Bespoke Calligraphy

Ensure your event has the maximum impact by using our unique Bespoke Calligraphy service. We are renowned for the quality of our calligraphy as well as the speed and efficiency of our service.

We are pleased to offer our calligraphy services to clients wishing to add a personalised and unique touch to their projects. We can mix inks to produce custom colour themes, provide a wide range of lettering styles for selection, and customise requests for every order.

Calligraphy Studio undertakes any lettering-based commission, including lettering design, certificates, party stationery, text panels, logos, and writing for TV productions. We can provide a complex calligraphy/lettering and design service. We offer a large range of scripts that can be used for any occasion: from simple and straightforward to complex, flourished, and heavily ornamented ones. We are happy to discuss any and all options with you, and offer suggestions for you and your event. Traditional dip pens, quills, brushes, archival inks, and the highest quality materials are used in all our commissions. Our calligraphers are professionally qualified and pay meticulous attention to the details of their work.

How to commission

Calligraphy Studio is essentially email-based, so we always advise that you email us first.

Send us an email with your text and a brief idea of your requirements. This will enable us to provide a quotation and some rough examples generated by computer. More complex commissions may require a phone call or, in rare cases, a face-to-face meeting (face–to–face meetings and consultations are charged extra).

We will then be able to advise you on lettering styles and design options, but you will need to consider limiting factors such as the dimensions of the stationery and the height of lettering that needs to be fitted into it. Turnaround times depend on the size and complexity of the work involved, and we usually require at least 24 hours’ notice to complete a commission. A minimum charge will apply to all commissions, and additional costs may apply when extra names are added after your order has been completed.

All data – such as names and addresses – should be spell-checked and proofread before it is sent to us. It is also preferable that the data is sent in the form it will finally appear in. That is: names and titles in lists (rather than Excel columns), names and addresses presented in a label format. Also, for the sake of time and accuracy, all materials should be submitted at the same time. Although every effort is made to ensure accuracy, final responsibility for proofreading rests with the client.

If you require a large body of text to be inscribed, please email us the text for an accurate quote. In most cases, we will be able to produce some examples free of charge, if you send the text over email. The text should be spell-checked and proofread before it is sent to us.

If you are booking a calligrapher for a demonstration in a store or for last-minute corrections/additions at a venue, please make the booking at least 3-4 days in advance. We would also need you to confirm the contact person on-site, and outline security requirements and a dress code.

Please note that we require at least 10% more blank stationery than names in your list. We always try to our best to avoid spelling mistakes, but practice shows that a higher number of mistakes occur in rushed and last-minute commissions. So, for rushed and last-minute work, we advise you to order up to 15% more blank stationery than names in your list.

A large order discount can be given for commissions above 300 units if all information and stationery comes in one batch.

Materials & Tools

In calligraphy, three elements are needed to achieve the perfect result: ink, nib, and paper. In our work, we use only high-quality inks and colours that were carefully tested and proved to work perfectly on papers we offer. We always use nature-friendly, long-lasting materials.

INKS
In our work, we use the best available inks: Japanese ink sticks. Ink made from ink sticks makes writing dense, black, and sharp, and it is usually matted rather than glossy. The basic ingredients of an ink stick are plant soot, animal and plant oils, graphite produced from charcoal, plant dyes, and often elements of other mineral inks. An ink stick can be stored for many years without being affected by humidity, moisture, or mildew, while still keeping its original characteristics. When choosing an ink stick, we judge its quality by its fragrance, the sound and smoothness when grinding it on an ink stone, its interaction with water, and the result it produces on paper. Using ink sticks ensures that our artworks will stand the test of time.

To get the best colour, you need to use the best quality pigments. In our work, we use artist-quality paints that have a high concentration of ground pigment colour, increasing the pigment load and performance rating of these products. Often we mix them with colour ink sticks to get the best result on paper and make them water- and fade-proof. This means we never use colours right from the bottle, but rather prepare them ourselves, so we can be assured of the best quality and long-lasting result of the writing.

Most of the inks and colour mixes we produce are waterproof, but not the metallic colours. As a luxurious option, we offer real gold gilding (up to 24 Karat), both flat and gesso-raised.

NIBS
For writing, we use the best nibs available. We use both edged and pointed nibs. All our stock is meticulously checked (often under a magnifying glass) and tested to make sure all nibs are sharp and make the crispest writing. The edged nib makes thick and thin lines depending on the angle it is held when writing. The pointed nib makes thick and thin lines adjusted by pressure alone.

In some cases, we use real goose feather quills, which we collect and prepare for writing. All our calligraphers are extensively trained in traditional quill preparation and cutting, so we are sure our quills will make the perfect lines.

PAPER
When selecting the paper, we always go for archival quality, 100% cotton, acid-free paper. All paper we use is tested and of the best quality available.

Cotton paper is made using cotton linters or cotton from used cloth (rags) as the primary material. Important documents are often printed on cotton paper as it absorbs ink better and it is known to last many years without deterioration. Cotton paper is superior in both strength and durability compared to wood pulp-based paper, which may contain high concentrations of acids. Our stock includes a range of mill-branded papers from such paper mills as Arches, Canson, Fabriano, Hahnemuhle, Magnani, St. Cuthbert's (Somerset), and Zerkall.

If our clients prefer to provide the paper themselves, we always try to make the best of it. We have some tricks up our sleeves to make ink work on bad paper, but we always advise you to send us paper samples before proceeding with a paper purchase.

As an luxurious option, we can also offer vellum. This remarkable, high quality material with truly unique properties is made from the best quality treated animal skin with a very smooth, yet durable finish. The artwork made on vellum can literally last for centuries, as you can see in historical manuscripts. Vellum can add an extra depth, clarity, and luminescence to any artwork.

Please, keep in mind that we specialise in handwriting, but not in stationery. We usually do not offer to provide stationery – such as invitations or envelopes – in large quantities. However, we keep a stock of blank place cards, so feel free to enquire. We are also happy to provide or produce stationery for bespoke gifts, such as special event gift cards or panels.

RULE-UP
We will always rule up a baseline – the line that all the letters sit on, and where you always return to in order to find your way. Before we actually make letters, we need to rule up the lines according to the width of our nibs, and name our lines, so that we can know where we are going and how to get there. Writing is a motion, so we need to know where we are heading before we get there. Setup is important, margins are important, and height of letters is important. White space around text teaches us a lot about presentation. Determining the height of letters is like having a safety net.

Perfection and accuracy is our main concern, so to ensure perfect writing, we usually rule up in pencil on stationery that lacks the name line to write on. This is usually essential if names are long. Ruling helps us to ensure that the writing is correctly positioned, written in a straight line, and the position is consistant throughout. Pencil lines are always erased after the writing is completed, so all you see is beautiful writing.

In some cases, we do not need to rule the stationery, as we can use a line guide on a light table. This option is often used for envelopes, as they are usually thin enough to be used on a light table (the guide lines can be seen through the envelopes on a light table). However, this is not possible with thick paper or tissue-lined envelopes.

CORRECTIONS
We always do our best to avoid spelling and lettering mistakes. However, as the work is done by hand, mistakes can happen. Fortunately, in most cases we can save the artwork and correct or repair the damage. This is most easily done on thick, white paper, and is usually less successful or impossible on thin, coloured, or highly coated shiny paper. If paper of our selection is used for a commission, we can usually correct a letter or two in almost 100% of cases. “Shaving” off a thin layer of paper on the surface is usually enough to prepare the paper for rewriting the corrections.

WRITING TABLES
We work hard to complete your commissions swiftly and on time. This may involve writing for hours at a time. Sitting and writing for a long time can be very tiring and can affect the end result. In our studio, we use ergonomic chairs and slanted writing tables to help us go the extra mile for you. In most cases, when we are asked to do writing on-site at a venue, such equipment is not available. Therefore, we cannot offer the same speed or flexibility of writing on-site as we do in our studio.

Take a look

Scroll through our Instagram gallery and see all of the amazing Calligraphy Studio work. If you like what you see then feel free to follow us so you can keep updated with all of our latest work.

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