“Your event begins the moment someone sees the envelope,” says Brenda Ashenden, CEO of Herrada Printing, who has helped produce thousands of invitations — from corporate conference announcements, Bar Mitzvah and wedding invitations, to the design and printing of invitation sets for some of the most grand fundraising galas in North Texas.
Herrada is a design studio, as well as a printing company that offers white glove fulfillment and mailing house services.
“We have done some gorgeous custom envelope liners. And after we print these beautiful invitations, we stuff, seal, stamp, pre-sort, and mail them. As part of that process, we ink jet addresses from among hundreds of fonts available to coordinate with invitation design. But as beautiful as everything is, we are conservative with people’s money. That’s definitely something our nonprofit clients appreciate.”
The point, Ashenden says, is to use every aspect of the invitation and printed matter as an opportunity to communicate not just the who, what, where, and when of your event…but the emotional and spiritual tone, as well.
“Approximately 50% of our business is working with nonprofit organizations, and we love that because that helps fulfill our mission of giving back to the community. As much as we appreciate the opportunity to work with elite clients, we particularly appreciate the opportunity to work with the underserved. Each organization has a heart and we work closely with our clients to create print materials that reflect and project who they are.”
“You are committed to providing the best service to the community and we are committed to providing you the most beautiful, effective materials. Printing should advance your brand and only the best printing will do.”
Herrada is a family-owned and operated business and their long-term client relationships are a hallmark. Brenda works closely with clients and her team has designed and printed everything from Save the Date cards to invitation sets, table cards, menus, event programs, step-and-repeat banners, marketing signage and decorative pieces, to Thank You cards for the largest nonprofit events.
“Great printing starts with great design,” Ashenden says. “Truly creative invitations are often more cost-effective than following the trend. Our goal is to exceed expectations and delight our clients…and that includes staying within budget. But service is everything. We work very hard to make our clients ‘sticky’ by shaping ourselves to their needs.”
“We do things for clients that other printers won’t — we are almost contortionists, willing to bend over backwards to get things done for our customers.
If there is any way to say ‘yes,’ we will. People have called in a panic for projects needed that afternoon and I’m proud to say Herrada has delivered.”
While same day emergency print service can happen if it must, Ashenden recommends that event planners reach out six to nine months ahead of time to consult with her.
“Save the Date cards should go out any time from nine to three months in advance of the event,” she advises. “We have managed to print and mail in as few as two days, but most projects take five to seven business days.”
“After the envelope, the texture, color, and weight of the paper all make an immediate impression,” Ashenden says before she launches into a discussion of fonts.
“Font pairing is an art and not just for the shape of the letters, your font choices must work well with your paper. Certain textured paper, such as thick vellum, doesn’t work as well with ornate lettering because the curly-ques can get lost in the 3D horizontal grain…so, you have to perform an exercise in values clarification. Which do you prefer more: vellum or ornate lettering? A pearled or iced metallic paper may be a better canvas for that gorgeous calligraphy you have in mind. Perhaps layer the papers so the vellum serves as a frame for the invitation, which is printed on a silky or soft cover stock.”
“Because the majority of content is now delivered on screen, most graphic designers are not trained in the complexities of making something work for print. Our designers are uniquely experienced to look at designs and often identify issues that will interfere with a high quality printed product. We offer solutions because we want them to look their very best. Approximately 40% of our clients now rely on us for design services.”
How do wedding invitations differ from other kinds of invitations?
“Wedding invitations are a reflection of the couple, as well as a projection of who they will be on their wedding day. Are their parents hosting and is this invitation from the parents or from the bride and groom? Are they sophisticated? Artsy? Whimsical? Religious? Will part of this invitation be designed and printed in Hebrew? Is this the invitation to attend the marriage ceremony of a more mature couple, perhaps after loss? There are many considerations that go into the design and printing needs. Not only are we wedding invitation design and printing experts, we have been working with the Jewish community for many years and are sensitive to the nuances of Jewish weddings. We have created magnificent Save the Date cards, invitation sets, table cards, welcome kits for out-of-town guests, and we want to make this process as fun and joyful as the wedding itself.”
Herrada prints way more than invitations and event materials. They are experts at corporate reports, custom keepsake books and booklets, organizational calendars, and holiday cards. They work with the best vendors in town for services they don’t offer under their roof and Ashenden says the company offers full transparency so clients know exactly which vendors Herrada is partnering with.
Printing is faster than it has ever been before and, as a result, people put off planning their print project to the point that they are in crisis mode by the time they get to it. Ashenden says, since that isn’t likely to change, Herrada Printing has positioned itself to be helpful in those crisis situations.
“While we don’t recommend waiting to the last minute, we can always help in the last minute.”
Her tips to avoid crisis:
- Call us as soon as you begin to plan your project
- We can help you plan budget — providing options for consideration.
- We will partner with you on a timeline and help keep you on schedule.
“We have experience creating invitation sets for 5,000 – but most are anywhere from 750-2,500. We have been known to mail invitation sets to 40 people, even as few as 10.”
What about budgets? What should clients expect to spend? Invitations sets range from as little as 98 cents a set to $8.95 a set.
“For The Texas Discovery Garden’s big fundraiser last year, we produced 1,600 four piece invitation card sets, including really special cards and envelopes — everything, including postage was $3,700.”
Brenda Ashenden’s favorite part of her job is definitely client service. She welcomes calls for consultations any time of the year, but reminds Dallas Jewish Monthly readers that October and November are the time to begin planning organizational holiday cards and calendars.
“There is an art to organizational communications, just as much an art as to interpersonal communications,” she says. “At Herrada, we are blessed to work with people who Chair event committees on their nonprofit passion projects, as well as on their business communications, and their children’s B’nai Mitzvah and wedding invitations…and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Contact Brenda Ashenden at email@example.com or call her at