charity: ball invites

My first big job at charity: water was to come up with the concept and visual language for the annual charity: ball; a semi-black tie event where we aim to raise money for a particular region and have a great time doing it. Last year, Dana Tanamachi helped out with some of branding so I knew I had a lot to live up to. I wanted to take it in a direction that didn’t feel too scripty/hand done nor too “old money”. I needed a way to make it approachable but maintain that elegant ball vibe. I ended up coming across this typeface called grumpy and I felt that it struck that perfect balance between classy and exciting. After slaving away with some bezier curves I ended up with a sort of art-deco feeling which could lend itself to using little flourishes and borders elsewhere within the invitation suite, website, and event.

When you get something in the mail now-a-days it’s a really “special” moment. Someone cared enough to put a note or card in an envelope, found a stamp in their junk drawer under years worth of crap and loose change, and THEN on top of all that remembered your address! I wanted the process of getting this envelope to feel as special as the event itself. And from a branding perspective, show how dedicated to details charity: water is. I made a custom monogram for the event to give it a kind of “club” vibe. Something that people would see and need to know what it was all about. As if typesetting every name and feeding over 1,000 envelopes into a printer 7 at a time wasn’t enough dedication to detail, I hand stamped every invitation as well. I wanted this package to feel like you were getting invited to have dinner with the president or something of that nature. I wanted people’s mailmen to wonder what the hell was in these envelopes and why was it so special.

I worked with Scott McClelland (who printed Matt & Kirby’s Wedding Invites for me a little over a year ago) over at Paper Meets Press to print the actual invite. That man is a legend when it comes to letterpressing. He duplexed and printed over 1,000 of these bad boys under a semi-ridiculous timeline. I’m in love with the debossed monogram on the back side. BLACK ON BLACK BABY. Now if you were thinking the hand stamping was a little excessive then buckle your seatbelt friend because a majority of the invites came with a hand written note written by someone here in the office as well. I made these little business card sized “hello” cards so people could write a quick little line like, “Can’t wait to see you…etc…etc” and then drop in the envelope as a lil extra personalized touch.

As for the actual event we don’t actually have physical tickets (charity: water is very forward thinking). We have wristbands! Similar to something you might see at bonnaroo or coachella or any other hip music festival. The deal is that you register this wristband online before you show up with all of your info and whatnot on it so that way when you come to the event all we have to do is scan the little sensor and you’re all checked in, no hassle of printing, bending, or losing tickets. BUT for a designer that means you have to consider that people will be wearing these things all night long with all sorts of different clothing to compliment it. I wanted to make something that was subtle but also something that people would want to hold on to for a few weeks afterward or until you decided to take a shower. I took some elements from the invite and tried to make it look as much like a normal bracelet as possible. I made a different bracelet for each admission level: Black & Gold for VIP, Black & White for general admission, and Yellow for all staff. There is A TON more to come in the near future so expect a follow up post in late December.