National Stationery Week: Calligraphy With Kiki

Monday, 20 April 2020

Kiki is the founder of Calligraphy by Kiki, a self-taught calligrapher
based in London who creates modern calligraphy for both couples as well as for brand
events. In fact, recently she was selected as SpaceNK’s calligraphy brand partner, whom
her team partnered with over Christmas to personalise festive gift tags for customers in over
20 nationwide SpaceNK stores. For National Stationery Week, Kiki shares her thoughts on
ways to add calligraphy to your wedding stationery, and how to use this time in lockdown to
learn calligraphy ahead of your big day, if you’re keen to have a go yourself. You can find
her on Instagram here.

So to start, I want to hear ALL about your DREAM wedding! What would it be like if there were no expense/logistical issues?!

I’m super lucky in that I’ve had my dream wedding already! In 2018 I got married to my now
husband, Matt, an A and E doctor, at The Green Cornwall during summer, where we had a
fusion, rustic barn wedding over a whole weekend. We even had the opportunity to go to
India a few months before to source the outfits for the Indian ceremony. I wanted to have
fusion colours for this (rather than the traditional red/gold for an Indian bride) and ended up
getting these gorgeous mint green outfits for us both. We had a very different brief and vision from most couples,
meaning it was trickier to source suppliers, but after lots of filtering and research, we got
there – and truly had the dream wedding we’d always wanted.

You can read all about our day on Rock My Wedding which features all the fab photos taken
by husband and wife photographer duo, Matt and Alexa Penberthy – who I can’t recommend
highly enough!

@MattPenberthy

I mean WOW! What a couple-those outfits! The mint green is a great choice, so unique.

Ok now we’re diving into other questions… 

What’s your ‘why’? Have you always done what you’re doing now, and why did you start?


I started practicing calligraphy almost 4 years ago. At the time, I wanted to find a mindful,
creative craft that I could learn at home. I’ve always loved stationery and so calligraphy
seemed like an interesting option. I attended a 2-hour calligraphy workshop – much like the
ones I now teach – and was hooked straight away and am self-taught since. I now create
hand-lettered calligraphy for weddings and events, as well as hosting workshops for the
public and corporate offices.


What are your couples like? What kind of weddings or events do you work at the most?


My couples are modern, design-conscious and always have a desire for simplicity – all
attributes that are in line with my brand, and what I can create for them. I’ve created
calligraphy for weddings in the UK, as well as destination weddings such as Greece, France
and Italy. Couples who want calligraphy on their wedding stationery are often detail
orientated and appreciate the luxurious touch that calligraphy can bring to a wedding
invitation suite, or on-the-day stationery.
As well as this, myself and my team partner with retail brands (such as SpaceNK, Jo Malone
and Lululemon) to host personalisation services in-store during peak retail moments such as
Christmas and Valentine’s Day, offering complimentary services for customers – everyone
loves going home from a shopping trip with beautiful, calligraphy name place cards for their
loved ones to attach on to gifts!

How does your approach differ from other calligraphers?


The style I create falls under ‘modern calligraphy’, which has 4 million+ hashtag mentions on
Instagram! So that means whilst it’s hard to stay original, it’s crucial to stay ahead of the
curve. At the moment I’m experimenting with loose lettering, to expand my calligraphy
styles that I offer couples. My approach is slightly different because I work with brands to
activate retail spaces too, and so have at times worked with brides for their weddings, who
have then go on to recommend me for a calligraphy workshop at the workplace! Whilst I
design wedding stationery, my specialism is very much the hand-lettered calligraphy touch to
go on top of wedding and on-the-day stationery – think name place cards, couples’ names on
their invitations, and wedding envelope addressing.

Where do you find inspiration?

Because calligraphy is such a visual practice, it goes without saying that Instagram is a huge
source of inspiration for me. There are many different lettering styles out there, and ways to
enhance wedding stationery i.e. adding wax seals, using metallic inks, unusual colour
combinations, which I have the confidence to experiment with thanks to all the amazing
wedding suppliers who share thoughts on trends and real life weddings.

I get most of my Pink Palms enquiries via Instagram: What’s your most popular route for couples to find
you?


I, too, get most of my wedding enquiries via Instagram, although for my calligraphy
workshops these are often word of mouth or through my website. My Instagram profile
naturally doubles up as a portfolio of my work, and therefore is a great way for a couple to
quickly understand my style and how I could support them with their creative vision.

For people following you who are inspired by you: Do you teach others your craft? Or hire
people to assist you?


Yes! I teach modern calligraphy workshops around London and the U.K. Everyone from the
public, to private sessions, as well as offices who invite me in as part of staff wellness days,
which I love doing. Obviously with how the world is currently regarding Covid-19, my
workshops are now virtual – it’s still possible to teach online, which I’m grateful for.

Are you offering different services during times of lockdown?


Lockdown is a great time to learn a new skill whilst you’re at home. I’m selling my brush
lettering kits online which includes a virtual calligraphy workshop with me, so that people
still have that important, quality time with a teacher to guide them through the journey.
Calligraphy is not as easy as it looks! If you’re a bride who’s keen to add DIY touches to
your wedding, I’d definitely recommend purchasing a kit and workshop, you’ll be amazed
the progress you can make in just a few months, with a good number of hours practicing each
week.

What’s your one piece of advice for engaged couples, related to what you do? Maybe the
answer to the most common question you get asked, or something you REALLY want
couples to know?!


Consider adding hand-lettered calligraphy to your wedding / on-the-day stationery. There is
an assumption that calligraphy is too expensive for your wedding, but, there are ways of
really impressing your guests with those ‘wow’ moments, for example wedding envelope
addressing when they get their invitations through the letterbox, or the wedding favours that
could double up as name place cards – you don’t have to have everything in calligraphy, it’s
about being smart and working within your budget. And for those of you who want to create
calligraphy for their own weddings, I would suggest having at least 6 months before your big
day to master the craft, and then you’ll feel super confident to add those luxurious touches
yourself!

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