The Compelling Story of the Illustrated “Save the Date”

Posted 20 January 2011 at 12:02 AM | Comments (8)

My clients were so happy with their engagement announcement that they came back to me for their “save the date” card. They wanted something elaborately illustrated, almost storybook-ish, and reminiscent of the unique location where their wedding would be held—Haifa, Israel.

So I came up with an interpretation of the famous Baha’i gardens in Haifa—tall cypress trees, trimmed hedges, red geraniums, and ornate lampposts—and it was a hit.

Illustrated Save the Date Announcement

Not even two minutes after I got their approval, my husband looks over my shoulder and says, “What time of the day are they getting married? Because if it’s an evening wedding, maybe you should incorporate that.” Crap. That’s a good idea.

So I quickly called the couple and asked if they wanted to see a second version, and they did. They said they’d be getting married at 6:30 pm. Sunset.

Illustrated Save the Date Announcement

So I was almost finished with that version, and then—I kid you not—my husband says, “Don’t kill me for saying this, but maybe you should consider illustrating the view from their wedding venue. I mean, wouldn’t that be nice? It’s like giving guests a preview of what they’ll actually be looking at on the night of the wedding.”


I called the couple again and asked what they thought. They were open to it. Their wedding venue would overlook all of Haifa Bay, with the glittering lights of the city and the mountains of Northern Israel in the distance. I waved an angry fist at my husband for making me do so much extra work. Of course, if I didn’t think it was worth it, I wouldn’t have done it.

And it was definitely worth it.

Illustrated Save the Date Announcement

Additional notes on technique:

The image was illustrated in Photoshop, using the brush tool. I paint in Photoshop just as you would paint on a canvas—constantly painting over the image underneath, layering color upon color until it feels right.

Once I was done with the painting, I overlaid the vintage floral pattern from their engagement announcement. It’s subtle, but it adds a nice texture. Also, since the save-the-date was such a departure from their engagement announcement, I wanted to find some way to connect the two designs.

The final design uses a couple of Photoshop filters—“paint daubs” and “rough pastels,” if I remember correctly.

8 Responses to The Compelling Story of the Illustrated “Save the Date”

  1. Willo says:

    I love this, Mojan. That husband is a smart cookie if not a timely one. 🙂

  2. I love your “paintings”. 🙂

  3. Mojan says:

    Thanks, ladies. Means a lot coming from two of the most talented designers I know!

  4. delara says:

    i LOVE it! perhaps you need to consider bringing in eric at the BEGINNING of the design project to incorporate his ideas then. 🙂 he he!

  5. negeen says:

    love love love it! i’ve been waiting to see this for a YEAR! the initial composition is simply superb and the twinkling lights in the final version really make it come alive.
    that red and the turquoise in the first one though… omg… i just love it.
    lucky jensen and bartoszewicz.

  6. Jess Kruger says:

    When do we get to see the final final?? Love your work!

  7. Jess Kruger says:

    Oh wait… My screen wasn’t tilted right and I couldn’t see the overlay. Thought you hadn’t posted that yet. But now I can see it 🙂

  8. […] this engagement announcement and this save-the-date card? Well, the project was far from over; we were just getting […]

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