Crack open a bottle of bubbly (never too early), because it’s time for another Behind the Scenes feature on SMP! A pretty post where we take a little trip backstage (so to speak) to see what makes some of our favorite designers tick, and what makes them create the things that make us giddy. Well, hold onto your hats SMPers because today’s feature is a doozy. We are skipping over to the offices of Bella Figura, a friend and longtime advertiser, and believe me when I say it’s a must see space! After getting a little peek at all the backstage magic, I am not surprised that so many pretty pieces of stationery perfection are born in this very place. Oh I could go on and on, but I’ll let the lovelies behind all the pretty at Bella Figura take it from here!
Hello SMP readers! We’re so thrilled to have the chance to share a special behind the scenes look at our studio with you! Three of our talented in-house designers – Jessica Tierney, Sarah Walroth and Lindsy Aragona – will be taking you on today’s tour, but first – a little background. Bella Figura is a stylish, eco-friendly stationery line based in Syracuse, New York, and offers one of the largest collections of letterpress wedding invitations in the world. We’ve got lots of different design styles ranging from traditional to modern to vintage wedding invitations and including everything in between!
Our home is a 25,000 square foot print shop in the Delavan Center – a rambling building with wildly crooked floors that has charmed us silly. Fun fact: our building was the home of a John Deere factory in a previous life! We’re located just outside of downtown Syracuse, and our office is wide open and laid-back. Colorful bunting (made with double-sided gift wrap from our sister company, Smock) hangs throughout the space; there’s a big brick wall in the back of the office that’s filled with windows to let the sunshine in; and colorful walls (think pink, blue, yellow, lime green, and charcoal gray!) bring in lots of inspiring color.
We’ve each got quirky and unique little items at our desks for inspiration, but besides the amazing space that we’re in, our team gets ideas from all sorts of places. Lately we’ve really been in love with Pinterest – it’s such a great place to gather and organize inspirational bits and pieces! But we pull inspiration from everywhere: architecture, gardens, fashion, vintage posters, nature, textiles, and faraway places give us lots of great ideas.
When it comes to working with brides and grooms, our creative process varies from couple to couple. We have over 300 completely customizable designs in our collection, and customizing can mean anything from simply changing colors and fonts to totally revamping the original design by changing the size and orientation of motifs, adding borders or hand calligraphy accents, or creating custom artwork that is unique to the couple. After a couple has placed their order, they can choose to have a free, one-on- one design consultation over the phone. We’ll go over questions and provide advice about inks, colors, and all of the different ways to customize – it’s a great way to get the design process started!
A typical workday starts out with emails and getting organized for the day. Then we wrap up any revisions that came in from the night before and get started on creating new proofs. Throughout the day we’ll answer phone calls and email inquiries from brides and our dealers, and work on revisions as they come in. Revisions are crucial to the process, and we work very closely with our clients to make sure their wedding invitations and stationery are perfect! Each month we create inspirational customization posts for our blog, and on occasion we work on other projects, too (like dreaming up new designs for the next release!).
One of the things we love most about our work and what we do is that we get to be creative every day. Plus, almost every client we get to work with is in love and wishing for their happily ever after. It’s a good feeling knowing how much love and hope is out there, and that we get to play a part in so many special days! What could be better than creating gorgeous paper goods for happy, excited brides every day?
And now they are going to show us how the paper-making magic happens. from inspiration to invitation reality. We LOVE this process and can’t wait to see what they have up their talented sleeves! So without further ado, I’m going to let the designers take it away!
Inspiration to invitation: Leigha Spring by Jessica Tierney
My favorite color combination to see in weddings is the always elegant and ethereal combination of soft creams and whites with touches of nature inspired greens and browns. This beautiful color combination is what inspired me to create Leigha Spring! I wanted a design that evoked a romantic and feminine feeling yet still had a slightly rustic and natural charm to it, and I couldn’t be happier with the end result!
Inspiration to invitation: Loretta Formal by Sarah Walroth
Loretta Formal was inspired by timeless traditional weddings with a fresh twist. When dreaming up this design, I envisioned lush purple flowers and elegant but elaborate hand calligraphy accents to keep with the classic but contemporary feel. I love when brides use intricate lace and delicate florals as the basis of their wedding design – it’s understated and so elegant. I’ve found though, that this design can work so well for so many unique styles and weddings – I am always amazed by the gorgeous customizations our brides come up with!
Inspiration to invitation: Barcelona by Lindsy Aragona
When I was in school studying Spanish, I traveled to Spain, and Barcelona was one of the ten cities we explored on the trip. It was so rich in culture – from the Flamenco dancing, religious processions and festivals to the architecture, food, and the people. Papel Picado (paper flags chiseled into intricate designs by hand, often seen in Mexican celebrations) derived from Spain, and I wanted to create an invitation that reminded me of a place I’ve traveled to and loved.
And to top it all off…Bella Figura is giving one lucky SMP reader 10 free samples of their gorgeous letterpress invitations! Simply head on over to Bella Figura’s website, pick your favorite invitation design and post it below in the comments!
Love, love, love. We can’t get enough of Bella Figura, and can’t thank them enough for letting us take a sneak peak behind their talented curtain! xoxo