5 Calligraphy styles for your envelopes

By Kelli Hall, a Minted Community Designer

main text script Script by Flourish and Whim

If an invitation is the first thing a guest will see, then an outer envelope, beautifully penned, is the very first signifier of what’s to come. There’s nothing more exciting than a glimpse of an artfully inked envelope shuffled between the bills. Calligraphy need not be stuffy, and a style can be found to match each event’s vibe. I’ve compiled calligraphy styles from amazing artists, along with info about what inspires their work (Each calligrapher is available for hire too). I’ve avoided all formal classifications and organized them by how the script works with an event. Check out all five styles…And if you’re up for trying your own hand at it, check out Joelle’s post from last week.

calligraphy script elizabeth porcher jones

Classic Style: Elizabeth Porcher-Jones‘ work has a classical beauty, subtlety and lovely composition that’s timeless. Each letterform is delicate and respectful of harmonious proportion in the scripted word. I usually think of Elizabeth’s traditional script as the ‘little black dress’ of calligraphy styles.  Elizabeth is inspired “by classic scripts, anywhere from ancient manuscripts to penmanship exemplars I was taught in elementary school.  I suppose I was especially influenced by the unique handwriting of my relatives growing up — my parents, their parents and ancestors who were prolific letter writers, as well as my godfather who always used a fountain pen and had beautiful penmanship.”

Calligraphy Script flourish and whim

Modern Style: Julie, of Flourish and Whim, makes use of slender letterforms, delicate swashes and varied baselines to create a beautiful style characterized by dynamic line and artful movement. Elegant and modern, her work is perfectly suited to a minimal wedding invite or any piece with enough simplicity to allow the lyrical quality of her letterforms to shine. Julie says of her work: “I find inspiration everywhere—the intricate lettering on antique signage, a long word’s undulating letter forms, the stunning color combinations of flowering succulents, the graphic surface patterns in Scandinavian textiles. You name it, I’m inspired by it—food, fashion, words…”

calligraphy script laura condouris

Relaxed Style: Laura Condouris of Trial by Cupcakes creates lovely script with airy letter spacing that lends itself to a more casual styling. There’s a definite polished quality in her work, but enough relaxed fluidity in the rhythm of her words to produce an effect that is perfectly suited to a stylish wedding or shower invite. Laura says of her work: “After endlessly practicing traditional Copperplate calligraphy from books many years ago, I started playing around with letter forms to make them more dynamic, and give them a sense of motion. I’m very inspired by the elegant but familiar script on old postcards, storefront signs, menus, and antique maps.”

calligraphy script meme davis

Playful Style: Meme Davis has a kindness and warmth that is evident in her artistry. Her calligraphy style is vivacious and lively, with a spirited bounce and feminine flourish that adds a playfulness to each piece. From the thickness of each stroke to the varied rhythm in her letters, her work is all charm and feels at home on wedding pieces with a delightful vibe. Meme says of her work: “I’m a typography and graphic design nerd–it’s a huge source of inspiration for me. I’m also inspired by packaging design, vintage advertisements, and sign-painters. Oh! And I almost forgot about Pinterest!”

calligraphy script ted clausen

Romantic Style: Ted Clausen makes use of classically styled proportions in his penmanship and personalizes his work with exaggerated, statement-making flourishes.  His calligraphy has a wonderful balance of sweeping embellishment and crisp graphic rhythm.. This fully-flourished script is beautifully suited to an event with lots of romantic style. Ted says of his work “The envelope sets the tone for what’s inside and what’s to come: the invitation, the event, and the memories. What I love about being a calligrapher is being able to set a joyous and celebrative tone- from the most formal, to the more casual. It’s my way of dancing on paper.”

Most artists will work in small quantities, quickly ship paper goods or guide you through an approval process with digital images through email. I’ve worked with calligraphers for counts as small as five table numbers and as large as whole suites for a wedding.  A couple things to keep in mind when collaborating:

Time: Calligraphers need adequate timing to hand craft a piece or envelopes. Because of the custom nature of the craft, I try to make all requests as early as possible.

Extras: To allow for mistakes, Most calligraphers request between 10 to 15 percent extra envelopes or place cards.

Specifics: Most calligraphers can customize exact details including color and styling. Considering scale and envelope position is another way to touch on your event’s theme: Think flourishes that break the boundaries of a page, information set to an angle or even oversized scale to create a more modern composition; Or lovely scripted letterforms, balanced and centered for a more classic approach.

Surfaces: Think beyond paper. If you have signage or menus to be penned in addition to your envelopes, calligraphers can work on different surfaces including wood, chalkboard, acrylic and metal.

Find more of Kelli on her blog.