“I am only as good as my tools!”
Ana Dolan says she is not an artist. This is arguable, but instead she refers to herself as a creator. She has an eye for putting colors, textures and type together. Growing up in a military/IBM family she moved a lot. Among other places, she has lived in Hawaii, Guam, Vermont, Connecticut and is now happy to reside in New York City. She draws inspiration from all of her life experiences. After 14 years in financial accounting she realized it’s impossible to make balance sheets look pretty.
Ana is having a very good week. Saturday she changed her facebook status to announce a two page spread featuring photos of her escort cards in the fall/winter issue of The Knot, which just hit the newsstands. On Wednesday, theKnot.com aired a live webcast featuring Ana’s designs. Her assignment was to create “wow factor” wedding invitations.
We work together for Leslie Price and Eyal Tessler of In Any Event and the pages in The Knot were their designs.
I met Ana years ago at a bat mitzvah at The Yale Club. She was hired to guide the young guests through a project of writing letters to the troops. Later she was overseeing the creation of a guest book using Polaroid pictures. The next time I saw her she was dropping off hundreds of boxes of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts at Gotham Hall. I worked a wedding with In Any Event at Tribecca Rooftop and was blown away by the design of menus, programs and escort cards, all layered with gold-flecked cork. I later learned these were Ana’s creations.
She creates: Save the Dates, Invitations, Programs, Place cards, Escort Cards, Favors, Welcome Packages, Logos, Monograms, Sign in Boards, Guest Books, Baby Announcements, Stationery and Web Designs. If you have a specific, original or crazy idea, I have a feeling Ana would love to hear it and help you make it a reality. When not creating, she may be rooting for the Yankees or listening to the latest from David Gray or ColdPlay.
With a tasting of Cafeteria’s three mac & cheeses (Gouda & bacon was the winner!) in front of us and a blackberry lemonade in hand, we got started.
T: Congratulations on your recent spread in The Knot, please explain the process of having your worked featured in a magazine and what inspired these escort cards specifically?
A: Thank you! Eyal Tessler of In Any Event, called me and told me he had a unique opportunity to showcase two original escort cards in The Knot. They had to be black and white and priced under $350 for 50 cards. Eyal found the black and white tile, and we talked about personalized checkers. The chairs I had used before for various weddings. The photo shoot took most of the day and I loved every minute of being “behind the scenes.”
T: What was the assignment for the recent webcast on theknot.com?
A: They wanted three original invitation ideas not on paper. I came up with five using a shadowbox wood frame, velvet, a cylindrical clear box and more. With the box, I was contemplating filing the box with tulle or shredded paper. I asked Eyal for his input on this and he suggested candy. They wanted the invitations to be bright, so I ended up using a colorful collection of candy.
T: In a city of wildly talented Graphic Designers, how would you describe your design style?
A: Artistic, Antique, Architectural. Traditional with a flare.
T: What is the creative process with clients generally like?
A: I meet with clients in person so I can try to create something they will love the first time. I create three samples for the client to choose from. Many of my clients are visual and need to be able to see, hold and touch an invitation before deciding which one is right for them. They appreciate this personalization. Seeing their names printed on beautiful paper in inspiring fonts, using colors coordinating to their wedding is powerfully enticing.
T: What is your favorite store, blog or website that gives you inspiration?
A: I like Luxurious Weddings. While the paper stores on 18th street (in Manhattan) are great, there is one on 12th Street in Manhattan called New York Central Art Supply that I love. I was creating invitations for a 25th wedding anniversary and needed unique silver paper. They had five different silver papers for me to choose from. There is also the Japanese beads and findings store call Toyo, where I find unique pieces to adorn my paper items with. It’s also very convenient since M&J Trimming (a great ribbon store) is on the next corner!
T: Is there someone who you idolize or look up to professionally?
A: I should say Martha Stewart, as obviously she is a great business woman and I have been fortunate to meet her in person. But to be honest, I get more inspiration from architecture, water, sand, and the sky. Places inspire me more than people.
T: What advice would you give to someone who is contemplating making their own wedding invitations or tackling a DIY graphic design project?
A: It’s special when people want to make their own invitations. I suggest you invest in the right tools. “I am only as good as my tools!” Without the right tools and professional printing they will look crafty and homemade, so unless that’s the look you are going for, make the small investment. Also, take your time and make everything as neat and even as possible.
T: What’s next in your horizon?
A: I am looking forward to a Marie Antoinette-themed wedding that is coming up in September at the Lake House Inn in Pennsylvania. The bride, Jen is so enthusiastic, which in turn, inspires me to try and make everything as elegant and as exquisite as possible. I don’t want to give away all the fun details but of course the favors are petit fours. “Let the guests eat cake!”
T: Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
A: For a long time, I thought I had my life planned out. But you never know where you’ll wind up. If you are fortunate to have something you love and are passionate about, it will hopefully guide you where you should be. In my case, my passion for designing and creating has brought me much happiness. I am very grateful for the life that I have.
The pages look great and I look forward to the webcast. Thank you for your time. See you at the Indian wedding on Friday.