You may remember Lauren Covington from our gold foil giveaway this past winter, but if you’re new around here, Lauren is the owner of the fabulous design studio, Charm & Fig, and is back on the SG blog as a part of our new Industry Pros series! We’re so excited to have Lauren on board because she’s sharing some of her best insight on the graphic design/wedding industry in one of our favorite interviews ever!
SG: How did you turn your love for paper and typography into the fabulous full time gig that it is today?
LC: It was a very organic process. When I was planning my wedding in the spring of 2011, I took on the task of making my own invitations and paper goods. It was as if I went down a rabbit hole that I never came out of: a never-ending education of wedding etiquette, printing methods, event logistics and invitation aesthetics.
From there, I started doing small jobs for friends and family and finally decided to open an Etsy shop with a small selection of bridesmaid cards, shower games and invitations. The shop got busy, my custom orders increased and after a few years of a full-time marketing job and doing design in my “free” time, I had to pick one. Designing is my dream job, so that won out.
SG: What is your biggest source of inspiration?
LC: History. It’s the old texts, hand-painted advertisements and classic calligraphy that makes me want to hone my work for the long-haul. The older I get, the more I ask myself, “How will this hold up in 10, 20, 50 years?”
With that said, I’m all for going against the established rules. I strive for my work to be fresh and different from mainstream invitations that are saturating the market.
SG: Can you tell us a little bit about your design process?
LC: It’s different with nearly every project, but it typically starts with a conversation with the client to discuss their vision and budget. From there, I develop a few designs based on our discussion and get feedback from the clients. We’ll go back and forth, carving out the type, colors, and design until it’s 100%. Since the majority of my work is custom, the process takes on a life of it’s own with each project and client.
SG: What would you tell a Bride who is torn between DIY-ing her invitations and letting a designer take over?
LC: I would tell her if she’s set on DIY-ing, start researching early and be prepared to have a flexible budget. I learn something new with nearly every job I take on and it’s made me an efficient designer and project manager.
There’s a lot of hidden logistics designing and printing, especially when you’re working with several vendors for a single invitation suite. Professionals know the shortcuts, the money-saving techniques and have a slew of vetted vendors they can count on. It’s a lot of work to obtain that knowledge from scratch and avoid costly mistakes.
SG: On top of custom save the dates, wedding invitations, and wedding day paper, you also provide fun extras like Bridesmaid cards, and bachelorette & shower invites (and the list goes on!) – Which of these is your favorite to create, and why?
LC: Without a doubt, it’s the bachelorette invitations. We can really inject the personality of the bride, the location and the general tone of the event in every piece. I love that bachelorette parties have turned into 3-day weekends that are a mix of celebration, soulful retreats and quality lady time. I know it can be expensive for friends to go all-in on these weekends, so my goal is to make the guest of honor and the invitees feel jazzed about the weekend.
SG: What have been the biggest challenges in your career so far? How were you able to overcome them?
LC: Having a baby! Life is funny; within weeks of leaving my full-time job, I became pregnant. It was a welcomed surprise, but it did shake-up what I had envisioned for the next few years.
I wouldn’t change a thing, but having a baby forced me to plan ahead, set financial goals and ask myself, “how badly do I want this?” My husband has been a major business mentor and cheerleader throughout the whole process. He was always encouraging when I doubted myself. And boy, do those pregnancy-related hormones make you doubt yourself.
SG: And what has been the best/most rewarding part of your job?
LC: I love receiving ecstatic e-mails or texts from my brides when they get their invitations. That knowing that great work breeds great business.
SG: Favorite font?
LC: I’m torn between the Futura family (1927) and the Baskerville family (1757). I adore using them together, forever. They’re both quiet, elegant types that can carry anything.
SG: Color combo of choice?
LC: At the moment, super-light gray and satin gold. Chic!
SG: Dream celeb client?
LC: Aidy Bryant, who is killing it on SNL, Girls and her new confetti-filled short film, Darby Forever. I promise I’m not her publicist. Her fashion choices exude joy and I find her incredibly funny.
SG: Where do you see Charm & Fig in 5 years?
LC: In a light-filled studio, that is in close proximity to a delicious bagel shop, with a few rad employees and some licensing deals under our belt. Anthro, can you hear me?