Strategic Account Manager Rider Dickerson
Don’t you love having a personal project that aligns with your professional work? I absolutely adore the idea of a project that has to do with design, print and all things paper.
I recently had the pleasure of creating the look and feel of my son’s Greek Orthodox baptism and reception. I put my creativity and passion for paper to work as I took on the task to create not only the invitation to the event, but also the centerpieces for the reception.
Now, the first order of business was to come up with a theme. I thought about the significance of the baptism and the fact that during the ritual of the baptism, the child receives their name. So, there it is, the focus of my theme was driven by his name, Nikolas.
I did a little research and came across “Le Petit Nicolas”, a character from a series of French books. I was intrigued by the idea of creating a little character. After all, my son is already a little character on his own. Upon an initial creative brainstorming, the character along with some of his attributes is reborn in Greek: “O Mikros Nikolas.” The conceptual cornerstone of my theme has come to life and now I have to remain in charge of the ideas that are rushing through my head. The excitement of all the things that I can create is overwhelming and great.
First things first, I had to design the invite and send it out to guests. I challenged myself to create my own Little Nikolas drawing inspired by Le Petit Nicolas. After many sketches and a bit of tweaking in Photoshop, the character was complete and ready to be placed on the invite.
I designed a logo “O Mikros Nikolas” – which included the drawing, on what ended up as a 5.75-inch square invite. It was done and I was thrilled to be ready to submit for printing. Noteworthy, I was also pleased to be exposed and well versed on paper options through our partnerships with brands such as Neenah. With the invite complete and its colors in mind, I knew exactly what my options were regarding paper.
I chose Neenah Plike Red 122 lb Cover for a backing layer and Neenah Stardream Crystal Smooth Digital 105 lb Cover for the printed art. I knew that digital printing was the way to go. After printing it was trimmed before being mounted onto the red backing layer. I inserted the invites into 6-inch square kraft envelopes and then attached personalized labels that wrapped around the envelope from front to back to complete the look.
The invites were done and in the mail. Now, I had to think about the event’s décor. A few days later, I happened to be in a meeting with co-worker and friend Kelly Voss. She heads up our large format division and she’s great with tradeshow and event space pieces. She helped me brainstorm a few ideas. All I had to do was mention the character Little Nikolas and she suggested that we print this little character and bubble cut him to display on each table as a component of the centerpieces. Brilliant!
That idea helped me shape the rest of the event décor. Furthermore, the character’s red bowtie became the theme of the entire event. I hand made them and tied them around clear vases, which contained red roses. In addition, I added more clear vases with floating candles.
When I assembled the prototype, I realized that something was missing. So I reverted back to my favorite thing, paper. I grabbed a few sheets of paper that I had lying around and proceeded to try something that seemed like a good idea.
I dressed the vase up with paper and created a collared shirt and pants. Yes, you heard me. I used Stardream Crystal 105 Cover (paper) as a shirt complete with a collar by wrapping it around the vase and included pants out of Stardream Anthracite (a dark charcoal color). Now I took the red fabric bowtie that I made and wrapped it around the collar and there you had it. A complete centerpiece made by little Nikolas’s mommy.
The remaining decor items were a cinch. The party favors were clear plastic 2-inch square boxes filled with chocolates and finished with a bow tie to keep them closed. The guests were greeted with self-standing Plike Red and Stardream Crystal seating assignment signs complete with a poem written by Grandpa. Oh, and I forgot to mention, his grandma also custom hand embroidered a few of the linens used in the ceremony. What a treat, so many keepsakes for our little Nikolas.
The big day arrived and I was excited to share the day with my husband, son, our families and friends. It was a night full of food, drinks, and Greek dancing.