io design & illustration, inc.
fun and functional design & illustration services for print and web

Asheville Wedding Guide

Now in it’s third edition, the Asheville Wedding Guide is one of my favorite design projects ever. The first edition was created for the Asheville Convention & Visitor Bureau (CVB) in 2009 as they were stepping up services for destination weddings. The guide needed to include the normal content you would expect – lists of photographers, locations, caterers, spas and all other local wedding related resources.

But the goals for the guide went beyond that. We needed to create a piece that spoke of Asheville as an unique place to hold a wedding, a piece that evoked the beauty of our area and the wide variety of activities that make it a wonderful place to ask friends and family to gather. It also needed to tie in to existing CVB branding, which includes a fun, bold color logo, while maintaining a romanic feel generally associated with softer colors.

I am please to say that the initial edition won the 2010 North Carolina Destination Marketing Achievement Award: Gold for Best Niche Marketing piece. And brides-to-be have blogged enthusiastically about the piece, as well as the excellent service from CVB staff they have received with it. Always nice to know a design has hit the mark!

Why is the piece one of my favorites? Because it merged illustration so nicely with the layout of a lot of detailed information. There were lists and tables a plenty, but throughout I wove delicate vine illustrations and enhanced pages with photos and quotes. We also chose to print on a natural soft white uncoated paper. The end result is a piece that is very beautiful, extremely functional and has a warm welcoming feel.

To request a copy of the wedding guide, please visit

Seasonal Wreath – Pen & Ink

Seasonal Wreath, starting from 12 o'clock position, clockwise: Violet (faithfulness), Dogwood (love undiminished), Dandelion (wishes come true), Lily of the Valley (happiness), Baby's Breath (festivity), Azalea (romance), Gardenia (peace, joy), Sunflower (loyalty), Oregano (creativity), Rosemary (wisdom), Tiger Lily (wealth), Goldenrod (good fortune), Oak (longevity), Ivy (wedding love), Pine (fertility), Honeysuckle (bonds of love).

I love working with pen & ink and ink wash. Something about dipping a pen in ink and setting it to paper, watching as you draw a line how subtle changes in pressure and angle manipulate the flow of ink, puts Zen in my day like nothing else. Weird since it is an irreversible process and one error can mean reworking an entire piece.¬†Unfortunately, I don’t get to create with pen & ink very often, so when I do it is a special treat.

The Seasonal Wreath (actually I have created three similar images each with unique fauna) is a large scale illustration measuring approximately 16 inches across. It represents many hours of work, from pencil sketching and refining, to inking the lines and adding the tonal wash.

Each wreath represents the seasons as you move clockwise around the illustration – spring, summer, fall, winter. The piece shown here is focused on Eastern US flowers and plants. The selection of plants illustrated was a combination of requests from a bride-to-be, some of my personal favorite flowers and a book which lists the historic meanings associated with certain plants. The final image was reproduced as a wedding invitation with the wreath image on the front and the traditional meanings listed on the back.