As a designer, you’re a maker—on the job, of course, but also after hours, when perhaps you find yourself spending time on personal design projects at home. Here at Print magazine, we like to celebrate the types of design you may very well be creating in your free time: designs that commemorate an occasion. That’s why we created Print Celebrates Design, a competition for your cards, gifts & invitations.
Among last year’s winning entries was a wedding invitation design by Jon Jackson, global creative director at Huge. Given the personal nature of this stunning entry, we were excited to talk with Jackson to hear more about the story behind it.
Your personal wedding invitation was more than just an invitation—it was an invitation system involving a series of “save the date” coasters and a poster invitation with cool triangle boxes. Impressive! Did you know from the beginning (of your engagement) that you would do all of this yourself?
Most definitely yes, I probably knew I would design our invitation before I met my wife. Being a creative director I don’t always get as much heads-down design time as I would like (insert violin music here). So the opportunity to do a project from idea to design to production was something that I was really looking forward to.
How did the process of creating all of this differ from the process of designing for a client?
There were a lot similarities and differences to client work. I had a budget and a timeline and even a brief that I shared with my wife, but that is where the similarities end. I worked weekends and nights, and our reviews were over breakfast with ideas added in over dinner, and feedback is much easier to take over a glass of wine.
But I think the biggest differentiator and the best part of self-initiated projects is no matter how the project comes out you are the one responsible for it.
What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was getting the final piece out the door. Being a designer and having a lot of designer friends is a lot of pressure to make something really good. To that end I have countless versions; from when the poster was a two-sided foldout, to when all the boxes were equal in size, I think in the end I have around 15 different finished versions.
Design is never really done and I apparently I feel even stronger about that when it is my wedding invitation. This created another challenge in the way of color. Not wanting to settle on one color, I printed everything in triplicate: coasters, invites, tote bags, and even the thank-you notes were all printed in red, blue and gold.
What was your favorite part of designing it?
Every box on the poster represents something my wife and I have done together, some big some small, but things that are meaningful to us. So my favorite part was drawing out the things and places that lead us to getting married in the first place. I would not be categorized as an over-sharer, so this was a great way for me to express these moments to our family and friends where sometimes distance and life get in the way of telling.
What response did the coasters and invitations receive, from both guests and your wife?
We sent out the coasters first as save the dates, and we wanted them to be a bit of a celebration. They all had different sayings tailored to the taste level of the recipient. My mother got a “hooray!” while younger relatives got a “hell yes!” all the way to friends from college getting a “fuck yeah!” We avoided a major catastrophe by triple-checking whom things where being sent to, but when the right people got the right coasters the reaction was really positive and fun to see friends posting them on Instagram and Facebook.
As for the invites, who doesn’t enjoy getting a package in the mail? Sending out big boxes with the invitation inside was in a way a precursor to the type of wedding we were planning. A really fun, colorful night where everyone had a chance to celebrate in their own way (for the bridesmaids that included jumping into a pool at midnight in their dresses).
The funny part is I don’t think our guests would have accepted anything less. We are just not a silver-calligraphy-on-white-paper couple, so this was really fitting. And one of the best parts for me is that our invite is framed and in our bedroom where I can see it every morning when I get up.
Will you be entering anything into this year’s Print Celebrates competition?
I do have a couple projects that I have done for Huge that I will be submitting this year, nothing as meaningful as a wedding invitation but some really fun Huge-branded projects that we use in the office every day.