We recently caught up with Carey amidst wedding season and in between her celebrations on her recent feature in the fall issue of Martha Stewart Weddings of her very own wedding. This candid chat reveals her quirks as unique as her designs, both of which we adore. This gal has been busy with married life, cuddling with Edison her cat, and running uber creative wedding branding company- The Idea Emporium, which is also our national sponsor.
What is your job title and your role at The Idea Emporium:
Owner/ Designer/ Idea Generator/ Assembly Minion/ Shipping Department Manager
I'm a one-woman show with a ton of support from my husband, best friend (and business manager) and the world's greatest printers.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere, but especially packaging and architectural signs. My husband will tell you we can't go anywhere without me wanting to touch EVERYTHING with words on it to see how it's made. I love address numbers on large buildings and hanging signs for storefronts- those almost always approach a simple task quite interestingly. Similarly, food packaging comes in so many unique iterations that I am constantly inspired by how those designers develop multi-purpose pieces to give information, seal and protect a product.
How do you stay relevant in the design world?
I LOVE playing with unusual materials! Most people think of paper when they hear "stationery" but paper is actually my least favorite medium to work with. Bring on the acrylic, wood, leather, clay, stone and more and I'm a happy camper! I strive to find new and innovative ways to bring in unexpected materials to the design.
What are some of your design philosophies?
I believe your wedding should be a reflection of your relationship not just cute things you've seen on the Internet. So my approach to designing for a couples' big day really revolves around telling their story.
What's your 'unique' process developing projects from vision to execution?
For me it starts with the things the client knows they want for sure (colors, overall vibe). Then it becomes a study in letters to find the perfect typefaces. I generally spend 1-4 hours testing a couple's name in different type styles until I find the perfect one. Similarly for graphics, I'll put in the due-diligence and spend hours researching the right style of imagery and icons for a project before presenting them anything to look at, I want to make sure that I am 100% that it is the best thing I can offer them. Once a client has approved their brand (the graphic design foundation I use for designing each of their pieces) I take some concentrated meditation time to really focus on how to create tangible goods (that fit that brand) in a unique way that is authentic to their event. Those ideas get turned into a visual proposal of concepts, and finally after they approve the concepts, we begin designing the actual items (like the invitations, signs, favors etc). I think spending that much time up front in the development and discovery phase of design is what makes our goodies just a little bit different from the rest.
What's your favorite project to date?
My own wedding of course! I was so much fun getting to design my own goodies because I had the inside scoop on what makes our relationship special. I got to play with ideas that would be too scary to pitch to a client (like a floating garden of 1000 laser cut flowers) and revel in my own love affair with my husband at every turn.
How does sketching play a role in your creative process?
Every project starts with a sketch! I don't like the idea of template design, so every piece I make starts out as an idea jotted down in a scribble on paper. Occasionally I'll get to pitch display ideas to my brides and grooms and that usually gets a more finished sketch (Thanks, Mary!). And every once in a blue moon, I'll draw an illustration that will end up printed as part of the finished design.
Why would you recommend The Sketchbook Series?
I thought I knew how to draw, and then I took the class and learned just how much I didn't know! Sketching is more than just being creative; there are tricks, tools, and techniques involved that really elevate the level of your illustrations. Mary's class teaches all that and more- plus she's just fun to be around!
What are some upcoming news around your brand that you'd like to share?
I'd love for you to take a peek at the fall issue of Martha Stewart Weddings (on stands until Dec. 3) to see my wedding! It was a year and a half in the making and my most meaningful work- there is a story and a reason behind EVERY detail.
Thank you, Carey for the insider look into how The Idea Emporium ticks. Congratulations on your marriage!
The Sketchbook Series Team