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Artful Designs by Rachel Nieman

Stick to the Script

With artful flourishes and up-to-date details, calligraphy is making a comeback! Here are three of the, ahem, write picks for hand-lettered invitations and more.

1. What started out as a gig at BHLDN after graduating from the fine arts school at the University of Cincinnati turned into a full-time new business for Rachel Nieman. Within a year of working as the signage guru for the Highland Village bridal store, where she networked with wedding planners and other industry pros, Nieman launched Artful Designs by Rachel Nieman. She crafts everything custom—from save-the-dates and invitations to hand-drawn signs for weddings. “I like to offer the design as well as calligraphy, so it’s a one-stop shop,” she says. For this suite, which has a “dark and organic feel, like old botanical prints,” she utilized materials such as tea-stained cotton stock cards. Vintage stamps are pressed on a rich fig-colored envelope, which boasts a polka-dot liner, as Nieman always wants to have “a touch of whimsy.” Invitation design and printing starting at $3 per three-piece suite, calligraphy services $2 per envelope

2. A copywriter in the advertising industry by day, Kristara Schnippert taught herself broad- and fine-tip calligraphy when she was just 12 years old. “I rely on my background in advertising to break through the clutter and stand out,” she says. “I love unconventional mediums and juxtaposing elements for contrast—like mixing thick, gothic fonts with thin, intricate flourishes, or writing clean, pretty letterforms on rustic reclaimed wood.” Schnippert, whose Kristara Co. business is just a year old, first conceived of the design for this suite while doodling white flowers on kraft paper. “It morphed into a beautiful border,” explains Schnippert, who can personalize anything from thank-you cards and cake-toppers to coffee mugs with hand-lettered details. “I pulled those same elements into this invitation suite, and accented it with gold.” Invitation design, flat rate starting at $400; invitation printing priced separately, calligraphy services $3 per envelope

3. “They aren’t teaching cursive in schools anymore, but written elements are back in style,” points out Australia native Dionne Christiansen, who honed her skills at a letterpress shop in Los Angeles before opening her full-service graphic design studio, Nib and Pixel, six years ago in Houston. “I just fell in love with it,” says Christiansen, who specializes in stationery and calligraphy. (She’s not kidding: She teaches 11 classes on the topic, including watercolor lettering.) When it comes to hand-lettered invitations and signage for weddings, she likes layering elements and incorporating the letters into the design. For this suite, Christiansen was inspired by a wedding under the stars. “I used a lot of midnight blue, and I did it on watercolor paper because I like the texture,” she says. “This calligraphy is... playful, fun and modern.” $500 for 100 invitation and RSVP cards, calligraphy services $3 per envelope