Penguins Come In Pairs


penguin books inspired wedding invitations

We found this set of postcard wedding invitations from Athalia and Fergus very interesting, so we got Athalia to walk us through the development of the design:

“We originally had a Polaroid concept in mind, but at some point I picked up a box of vintage Penguin book cover postcards from Borders with a vague idea of stringing them up as part of the décor for our wedding.

“A few weeks later, Fergus was messing around on the computer and suddenly said, ‘Hey, what if we used this design for our cards?’ Iconic, British, retro, literary… the postcards embodied all the characteristics we liked, so it was a resounding yes!

penguin book postcards

penguin books inspired wedding invitations

“The issue settled, I then said, ‘I love patterns. Can we please have patterns?’ And so Fergs gamely tried his hand at adding patterns, using a book of pattern designs, also from Borders, that I had as reference.

“We tried a whole series of pattern and colour combinations, but felt that each didn’t work as a whole. In most cases, it was hard to say why or know how to fix it. So eventually, we roped in a graphic designer friend and she helped us immensely, re-illustrating the penguins, drawing new patterns so the set finally looked cohesive, helping us with the alignments for printing, and many other little details.

wedding patterns

wedding card typography

“We didn’t want to use a conventional invitation template because it wouldn’t fit the style of the postcards. It needed something more concise and friendly, but it was hard to find the right tone. We kept only the essentials, and dropped details like our contact numbers because we knew everyone already had them, and a map because our guests could always Google the venue. In the end, we had to write a few versions before we finally settled on a tone and style that sounded and looked like a postcard, but that was also proper enough for the aunties and uncles.

“The final touch came about when a friend suggested sticking stamps on them, and we got stamps from a flea market. Some of the stamps dated as far back as the 70s and were from countries that didn’t exist anymore, or carried values from currencies that were no longer in use, for example East Germany, Yugoslavia and European currencies that have since been replaced by the Euro. I loved the romance of having a piece of another country from another era, and imagined the contents of the correspondence the stamp was originally on.

“In fact, my role was to select and stick the stamps onto the postcards, and it was a lot of fun matching them to people we knew – either countries that they liked, had visited or had some connection to. I am proud to say that Fergs did a marvellous job of hand-lettering all the wedding invitations, the only guy I have ever known to do that. It was such a joy for us to work side by side and to see the little piles of invitations slowly grow.

“I loved how our cards sounded, looked and felt completely us.”

postcard wedding invitations

stamps for wedding invitations

penguin book inspired wedding invitations

{Steal Athalia’s Pinterest board}

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