What Would They Know? Patricia Testoni of Phatt Design

by | Stationery Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride


Designing the stationery for a wedding or other important life event, must surely be one of life’s great pleasures. Patricia of Phatt Design has the best of both worlds – quiet, contemplative design time and meeting with clients to start the important process of setting the theme for the wedding day to come. Time taken now with the design process, will give your guests a first ‘taste’ of the style of your wedding. How exciting to be a part of that process! Here’s Patricia’s story…..

How did your design journey begin? Have you always been creative?

My design journey actually began with an interest in video production and motion graphics. The switch to print happened when my brother got engaged and asked me to design his wedding invitations.  Later I was asked to design his  friend’s invitations, then friends of friends, and so on!

‘Jessica’ invitation suite

Do you have a mentor or someone influential in your life, who is your ‘guiding light’?

Oh I have many, from my grandma to Alain de Botton! I have a thirst for knowledge so I steal wisdom from a wide range a people! Lately what has been guiding me is a quote I read by John Wooden “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” It helps me not get paralyzed when I encounter my limitations and shift the focus to putting my skills to work.

What is it that you particularly love about designing wedding stationery? 

For me it’s the perfect combination of retreating into my inner world and being connected to people at a more personal level. I love the therapeutic process of design research, being alone with my headphones on, listening to music and getting inspired by beautiful things. But then you also get to interact with people that are inviting you into such a special time in their lives, you get to hear their stories, their dreams, how they fell in love. It’s very personable and I love that.

‘Isabella’ invitation suite

Do you find that custom design is more popular than standard designs with couples as they seek to personalize their weddings?

More so for the creative types I think. A lot of couples seek custom designs but working from a template is still very popular as long as they have a wide variety to choose from and the flexibility to accommodate changes. I think for those who cannot work from an abstract idea, having a template can help visualize the end product more easily.

Do you have signature design style?

I am more naturally inclined to a modern approach, working with strong colors and mixing different fonts, but I try to design for everyone.

‘Savannah’ invitation suite

What is the starting point for designing a custom invitation suite?

It all starts with a casual chat and a few questions to try to understand what the couple wants to then translate that into a design brief with some moodboards.

Should the couple approach you with set ideas? Or do you work best off a loose folio of ideas that you can then adapt to a special design?

Sometimes the couple has a very clear idea of what they want and that’s fine if they are just seeking its execution. Most times though, they have a few loose ideas and are seeking some creative input on how to tie it all together which ends up being a fun exchange. In either case, it’s worth being open to suggestions from both ends!

‘Lauren’ invitation suite

What do you use as your design influences, or do you find inspiration all around you, or from the couple themselves?

The couple can lend a lot of themselves to the invitations, whether they are more classic and formal or quirky and unconventional, that usually translates onto the design.
Of course the theme of the wedding – if it’s a beach, country, Vegas wedding – also helps guide the choices in terms of the mood, colors, graphics etc.
I also draw a lot of inspiration from nature, which provides us with amazing (and free!) patterns and color combinations. The website Design Seeds (www.designseeds.com) is an excellent testimony to that.

Is the paper quality and finish important in the final design? What sorts of paper finishes look best for a wedding stationery suite? 

Paper quality is very important and makes a huge difference to the end product and the impact your invitation has! I like to keep the grammage around 250gsm + and the paper finish harmonizing with the general mood of the invitation. So for a country wedding invitation, I might choose to work with natural fibers over pearl finish, whereas on a classic invitation I might  choose for the opposite, or go for a matt finish, which is always a winner!

‘Nina’ invitation suite

Do you see any trends happening in colour and design for weddings which is reflected in the stationery?

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for foils and laser cut!

What books are on your beside table right now?

“Look Upstairs” – the book from the amazing design conference that just happened in Melbourne, “The happiness project” by Gretchen Rubin and “Culture in a Liquid Modern World” by Zygmunt Bauman.

Do you have any new restaurant or café discoveries you’d like to share with us?

The Grain Store (Flinders Lane, Melbourne) – they should give me free brunch for all the publicity I give this place. It’s like Carnival for the tastebuds – I’m a fan.

Thank you Patricia for sharing your story. For more information about Phatt Design visit the website.

Images by  Tuli Nishimura.                                                                    

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