TEAMBUILDING TUESDAY: BLOG EDITION (Volume 2)
Welcome back to another chapter of Teambuilding Tuesday: Blog Edition! Okay, I’m cheating a little bit because today is actually Thursday… but this month’s Teambuilding Tuesday feature just happens to be celebrating her birthday today, so it’s only right that I give her a proper shout-out, right?!
Meet Ashley Wyatt! She and her husband, Tayne are the owners and creative minds behind Monarch Design Co. Yet another amazing social media connection I’ve made in the past few years, I first met them when I ordered an absolutely adorable calligraphed pumpkin to decorate my front porch. Social media sure does have a way of connecting us with just the right people, right when we need it.
How did you get started in stationery design?
I got started with stationery design with our own wedding invitations! I went to school for graphic design and have worked in the corporate design world for 10 years before taking the leap into running my own business full time. I’ve always had a love for paper, typography and calligraphy and stationery design was the perfect segway to merge those loves. In highschool, I worked at a banquet hall in Stoney Creek where I got to experience so many beautiful weddings and events. When I was finishing my design degree, I did an internship at WedLuxe Magazine in Toronto which was where I realized that I could bridge my love of design and weddings.
With you specializing in graphic design and Tayne in illustration, you’re a match made in heaven in more ways than one! Tell me a little bit about your creative process from conception to completion.
We really are a match made in heaven! Our creative project varies from project to project. Typically we start with meeting with our clients and couples to really learn about them, their wants and needs, and listen to their unique love or brand story. From there, we pull together different paper swatches, colours, materials and samples and create a moodboard to capture the look and feel and sketch out some rough concepts. Once the moodboard and sketches are approved, we pull together the design and create visual mockups to present to the client to view and approve before print and production. With print and production, we are able to print and produce most items in house through our print partners so we have control over colour outputs etc to make sure everything is perfect and to our standards.
You also teach at Humber College, I hear! How have you integrated your teaching with your creative business?
Yes! I teach typography and branding in Humber’s graphic design program. I love teaching and being able to share my knowledge, experience and love for design is a dream come true. When I first finished my design degree, I really wanted to teach at the college level. At the time and being a new grad with a pile of student debt, returning back to school to get my master’s degree wasn’t in the cards at the time. When I started my own business, I started teaching and leading calligraphy workshops and hosting corporate experience events. When an opportunity came up to teach part time at Humber, I jumped on it and have enjoyed every minute of it. I love that I am able to teach and also run my creative business simultaneously.
You create so much more than just wedding stationery, from pet portraits to home and wedding venue illustrations! What would you say is your favourite thing to create and why?
I love branding and web design and development! Being able to create an authentic brand experience for a fellow passionate entrepreneur brings me so much joy and gratitude. We understand that branding and web development can be a huge investment for an entrepreneur or small business owner, however, it makes a world of a difference in how they present themselves to their ideal clients. It’s kinda like your wardrobe – how you look coincides with how you feel. We want you to look good so you can feel good too!
Would you say that you have a signature style? If you would, what are some words that describe it?
I recently realized that I have built a signature style when a fellow vendor friend mentioned that they can tell my work when they see it in the world because of the style. I would describe my style as clean, modern, classic and unique. I think the style definitely changes from client to client and by project to project but having the ability to work through different styles I think really sets us apart.
Your collection of semi-custom wedding invitation designs is such a unique idea! What inspired you to create this collection?
We wanted to create something beautiful and obtainable with the semi-custom line. We understand that not everyone has the budget for a fully custom invitation set with all the bells and whistles. With our semi-custom line (which we are in the process of revamping), we are able to offer different styles of invitation designs that can be customized to the couple’s individual style with colour, finishes, print methods and embellishments, to make it unique and their own.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of your work?
The most challenging aspect of our work is probably all the tedious behind-the-scenes things like marketing, accounting and processes. We have recently started working with experts in those areas so that we can focus on the creative.
What is one of your top tips for clients looking for stationery design for their wedding or special event?
Your wedding invitations are the first glimpse your guests see and it builds excitement and anticipation for your upcoming wedding or event. It also sets the tone – is it a black tie affair? destination? backyard casual? We recommend looking for a stationery designer based on style, reputation and expertise instead of based on price. We have seen an increase in couples looking for “cheap” invitations which usually results to DIY invitations. When you don’t work with a professional, you don’t really know what you are going to get. Poor print methods, low-quality paper, or important things you forgot to include can be unfortunate. A seasoned stationer knows what to include, when to include it and most importantly, how to include it. We have experience working with couples such as yourself. Yes, it is going to cost more than a DIY, but the value and service we add to the process is well worth it!
When you aren’t creating beautiful stationery designs, what do you and Tayne enjoy doing with your time?
When we aren’t creating beautiful stationery and branding, we love to get outside to go hiking and snowshoeing with our dog, trying out new recipes in the kitchen and exploring our new neighbourhood here in Barrie!
Last but not least… are there any behind-the-scenes secrets about wedding stationery design that you’d be willing to share? I know I’d love to hear one!
Print out proofs and read them backwards – yes, backwards! – to catch any spelling mistakes!
Monarch Design Co. is a boutique design studio specializing in custom wedding stationery, branding, web design, illustration and calligraphy. They have been featured in multiple publications including WedLuxe, WeddingBells, and The Knot.Check out their semi-custom wedding invitation suites and semi-custom branding collections for wedding couples and small businesses with smaller budgets, and don’t forget to follow them on Instagram to stay up to date with all of the new and exciting designs they’re creating…and of course, to catch up on their adorable pup, Winnie’s newest adventures!
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