When Saima Khan opened her own design studio in Georgetown in 2006, there wasn't an event planner in town who didn't sit up and take notice. Combining flawless taste with impeccable technique, Saima Says Design has rightfully earned a heap of praise from wedding industry insiders, bridal publications, and of course, happy couples. Saima is truly an artist with paper, and a lovely person to boot! It's always a thrill watching her work with clients, turning their dream of an invitation into gorgeous reality.
And now it's your turn to be thrilled: one fortunate Bridal Bubbly reader will win 50 thank-you cards and envelopes from the Saima Says Design Letterpress Signature Collection. There are twelve designs to choose from (I'm partially to the Bloomsbury Chic collection myself, but go find your own favorite!)
This is truly a fantastic value, and we couldn't be more grateful to Saima for the fabulous opportunity for our readers. She was also nice enough to sit down and answer some questions about her studio.
How did you develop your business?
After earning a degree in graphic design from Maryland Institute, College of Art in Baltimore, I worked for top design firms in the Baltimore-Washington area. I created designs for such fashion names as Saks Fifth Avenue, Little Me Childrenswear, Harriet Kassman and Alan Furman Jewelry. In the process I gained experience in all aspects of design – from concept to execution to production.
But it was a special occasion, the marriage of my brother Sami, for which I created my first wedding invitation. The distinctive design captured the hearts of family and friends alike, igniting my passion for custom stationery.
Soon after, I was able to quit my advertising job and focus on creating beautiful wedding suites for clients nationally and internationally as well. Here I am, almost five years later, loving every minute of it!
Where do you get your inspiration?
My designs have compelling concepts that take inspiration from a multitude of sources – architecture, fashion, history, nature, my cross-cultural background and of course striking design and typography.
How would you define your style?
Stylistically my work is defined by it's rich visual appeal. All of my designs, whether custom or Signature, are adorned with a variety of motifs and pattern that convey the look and feel of that event. The strong and bold use of color is also something which I consider unique to my style.
As a designer, I am able to apply these design elements to any theme–from more formal, ornate designs for a wedding at The Willard to a clean, sleek, crisp look for an event at Long View.
What one thing in your business could you not live without?
My sketchbook and pencil! (I guess those are two things, but you get the idea.) Both go with me everywhere!
What trends do you see in color, texture or detailing?
A lot of different mediums, other than paper are being utilized in wedding stationery these days. For instance, we use silk, linens, plexi-glass, bamboo, wood veneer, embroidery and other surfaces to accent our invitation ensembles. This makes a very unique invitation, and also adds dimensionality to the conventional paper invite. The silks and linens can be added with boxes and folders that showcase the paper invite, still keeping the overall look very formal and elegant, while the bamboo and wood surfaces can be used to print directly on or used as a backing to an invite, creating a modern, fresh look. We also use crystals and embroidery to decorate our designs.
Also, letterpress printing seems to be very much in-demand these days. Letterpress allows the graphics and text to be pressed into the paper, making a lovely impression on the paper and your guests!
What colors do you love?
I love combining dark and light colors so that there is a lot of contrast and depth to play with! My favorite color combinations are canary yellow and charcoal gray, Aqua and Navy and the very classic black and white!
What is one piece of advice you'd give a bride or groom?
Always think big picture. What is this all really about? I think we often get too caught up in the smallest things and forget what a wedding is really all about. Enjoy your special day to the fullest.
Thanks, Saima! To enter to win the thank you-notes, drop an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Saima Says" in the subject line and your name and a quick note in the email. The winner will be announced next week. Good luck!