Return to Articles  Home Page

Using a Calligrapher for your invitations?
Things you should know before ordering your cards.

If you are planning to have a calligrapher address your envelopes your choice of invitation can
affect the cost and appearance of the hand lettering.

Quality paper such as Crane's stock will not lead you astray. Papers that are too glossy/slick or too
rough (calligraphers call it 'tooth') may present problems. Ink/paint may bleed or run and the
calligrapher may have to take extra steps to treat the paper beforehand in order to write on it.
These extra steps may prove either costly or affect the finished product. When shopping for your
invitations, take a fountain pen with you. Ask to sample an envelope---if the ink bleeds on the
envelope or it is difficult to write on, the calligrapher may face the same problem.

Color of the envelope itself may increase the potential problems. If you choose a dark/opaque
envelope, the calligrapher will not be able to use a light box to see the liner he/she uses to guide
the writing --- each envelope will have to be 'lined' separately and then the guidelines erased...
another potential glitch. Even those calligraphers who use a 'phantom liner' to project guidelines
onto their project may be stymied by a very dark paper. Color of the writing itself can vary.
Calligraphers use inks and paints to letter, depending on your choice of color schemes in your
invitation. You can request basic black --- flat or glossy --- or a color can be mixed to coordinate
with your invitation. If you want a 'total look; before you place your order with your printer, you can
ask the calligrapher to write out your return address for the back flap, thus having it match the
envelope when the calligrapher does each address.

Envelope liners will present an extra challenge for the calligrapher as the liner must be gently
pulled out, the guidelines inserted in the envelope, and then the liner must be gently replaced. This
extra handling will increase the cost of each envelope addressed. If you like a lined envelope, there
are lovely choices of tissue or pale liners that will not make the envelope too opaque to work with.
Not certain? Try placing a dark lined index card in the envelope and holding up to the light; if you
can see the lines, then the calligrapher can too.

Fonts Vs Hands. Your computer and printer use fonts to present text ---calligraphers have various
'hands' that they write in. If you wish to have your invitation and envelopes to be coordinated,
choose several 'fonts' that you like at the printer and show them to your calligrapher. Not every
calligrapher can match or write in every font a printer can use… it may be easier to match your
printer's font to the calligrapher's hand than trying to find a calligrapher that can do a very specific
hand --- or finding yourself having to pay additional calligraphy fees to do so.

Calligraphy means the art of beautiful writing. You have spent time and money choosing your
invitations; adding lovely hand addresses to them is the special, personal touch that will turn your
invitations into keepsakes for your guests.

by Nan DeLuca
Calligraphically yours
New York City