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5 Questions With Marc Friedland, Chief Style Director of Evite Postmark

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As we near the end-of-year holidays, many of us are planning parties or gatherings to celebrate the season. So how do you get people to your party? Some send paper invites in the mail, but to many people these days, that might feel a little old fashioned. So it's online we go, to a plethora of designs and styles for easy party planning.

Chances are you've been the sender or receiver of an online invite created using Evite, the company that pioneered web-only event invitations. In their quest to up their game, the L.A.-based business has a division called Evite Postmark, with top stationery designer Marc Friedland on board as its Chief Style Director. So in our quest to get to know some interesting Angelenos, we talked to Friedland--who also redesigned the official Academy Awards envelopes in 2011, and whose clients include luminaries like Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks--about designing for online versus paper and what inspires his work.

LAist: There's been a steady shift over the past decade towards doing event invitations exclusively online. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of being all "virtual" instead of tangible when it comes to invitations?

Friedland: I personally don't believe paper vs. pixels is an either or proposition. For 26-years, Marc Friedland Couture Communications has perfected the art of connection, and through the power of design we help celebrate those relationships that mean the most. There are times when online is a great solution. It's fast, easy, inexpensive, and can easily take an ordinary event and make it more special. A great printed invitation of course makes an impression that's hard to ignore. I'm not talking simply about a piece of paper thrown into an envelope, but a really well designed, beautifully produced piece can become a lasting keepsake.

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Regardless of medium, it's the attention to detail, the thoughtfulness, the creativity and the level of personality that's expressed in your invitation that makes the real difference. Oftentimes people forget that invitations should be "inviting," not just convey information.

Do you approach designing for the web differently than you do for paper? What factors must you consider that you don't face when designing paper invitations?

For Evite Postmark, my design team and I create both the everyday gallery of designs along with my signature Marc Friedland Collections. We approach the designing process the same for all the work we do. We think of texture, shape, color, materials, wording, etc. For my own personal collections, we often take physically produced pieces with all of their lush materials, papers and textured printing and digitally transform them, thereby retaining all of the richness, texture and luxury of their physically produced counterpart.

What do you think makes for a successful and appealing holiday design?

The most important element of any holiday greeting is that it's heartfelt and authentic. Everyone feels differently about the holidays, and one's greetings should convey the personal style, sentiment and essence of the sender. Consider your own personal style when choosing your card…are you witty and spiritual, but not religious, or do you like the traditions of a bygone era? This is the one time of year where the thought really does count, and nothing conveys it better than something unique, fresh and distinctive.

Tell us how you came to be at Evite, and also why you think consumers would want to up their online invite game by using Evite Postmark.

I've been Chief Style Director for Evite Postmark for about a year and a half. I was originally introduced to Evite to host a launch party for this new brand, but it became immediately clear that a collaboration between Evite and Marc Friedland Couture Communications could be interesting, as it brings together the first name in online invitations and MFCC’s 26-year history of inviting some of the world’s most celebrated individuals to the most celebrated events. Our collaboration enabled us to offer the first ever Academy-sanctioned Oscar® invitations on Evite Postmark last February. The invitations were based on my original design for the now iconic Oscar® winner's envelope.

Consumers today are very stylishly and visually literate. They want to showcase their style savvy in virtually everything they do, yet need guidance and user-friendly options that capture today's trends and influences. Evite Postmark has raised the bar not only with what's possible in terms of online digital invitations, but provides consumers with inspiration, style and etiquette tips along with the convenience of event management all for less than a cost of a postage stamp.

Some of your famous clients have said your designs are inspiring, but we'd like to know what, or who, inspires you and your designs?

I draw my influences from a wide range of sources… I guess I was always a curious kid, wanting to know how things worked, and was fascinated by the way things looked. Being observant you see the divine beauty of design in virtually everything. Advertising, fashion, movies, architecture, flea markets to thrift stores. Growing up in the sixties, I still have clear recollections of the games/toys we played with, the commercials on TV, the emerging fashion and design transitions from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Everything old IS new again, and the real challenge is to have a point of view, and to always allow for your personal style to evolve. Having worked with some really amazing clients is probably where I've learned the most, as what makes our work really distinctive is that it reflects the styles and tastes of all of our couture clients. That's exposed me to things I would never have explored in my own world.

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Having your own individual style allows you to appreciate others’ unique expressions of their style, allowing you to always innovate, but never imitate!

You can check out Friedland's 2012 holiday collection on Evite Postmark, and keep your eyes out for his work in the hands of celebs at the podium at the upcoming Academy Awards as they read "and the Oscar goes to..."