I’ve had the privilege of designing the Remarkable Milwaukee invitation suite for Historic Milwaukee, Inc. for the past three years. Each year at this wonderful event, an award is presented to a different Milwaukeean/group of Milwaukeeans. Therefore, I try to change up the design each year to reflect that particular year's winner(s).
This year, the award is being presented to two individuals who are working on preserving some of Milwaukee’s historic buildings, Jim Haertel and Juli Kaufmann of Fix Development. Jim Haertel is the owner of the Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery. In addition to all the investments he has made at the Best Place, he and his wife recently purchased the Eschweiler school building in Wauwatosa. Some of Juli’s projects include the Innovation and Wellness Commons in Lindsay Heights, Clock Shadow Building in Walkers Point.
HMI asked that I reflect the award winners’ projects in my design. So, before I started any sort of sketching or conceptualizing, I did some research on their preservation and restoration projects. I found some neat historic photos, including a tile floor pattern original to one of the tavern buildings undergoing restoration that I really liked:
As I began coming up with ideas for the save the date postcard, I wanted to try to integrate that floor tile into at least one of the concepts that I would present to HMI. I did some sketching, but moved over to the computer pretty quickly for this project. I did a bunch of pretty quick computer “sketches” before I settled on my top six ideas. Yes, six. I maybe got a little carried away on this one, but the ideas just kept flowing.
Below are a few of the six ideas that I presented to HMI for the save the date. Some of the ideas would carry over right into the invitation itself. A few of the other ideas would be separate, but somehow relate to the actual invitaiton. I wasn’t sure if I would have the time and skill needed to replicate the tile floor pattern exactly how it was in the building. So, I found a simpler pattern that would convey my concept without being so literal. I presented a gamut of ideas. Some were very straightforward, others were a little more complex, some incorporated the tile floor pattern, and others did not.
HMI, never one to shy away from my more “daring” ideas (that's one of the reasons why I love them!), chose my favorite concept. This one integrated the floor pattern, and some of the historic photos that I found during my initial research. I think of this design as fun, and even a little edgy. That cursive font is a little unconventional, as is the layout.
There were very few design changes from initial concept to final design on the save the date. Once that was complete, I moved on to the invitaton, reply card, and envelopes. All of the items share design similarities. Even though the save the date postcard was printed on glossy paper, and the invitation suite was printed on matte, the package is obviously related and recognizable as the look for this year’s Remarkable Milwaukee event.