Recently, as I fell down some internet rabbit hole that I could never retrace, I stumbled upon Happy Menocal’s whimsical, engaging, and oh-so-darling watercolor family crests, and they completely put the brakes on my internet free-fall! I am completely in love with Happy’s breezy artistry and the obvious thought and personalization behind each one. Though wedding invitations and custom paper products immediately come to mind, I could not help putting one of these special family mementos on my own wish list!
Happy describes her work as “custom heraldry for a new family, wedding gift or invitations, personal monogram or logo”, and shared a little more info about how she took a sort of antiquated idea and made it modern and fresh.
From Happy: A few years ago a close friend was getting married, and asked me to design her invitations. I wanted to do something really regal, but also a little playful. I wanted to create an emblem for their family that they could use forever. I’ve always liked medieval heraldry and thought it was beautiful and grand, but the imagery struck me as a bit arbitrary. Maybe an ancestor had some connection to pineapples or dragons, but I was more interested in the current character of the new family.
So I talked to my friends about things they love, traditions in their family, colors they gravitate toward, plants, flowers and animals that they identify with or like most. Their wedding was in Florida and they spend a lot of time there, so I went with a very tropical thing. It was a lot of fun to create, and afterwards a slew of newly engaged guests at the wedding asked if I could do their stationery. I’ve been creating crests and wedding stationery pretty much non-stop ever since!
It’s a trip for me to get to know the families I work with, and learn their quirks and tastes and stories. Lately I’ve had a few people request that I include their Chinese birth year animals, which I LOVE.
My custom crests have been used in all sorts of ways. Mostly on stationery or just framed in someone’s home, but I’ve had them embroidered on Stubbs & Wootton velvet slippers, stamped on cocktail napkins. One couple had the crest I made them screen printed on umbrellas and gave them as gifts to guests at their autumn New York City wedding. I am presently working on a signet ring with one of my drawings.
The idea of stamping a heraldic seal all over your stuff is of course a bit pompous, but because my illustration style is a little ‘off’, or not technically accomplished, the crests have a humility and sense of humor to them that takes the edge off.
I love the idea of a modern and totally personalized symbol of your new family, created in Happy’s whimsical style. What a unique touch to your wedding day, and keepsake that you’d treasure forever!