5 Minutes with Dominique Alba
If the idea of modern romantic wedding invitations lights a fire in your heart, then goodness, do we have a stationer + calligrapher for you. Dominique Alba is a Brazilian born and raised artist, currently residing in Raleigh, NC where she dreams up the most refined paperie designs for couples all over the world. We’ve been working with Dominique since our own beginnings, and every experience collaborating with her has exceeded our expectations. Not only does she have the incredible creative talent to get inside our heads and translate our exact design vision onto paper, she has the sweetest spirit + most humble heart. We feel so blessed to serve our clients alongside Dominique regularly and thought it was about time we introduce her formally to you as well!
So without further ado, get to know the stationer that’s making waves in the wedding world in our short Q+A below.
- What made you decide to become a stationer, and what was that journey like?
As it happens with most stationers, calligraphy was my “gateway drug”. I started practicing it in 2015 as part of a new year’s resolution to do something creative so I could stay sane while going through the rat race of corporate life in LA. I have a tendency to become obsessed with learning new things (enneagram type 5!), so I took it very seriously and learned as much as I could before deciding to start a business. At first it was hard to deal with the insecurity and self-doubt of not having an art background, but art has been a part of my life since I was a kid, so it felt like a true calling.
- How would you describe your style?
I usually describe it as “modern romantic”.
- Where do you draw inspiration from?
Everywhere! My husband makes fun of me and says I’m easily distracted, but I’m just looking around and absorbing the colors and shapes that I see in nature, buildings, movies, books, etc.
- What do you love most about your studio space?
During my last trip to Brazil, I brought back many of my grandmother’s paintings (who was an artist and art teacher) and now I have them all over my studio. I was always inspired by her bold use of color and penchant for the imperfect and organic, and I love having her art near me while I work.
- Tell us about your hometown and your favorite spots to take visitors!
Brasilia is definitely an underrated Brazilian city, probably because it’s not the typical tropical paradise you would expect. But its modernist architecture is fascinating, and you won’t see a prettier sunset anywhere! I used to love taking friends who were visiting for a sightseeing car drive, followed by dinner by the lake (the weather there is always perfect at night).
- What quote or motto do you live by?
I used to have this quote from Anne of Green Gables on my website and I still love it – “Dear old world, ‘you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you”. There is always so much beauty around to be seen, even in times like this.
- How do you spend your free time?
This is probably cliché, but I just read a lot. I’ve always been a huge bookworm, and I usually read a book or more a week.
- What are 5 things you can’t live without?
Books, tea, cheese, cat snuggles, and (recently) my Nintendo Switch (best distraction in times of Covid).
- Tell us about your design process!
If it’s a custom design for a client, I talk to them over the phone and go over their inspiration photos to understand the mood and feel they are trying to evoke before creating loose concept sketches and mood boards. After that I start creating the artwork and calligraphy elements (always by hand, never purchased), designing each item and showing them all in a realistic mockup so we can get it right before moving forward with printing.
- What are your favorite printing methods?
Letterpress! You can’t beat the texture, especially on pillowy handmade paper.
- Are there any new textures you’d love to incorporate into your paper good designs?
Last year we invested in a laser cutter and since then I’ve been obsessed with designing with unusual materials – anything from leather and acrylic to slate and tiles. They take a lot of experimenting and trial and error, but the results are always so fun!
- What are the ingredients for the perfect flatlay of wedding details?
A simple board (even just fabric or paper) and one or two elements that complement the suite are usually enough in my opinion. I also prefer natural and organic props like foliage, dried flowers and handmade pottery items. I truly believe that less is more when it comes to flat lays, and I think too many props will only take away from a beautiful suite.
- Do you have a favorite paper element that you always look forward to most for weddings?
I love place cards and escort cards. They are often an afterthought, but I love how you can get creative with them and how they can become little keepsakes. We are currently working on engraved leather keychain place cards, and I just want to keep them all to myself!
- Is there a favorite suite you’ve designed that you can share with us?
I’ll be sharing it soon on social media but my current favorite is this suite I designed for the Hybrid Co earlier this year inspired by Southern California’s sunsets and horses, shot by Paul Von Rieter.
15. What questions do you wish more couples asked at the beginning of the design process?
I always make multiple suggestions in our proposals, but it would be great if all couples considered their priorities and asked what we can create with their budget, instead of just being set on something they saw on Pinterest or Instagram. Sometimes a digitally printed invitation suite wrapped in vellum and a wax seal can create a better first impression than a bare-bones suite with a foil stamped invitation card.
Thank you so much for reading along! We hope you’re as drawn to Dominique’s organic and texture-driven design style as we are, and we have a pretty good feeling you share a few similar passions as she does too. Between a deep love of Jane Austen and an addiction to chocolate, we know there’s some common ground 😉
Check out more of Dominique’s work in the modern romantic wedding style here next.
‘Til we meet again!