2013 Trends: Printed Pieces with Olivia San Mateo of Olive Route

They say that first impressions are everything, and Olivia San Matoe of Olive-Route would be the first to agree.  She always keeps this in mind when designing and creating her beautiful printed pieces for weddings and special events.  As save-the-dates and invitations are the guests’ first impression of the celebration to come, it’s important that the pieces be memorable and unique to the couple.  In this interview, Olivia shares her expertise on the various options and processes that go along with creating specialty paper goods.
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Please tell us a bit about your company, Olive-Route. How did you come up with the name and logo?

Olive-Route is a custom design and letterpress studio that I started in 2005 after purchasing my first letterpress machine. My portfolio is a collection of wedding paper goods, small business collateral, and art collaborations. My company name is a combination of the latin meaning of my name: “Olivia” means olive tree and my nickname “Via” means route. The logo was something I developed when I was still in design school and I just carried it through my professional career.

When it comes to creating invitations and other printed pieces for couples planning their wedding, what’s your specialty?  

I specialize mainly in letterpress printed pieces – that’s where my heart is. But besides being a printer I’m also a designer, and will specify other types of printing (digital, foil, etc.) if it makes sense for the design and budget.

What makes you stand out from other design studios?

I’d like to think my designs help me stand out from other studios. Everything I do is custom, so every project is unique and I rarely reprint a design. I always make variations and like to experiment with different styles.

In your opinion, why are printed pieces so important in the grand scheme of the wedding?

Invites and Save-the-Dates help set the tone of the wedding. And since they’re sent out early, the first design decisions have to be made when they get sent out (the color palette, the motifs, the overall look and feel, etc). The day of pieces such as programs, menus, placecards, etc. become wonderful keepsakes and takeaways for the guests.  Not only are they functional, they’re also fun and unique. Here are a few samples that have a variety of paper goods in the set, the first set from a Stacy McCain Event Planning wedding for Rachel and Blake, at Cavallo Point.

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude and Mabel

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Heather and Carol for Gertrude & Mabel

Second Set:

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Third Set:

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Photo by B&N Photography

Fourth Set:

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

Photo by Thayer Gowdy

At what point during the planning process do engaged couples come your way?

I encourage them to come very early on, usually about a year out, since save-the-dates are typically sent out at least 6 months from the wedding date.

What’s the best time frame for the creative process to begin, and what is the typical turnaround?

My process is broken down into two phases: design and production.  Each takes about 4 weeks, so 8 weeks total from start to finish.

How do you begin the process of creating custom wedding suites for your couples?

We usually start with a phone conversation or a meet and greet. I like to get to know my clients and understand their aesthetic and style choices so I can better customize the design for them. Then I ask them for any inspiration they may have collected or take a peek at their Pinterest board if they have one. Once I get a better understanding of who they are and what they like, I put together my own style board featuring all the details of their paper goods. The board will consist of color, typography, image, and material inspirations.

Keeping in mind that each couple and wedding is different, how much should couples plan to spend on their printed pieces?

There’s a huge range when it comes to the amount spent on paper goods. It really depends on how important it is to the couple and how they want it printed.  Digital printing is always less expensive than letterpress.

Which components of a suite would you say are most necessary?

I think that when working within a budget, it’s nice to have the invite card printed letterpress and maybe opt for the enclosures to be digital. I always encourage having the addresses done in calligraphy, but if it’s not in the budget, ask someone you know who has nice handwriting to do it for you. Finding some vintage stamps also adds a nice touch. I think whatever you can do to make it look more personalized is worth the effort.

Can you explain the differences in paper weight?

In simplest terms, I always refer to cardstock in 1ply vs. 2ply. Letterpress is always best on thicker 2ply stock, but that also adds to the cost. So if you want to save some money but want to stick with letterpress, going 1ply is a good alternative.

In your experience, what are the most common printing practices?

I mainly provide letterpress and digital services. I’ll also use foil, which is similar to letterpress but instead of ink we use foil.  This works best for metallic colors like gold or silver. Here are some examples:

Letterpress has a nice textural quality to the printing:

Calligraphy by Nancy Hopkins

Photo by Olivia San Mateo; Calligraphy by Nancy Hopkins

Digital is flat printing and works great with saturated colors such as this example:

Photo by Angie Silvy Photography

Photo by Angie Silvy Photography

Here’s an example of foil printing on cloth and wood paper:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

What concepts did we see a lot of in 2012, that we are seeing less in 2013?

I would say patterns have been big and are still running strong, which I love!

Can you tell us about some exciting new concepts you’ve rolled out in 2013?

I’ve integrated some bookbinding into some of my 2013 custom projects like these custom folios with wax seals:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

I love lots of texture, so anywhere I can mix and match materials is great. I love the liner on this design as well as the wallpaper backing we used for the invite:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

I also love pops of color as seen on these bright edge-painted cards:

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Photo by Olivia San Mateo

Thanks for all the inspiration, Olivia!

Follow Olivia on Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram

In case you missed it, be sure to read our September installment of Trends, featuring Wedding Ceremonies with Lisa Francesca

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