Today we’re excited to introduce Erika Firm, President and Creative Director of Delphine, an award-winning stationery, invitation and design company. She was named one of 10 designers to watch by Stationery Trends Magazine and winner of The Knot’s 2014 ‘Best of Weddings.’
How did you get started in wedding stationery design?
When my cousin Sarah got engaged in 2001, she knew she didn’t want a boring off-white invitation with black script, so she asked me to help her find something fun and colorful. We looked and looked, but couldn’t find what she wanted, so I designed her invitations for her. I took the design to a local stationery shop to print them, and the store owner liked the design so much she asked me to create a lookbook for her shop. The day I brought in the lookbook, I got my first invitation order, and an invitation business was born.
How do you find inspiration for your designs?
Inspiration is everywhere! I’m inspired all the time – it’s seriously hard to shut it off. Last night I was at the movies and mentally making notes about the fonts used in the titles and the crazy color combo of some of the costumes. Sometimes (okay, often), I miss the plot of movies or tv shows because I’m focused on the visuals instead of what the characters are saying!
Mother Nature is the best at putting colors together. Lots of my favorite color combos come straight from nature, like the deep lagoon green, algae green & Spanish moss green of my backyard pond; and the pastel haint blue, Charleston green, cobblestone grey and pale coral of the stunning architecture around town (Charleston, SC).
Watching runway shows is one of my favorite ways to spot color trends. I particularly like how Marc Jacobs mixes unusual colors, how Dolce & Gabbana uses color to tell a story, and how Michael Kors and Kate Spade use color to inject fun into their collections. And of course, I pay close attention to Vera Wang’s bridal collections to spot wedding industry color trends. Upcoming wedding gown trend: hints of pink!
Type is my other big inspiration. Here in Charleston, hand painted signs are everywhere, and I’m constantly snapping pics of signage. Some are a hundred years old, and others are brand new. I love to see how sign artists mix type styles. They often break traditional graphic design ‘rules’ and it’s a good reminder for me to not take design so seriously.
I’m also a magazine junkie… I could probably make a pile to the moon and back if I stretched out all the magazines I collect. My favorite magazines for inspiration are Elle Décor and Vogue for color trends; Fast Company for business inspiration; Bon Appetit, Martha Stewart and Darling for great typography and layout inspiration; and Brides & The Knot for keeping up with the latest wedding trends.
What is your favorite part of creating a new style?
The initial pencil sketch in my notebook is my favorite part of designing a new invitation suite. There’s something a little terrifying about a blank page in my notebook, and super-rewarding about a page all scribbled up with notes and designs. I also love picking the final colorways for a new invitation design before sending files off to the printer for sample production… and getting letterpress samples back from the press room never gets old.
Thank you so much for being here today, Erika!
Stay tuned tomorrow for some expert tips and wedding planning advice from Erika. And if you’d like to see more of her work, make sure to check out Delphine on Cardstore!