etsy shop and creating custom pieces. Please don’t hesitate to ask about custom work. I am thrilled to work with new clients and help solve your design problems! Also, I’m now on Instagram! Let’s be friends! @FriedGreenEmily

fried green design robot invitation

fried green design cards

fried green design wedding invitation

 

Stay tuned for wedding tips later in the week! I have some brand new ideas and tricks I’ve picked up to help you prep for your big day!

 

 

 

Celebrating Museum Day in New Orleans

design, design inspiration, exhibitions, fine arts, galleries, poster, sculpture, vintage design

Two weekends ago, the Fried Green Mister and I took full advantage of the Smithsonian’s Museum Day Live and visited both the WWII Museum and Longue Vue House and Gardens. If you didn’t get out to any museums for Museum Day this year, I highly recommend marking your calendar for next year! It was pretty crowded, but not totally out of control, and a great way to get a lot of bang for your buck. We did about $75 worth of awesome activities for $10!

In efforts to keep this post from droning on for days, I’ll give you a photo summary of my favorite things from our day:

longue vue house

Longue Vue is a secret den of fantastic modern art in New Orleans. The owner was an avid art collector and there are some unique pieces housed in the sunroom.

longue vue art collection

longue vue modern art

longue vue gardens

longue vue art gallery

longue vue house new orleans

The World War II Museum was incredibly well designed, though I had a hard time finding any information the exhibit designer for the original portion of the museum, Gallagher & Associates seems to be tied to the new Boeing section with the full sized planes. I have always had grand dreams of being an exhibit designer…

wwii museum new orleans

 

At museums from this period, I’m always taken with unusual propaganda posters. It always seems like there was so much more thought put into the propaganda during WWI and WWII. You just don’t see pieces like these anymore.

wwii museum posters

wwii propaganda posters

wwii museum new orleans posters

 

Design is Everywhere

design, design inspiration, freelance, guerilla art, invitations, outdoor art, weddings

My whirlwind summer has come to a close and I’m settling into some really fun graphic design projects. I just wanted to take a little time to share a few snapshots from my last several months of absence from the blog! Design is everywhere, so as you make your way around every day, seize the opportunity to find the beautiful in the mundane. If you keep your eyes open and your head up from your smart-thing-of-choice, you never know what you might see!

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I cannot confirm this as a Banksy – because it seems to lack the telltale environmentally integrative storytelling – but this prisoner of Warner Brothers and Paramount (as indicated on the black balls) was spotted in the Marigny just off Frenchmen Street one evening while I walked on a street I’d not taken before. Either way, it was unexpected, clever and has been deemed important enough by someone to cover it with plexi. I love how ruthless New Orleanians are getting in the fight for decent renegade street art. There was a great live discussion recently at Nola.com with local muralist Brandan Odums and nola.com’s Doug MacCash. You can read my own loud mouth opinions over there too. I was particularly struck by the term “low brow” being tossed around last year at the G40 Art Summit in Richmond, Va and have been contemplating the idea ever since. Why would one type of art be more low brow than another? Is it style, environment, artist, concept, simply personal taste? Where is the line?

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This beauty was spotted in the Lower 9th Ward recently, and I had to get a quick, slightly blurry, snap of it. I’ve seen similar work around town and am always fascinated by the amount of detail and symmetry.

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Now, is this clarinet “high brow” since it’s on a hotel in the middle of a tourist district? And because it’s there to mark a space of historical importance? I digress… It was well crafted and I love the scale, either way.

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I’ll close my graffiti rant post with this one that is probably not terribly new to Richmond anymore, but was new to me last weekend. Greg Mike mural at 821 Cafe. I’d love to have some time to go visit all the new pieces that have been installed in Richmond since I moved!

Changing subjects, now that these items have been mailed out, I can share with you a set of wedding invitations I designed for an amazing couple out west:

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And a new set of wedding invitations I’m working on for a fantastic pair of transplanted Virginians:

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So much more to come! The fall is shaping up to be really exciting!

If you’re in the New Orleans area, there is a great speaking engagement tonight at Design WIthin Reach on Magazine by the lovely folks who run Good Fucking Design. I’m hoping to be able to check it out!

Feeling the Design Inspiration

branding, design, design inspiration, inspirational people, letterpress, music, typography, vintage design, websites

Do you ever have days where you just feel like little bites of inspiration are coming at you rapid fire? In a good way! I feel like this week has been full of fun graphic design pieces and I wanted to take the time to share a few of my favorites from the last few days.

While reading an article on one of our local New Orleans websites about Bob Dylan horrifying the crowds at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, I got to thinking that I wasn’t sure which Newport the festival is named for. So, I looked it up (Rhode Island, but I think I’m the only person out there who didn’t know this!) and was pleasantly greeted by a lovely website! I’m totally down with the current vintage and hand made/hand cut trend. You already know I love letterpress, so any chance to take it to the electronic side and warm up your space on the internet is welcome in my book.

music festival website

website design music festival

So of course, I clicked around to find out who made this beauty, and it was none other than Christopher Capotosto, the mastermind behind bunches of other great folk music related design. Check around his website for some lovely examples of his work!

The other bit that hit me yesterday was a paper sample look book from Utopia Papers. It came packed in the lightning bolt slip cover so just a little sliver of “Spark” showed itself in the hole. The inside is full of samples of brochures and catalogs and other pieces that used Utopia’s stock for the final product. View the featured pieces here.

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My Utopia online search pointed me to Pratt’s Center for Sustainable Design Strategies and it’s definitely worth your time to poke around the student and thesis project pages – especially for Communication Design and Architecture. Oh how I wish there were a program like this in Louisiana!

That being said: What are your thoughts on grad school? Did you go? Are you planning to? How important is an MFA vs. a more business focused art program?

New Beginnings in New Orleans!

design, design inspiration

This past month has been a crazy new transition! I’ve taken a new day job with the University of New Orleans, as the Production Coordinator in the Office of Communications, Public Relations and Marketing. I’m so stoked about this new position, as a way to further my knowledge of the graphic design and printing business, try new things, meet new coworkers and just generally experience new things in New Orleans. So far, I love it here! My first project was a big one and I got to see it fully complete last Thursday! 

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The UNO Athletics Department rolled out a brand-spanking-new logo last week, to the delight of students, athletes and faculty, and I helped design the signage to reflect some building changes around campus.

Having been freelancing for so long now, I had completely forgotten how great it can be to collaborate and work on a team. Working with another designer for the first time in awhile was really fun, and I look forward to many other projects in the future!

The office I’ve inherited at UNO is chock full of incredible paper samples. I just wanted to take a minute to share some of the beautiful pieces I found stashed on my bookshelf.

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“Folding for the Fabulous” Sappi folding technique guide. I can see where this is going to come in handy. 

 

 

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Royal Linen Royal Laid samples. I am loving the illustrations on this one. If these papers are ever retired, I’m turning this book into some artwork for my office walls.

 

 

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Beautiful, modern emboss on another sample from Royal Linen.

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By far my favorite find was the French Paper Company’s sample books, specifically the patterned paper. I have to remember this for some personal projects – I love the idea of this paper for some babies and brides! 

Thanks for sticking by me in this transition period. I promise to get back on the blog train regularly now!

Question: Do you work in an office outside the home? If so, have you decorated? I don’t know what to do with my big, empty white walls!

Friday Favorites

design, design inspiration, websites

We all made it to the weekend! Hooray! Time to celebrate!

fried green design new orleans

fried green design new orleans

Just kidding! Work has been pretty busy, in a great way, so the sazeracs and picnic wine will have to wait until I finish some of the incredible projects I have in the works!

For today’s totally fluffy post, here are a few of my favorite things this week! Enjoy!

First, shout out to one of my favorite bloggers, the fabulous Victoria of San Francisco Girl by the Bay – she’s always on top of what is bohemian hot and finding fun vintage trends in the world of home decor, clothes and life inspiration. Thanks to this lovely lady, I was gifted a beautiful set of notebooks and notecards from Mr. Boddington’s Studio! Thank you so much SF Girl!

fried green design new orleans

Next, this video made me super happy:

And there’s a nice post about the Lights of Hope over at My Modern Met.

I got a totally mindless color match game for my iPad/iPhone called Blendoku. I highly recommend it if you have a few minutes (hours…) of your life to kill. Addictive!

Blendoku

One last favorite is that I will be volunteering at the Creole Tomato Festival on Sunday! Come on down to eat tomatoes and hear some music at the French Market!

fried green design new orleans

 

Tips for the Modern Wedding

design, invitations, weddings

I’m really getting into the wedding spirit over here! I shipped out my latest creations to an amazing couple in South Dakota this morning. I’ll post photos after I know they’ve had a chance to mail them out – I don’t like to be a spoiler! The invitations incorporate the wedding colors and the couple’s love of outdoors. I’m also finishing up a poster for a “thumbprint guestbook” for the same wedding. It’s going to be beautiful!

I thought I’d take this opportunity to give some tips for the modern couple. There are a lot of amazing trends out there right now, and I wanted to highlight a few of my favorites for y’all! These are great ways to support local and small businesses, keep up with modern trends and also make wedding planning easy for you (and future couples!).

Get connected! For couples who are connected and have very connected friends and family, I recommend adding a suggested hashtag (like #MonroeWedding 0r #ScottEmilyBigDay) to your wedding website or program. If you have friends and family far and wide, the folks who can’t make it to your ceremony can keep up with your smartphone-equipped guests all day on Vine, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Make the most of local vendors. When my husband and I were planning our wedding, we knew we were going to be moving to New Orleans at some point, so we wanted to incorporate elements of the city into our down home Virginia farm wedding. We have a friend here in New Orleans who makes handmade soaps out of natural ingredients and we felt like her craft fit with our natural, recycled, vintage feel and would make the perfect guest favor. Think about your surroundings and geographic region. What are the local treats, specialties and artisans in the area? How about a crab boil kit with Old Bay seasoning and a custom wooden mallet for weddings in the Baltimore area? Or beeswax candles for an Ohio wedding? I’m a big fan of useful favors – something that won’t just sit on a shelf.

(Images from Laser Beam Creations and Honeyrun Farm)

Indulge in the vintage trends. My favorite thing we did for our wedding was skip the tableware rentals. Years ago, I was a cater-waitress and bartender and saw just how much rentals can cost. I decided that I was happy to pay for table cloth rentals – those can add up if you purchase on your own and rental tables are huge. We found bamboo picnic plates (again, we got married in outside and had the reception in barn!) in two sizes and purchased silverware in mismatched sets at thrift stores. If bamboo isn’t your thing, think about purchasing mismatched china at thrift stores as well. If you are patient, you can even find Fiesta Ware second-hand in various colors (cheaper than online!) that will look like a matched set! What do you do with the vintage goods after the wedding? Donate it back to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. For a fraction of the cost of renting, you’ve basically made a charitable donation with your wedding money and had a unique set of dishes for your big day.

Be kind to the environment. In addition to recycling stations at weddings, I’m seeing a lot of “living centerpieces” which I love! For our wedding, we chose to support a local “pick your own” flower farm in my hometown just outside the DC area, where we felt the environmental impact was low, it was good for the bees, good for the local economy and the flowers were not being shipped in from Central and South America, like many popular tropicals. Consider cut flowers from your region when selecting arrangements. But the green alternative is to have a living arrangement – like potted miniature roses, cyclamen or hydrangeas. These come in a variety of colors and can be grown in green houses so you can find them blooming year round. If you’re on a tight budget, stick with greens – ivy, succulents, ferns, clover, shamrock plants  – or things that you could grow at home from seeds or bulbs like paperwhites, herbs, ornamental kale, chard and lettuce, or do a long trough of wildflowers from seed. Just be sure to read the package and make sure the germination time works with your schedule. You could always solicit help from a local nursery or florist. Living arrangements also make great guest favors!

Last but not least, help future couples out! And help your beloved vendors out too! Review anything and everything you use (venues, florists, suppliers, stationers, etc.) and always credit your photographer/designer/dressmaker/other artisan when you post pictures on social sites. It’s a nice thing to do and it helps future couples pick out great vendors too! You can find review spots on individual websites/blogs, Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Google, Bing and lots of other wedding-specific blogs and magazine websites. Spread the love!