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Trending: Art Deco | Gatsby’s All The Rage


Val Morgan invite by Tim Craw

Vintage pizazz has never been hotter with Gatsby-fever seizing the print and paper world.

Inspired by the Baz Lurhmann film remake (released this year) of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel which defined the “Jazz Age” forever, this trend has been revived throughout the design world and we’re seeing it fly through our presses for wedding, event and party invitations. Classic Art Deco geometrics and typefaces are glimmering with all the lustre of the roaring 1920’s, foiled, debossed, embossed and laser-cut in all the radiant splendour of that eternally modern era.

This gorgeous, gold foiled number (pictured) was designed by Tim Craw from Design Biaccident.

Even publishing house, Penguin, has jumped onto the trend, launching a special release of Fitzgerald’s five generation-defining novels; The Great Gatsby, Tender is the Night, This Side of Paradise, The Last Tycoon and The Beautiful and Damned as well as his short-story collection Flappers and Philosophers, in lovely hardback. These sumptuous new editions are all beautifully designed with distinctive Art Deco patterning on elegant foil jackets, and come with a matching bookmark.

Jay Gatsby had a way of embellishing the truth, so why not embellish your designs?  Glitzy additions can take a simple piece to the next level. Edge colouring, foiled envelope flaps, mounting, letterpressed all-over patterning and more are all part of this striking trend. Here are  some tips to Art Deco-rate.


Oh, the fun we’ll have, old sport!  Or, how to create the perfect Art Deco look:

  • For the ultimate in Deco Decadence apply the timeless Art Deco palette: black, gold and ivory
  • The Jazz Age was mad for metallics! Stocks were high until the Wall Street crash of 1929, and so were the rich… on spending. Get that gold rush by foil stamping chevron geometric borders.
  • Shapely legs were out for the first time, as the flappers’ hems inched higher up their thighs. Die-cutting bold, flowering curves to give envelopes and cards a unique look harks back to an era where stationery was personalised, plush and pretty. Dance cards hanging off slender wrists at parties, scented love-letters, place cards, invitations and imposing stockbroker business cards, arched frames to mimic the Chrysler building  and capture this moment in time that was dedicated to the good life.
  • Letterpress loves Deco fonts.  The artistic style has had a huge impact on typography (Broadway and Peignot are typefaces we see all the time) so, experiment a little with these towering typefaces.
  • The much-derided sunburst motif has lost its appeal in modern design, but an embossed or debossed art deco badge still looks as exciting and chic as ever. The “rays” extend with all the possibility of modernity and look fabulous foiled or embossed.
  • Indulge in luxurious stocks with a touch of shimmer. High quality paperie embodies the impossible chic of this trend.
Posted by watermarx on the 31st of October 2013

Oh Baby! The Art of Embossing

Heather Hawkins

Watermarx loves working with designer, Heather Hawkins. Her love of print and paper sees her create playful, quirky stationery “because sending a card is the original social media.”   Under her company name Heather Hawk she works with amazing Australian fashion brands to create bespoke graphic design and private commissions helping people celebrate the special moments in life, beautifully.

We won Silver at the PICA awards with one of her fantastic wedding invites.

Heather quite likes working with us, too. “They are the absolute best in the business!” she enthuses about her business dealings with Watermarx Graphics. “I can always rely on their work being of the highest standard, which is important in delivering the best product possible to my client. Ange and Al go out of their way to help make my designs work – no matter what shape, size, or material.”

Aw shucks, Heather, you made us blush!

The work we have done for her company this year included an adorable baby announcement card announcing the birth of her own little boy, Harry. She designs cute-as-a-button motifs to go with sweetly simple names (and perfectly typeset!) names and dates, then asked us to elegantly blind emboss the designs. Embossing creates a raised impression on stock by pushing the image above the level of the paper, so her enchanting artwork pops forward from the background of the card. While embossing is a traditional craft, her modern and cheery designs are anything but old-fashioned, in an unexpected twist that is witty and fun.

We are printing more and more baby announcements these days, which is a very cute way to draw everyone’s attention to the fact that the stork has visited. Weighty white card seems to evoke a sentimental sense and freshness that just goes so well with ideas of new babies. It just feels wonderful and it’s instant love – perfect to announce a brand new bub to the world! There is something about a luscious texture and just-right thickness that has become quite the vogue in baby announcements, and Heather knows how to get this right. Like any designer worth her weight in pixels and ink, she understands the magic of simplicity and good stock.   The stock we used for Harry’s cards was 300GSM Gmund Cotton.

As she says on her website about her love of the printed/paper experience; “While instant messaging is convenient, one cannot deny the excitement of receiving a letter or an invitation in the mailbox. It’s personal. It’s special. It’s lovely!”


To learn how to set up your artwork for embossing, read our tips.

Follow Heather-Hawk on Facebook or on Instagram

Posted by watermarx on the 22nd of October 2013

Entwined & Enveloped in You

TWINEDon’t forget the finishing touches! To overlook the details could be a  print project’s unravelling.

Envelopes are so often not though of early enough, which is a shame when there are so many exciting possibilities when you start thinking about them creatively.

Northern Tags are an Australian company who make the most wonderful range of envelopes which we love to emboss for our clients. Available in a stack of fabuous colours and sizes.

Embossing envelopes is a value-add embellishment that just people away. A lovely design feature is to deboss or emboss an all-over pattern on the flap of an envelope, to carry through a theme or motif. Or emboss an elegant coat of arms, insignia or family crest for formal occassions like  an engagement or a wedding. Another great idea is to emboss a message  on the envelope flap can be a personal gesture that sets the tone for the whole experience, making the receiver feel special or persnonally involved in the occassion before they have even read the details. These touchpoints of communication set the whole tone for the experience you wish your printed piece, be it an invitation, thank you or Christmas card, to convey. Trust us, it’s your opportunity to do something unforgettable that really gets people talking.

And, to bling-up your wrapping, packaging or envelope seals, you can’t go past The Twinery for their divine twine. Candy-striped or shimmery, this 100% cotton baker’s twine is blissfully retro and available in every colour of the rainbow. (This twine is also great for gift tags, so keep it in mind for Christmas.)

Don’t forget kraft stock, in all your excitement. Afterall, this winning combo is endorsed by the classic movie, The Sound of Music (“Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a few of our favourite things!”)  Letterpress is also perfectly paired with this quaint twine and economical kraft paper or envelopes, for a touching dose of nostalgia that nobody can resist.

It’s these sweet touches that really make a print job special and these envelope ideas should help you dream up all the details of your next incredible print job. If you’re still scratching your head, talk to Ange or Al here at Watermarx Graphics… we’ve got plenty more ideas for you!

Posted by watermarx on the 15th of October 2013