A wedding invitation with clean lines, at a good price

Designer Dan Harkins (center) meets with Gabrielle Deifik (left) and Brad Schuller about their invitation (below). Designer Dan Harkins (center) meets with Gabrielle Deifik (left) and Brad Schuller about their invitation (below). (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Suzanne C. Ryan
Globe Staff / May 1, 2008

Third in an occasional series about a couple enamored with each other - and with good design.

As a graphic artist, Dan Harkins spends his days designing eye-catching CD covers for bands.

Creating wedding invitations is the last thing on his mind. "It's about as far from my day-to-day work as you can get," the New Hampshire-based designer said.

But for his old high school friend Gabrielle Deifik, he made an exception.

Deifik and her fiance, Brad Schuller, are getting married June 21 and their goal is to host a nontraditional ceremony and reception, one that captures their love of modern design.

Deifik, 27, is an architect at Payette Associates Inc. in Boston. Schuller, 27, is a medical physicist at Boston Medical Center. The Globe Style section is following their progress. Readers can also read about the preparations on the couple's blog,

"The invitation is the graphic identity of the wedding," said Deifik. "It's the thing people see first. We wanted them to see that this event is going to be different."

The trio was resistant to the typical wedding invitation, which comes with a response card and envelope, directions, and tissue paper. "The design problem is to alert people to the event, give them a website to find more information and respond to us," said Deifik. "It doesn't necessarily need to be a five-part invite."

Harkins made the unusual choice of putting all of the wedding information on one sheet, using both sides. The bottom half of the invitation is a tear-off postcard/response card. The streamlined design is both environmentally sensitive and less expensive to produce.

Rather than the traditional white or ecru paper, the couple went with copper-colored card stock, a choice inspired by a large bronze sculpture in the MIT Chapel where the couple is getting married. Designed by Eero Saarinen, the red brick sanctuary is windowless and round.

Harkins sketched elements of the chapel in abstract form on the invitation. "The front has a likeness to the barrel of the chapel and there's a stylized version of the steeple," said Schuller. "The back is an abstraction of the sculpture that hangs from the chapel's skylight."

For the font, Harkins chose Futura Medium. "It's a clean, legible font that is very fitting to the architecture," he said. "It's mid-century modern, reminiscent of the 1950s when Eero Saarinen built the chapel."

The one-sheet invitation cost about $1 per piece to produce rather than the typical cost of $5 or more per wedding invitation. The couple mailed their 200 invitations last month.

Said Deifik: "I've always been of the mindset that really good design doesn't have to cost more."

Next up: The reception.

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