Not feminine enough?

Dan Gayle's picture

So here's the deal:
I put this together for a wedding guide put out by my publishing company. I had a few hours to design it, and this is what I came up with. I thought I was being clever with the black/white space, and it gave me an opportunity to use Garamond Premier Pro.

Here's the catch:
Every guy who looked at it thought that it was ok. Cool even. But the design was UNIVERSALLY LOATHED by every woman who caught sight of it.

We have a freelancer who also happens to be a wedding photographer, and she shot it down immediately. She said it was not "feminine" enough.

ARGH! That's what I thought I was making!

What do you think? How do you make something (more) feminine?

Dan Gayle's picture

Here's the .pdf if anyone is interested...

satya's picture

either change its colors to pink/magenta...or change the photograph to something in which female hands comes first.
Right now it looks like someonez showing his hands to a finger's doctor;)

**and plz increase the space between I and D in I Do...It reads IDo.

Eric_West's picture

Don't even show a man. Men are subservient (they think). Just show the bride with a goofy grin surrounded by her girlfriens.


Solipsism's picture

'I do' looks a bit menacing. I hope your audience isn't looking for Snell Roundhand, but it may just be a case of the type size choices you made. Weddings tend to be sensitive and intimate affairs.

Dan Gayle's picture

I was told "classy." An elegant font, a sepia-toned photo... What more can you ask for?

dezcom's picture

It may just look a little bit too corporate for the wedding planning crowd. Hopefully some women will post and help with the feminine angle. It just may need to have a softer photo and use the italic version of Garamond. Maybe women want to see more clothes and catering kind of stuff? Sorry, I am not of muchhelp with this.


Eric_West's picture

Dude. I swear. NO DUDE. Just the WOMAN...Watch the indent w/South District Journal. Cut it in half.

Maybe the Garamond isn't the best choice. Do you have any single titling faces, like perpetua titling...something reeealy elegant.

pattyfab's picture

A wedding planner should look romantic more than feminine and this just isn't either. I think the font is ok but the photo is all wrong - you can't tell at a glance what's going on and the design is, as Chris said, too corporate. I think you should check out some wedding magazines, Brides or Martha Stewart, to get a sense of what might appeal to women.

Think FLOWERS. You don't have to go over the top with pink and script, sepia could be quite nice and elegant but you have to soften the design. Lose the hard edges.

(Even tho I'm a woman, I'm not exactly the target audience since I think romantic is a quick hookup at city hall on your way to the airport for your honeymoon)

Dan Gayle's picture

I had a hard enough time just asking a close friend for her old Vogue magazines so that I could look at the designs. Now I have to look at Martha Stuart and all of the Bride-Zilla magazines?

First of all, I'd have a hard time explaining it to the cashier who is giving me wierd looks. Second of all, don't those magazines cost something like $40 a pop?


Dan Gayle's picture

As to the "soft" part,

I thought I WAS making it soft!!!!


hrant's picture

Daniel, you're not married, are you.



Dan Gayle's picture

How often do I hear THAT question...

hrant's picture

> Bride-Zilla

Now that's funny.


blank's picture

I'll just toss some big gay advice your way. If this needs to be feminine, the photo needs to be of a man putting a ring onto a woman's hand, and a big rock needs to be visible. Or even better, get a picture of a bride. Picking a prettier typeface is a must–Garamond may be aesthetically pleasing, but it's still a workhorse, and looks like one. Get Zapfino Extra or House Holliday Script out for this one.

And yeah, flowers.

paul d hunt's picture

it's all very somber. i would say you need smiling faces and a typeface with a bit more flourish. if shooting for classy, i'd go for Splendid Script or ***shameless plug*** Allyson. or at least a serif with some well-placed swashes.

brampitoyo's picture


I wouldn't even go play on the white/black space. I'll just do a big, full bleed, full color, 'honest' photo.

Have a look. Got what I mean by 'honest'? I'll leave the further work to you, all I could think of at this hour is to put a ring in her finger to make the image work :)

Then I would use an ultra light curvy sans like Bryant . For extra sugary effect, use pink or baby blue (the thin weight, then, becomes optional).

mili's picture

Hmm, maybe more funeral than wedding...

As others have already said, it should be softer, swashes, italics... romantic, but not overtly sweet. And I think focusing on the bride is a good idea, they are the ones who decide on the wedding plans, after all!

timd's picture

Surely that should read
Seattle says…
I do


An Accident's picture

This has been hinted at in previous comments, but one issue may be that the image is headless ...
It is also a little ambiguous but I think a major problem is the lack of heads (the "smiling faces" that others have commented on).

Shouldn't there be a space between the ellipsis and the 'I'?

An Accident's picture

Aah, yes. I think Tim's comment is better:

Seattle says ...
I do.

Martin LAllier's picture

Garamond's italics would maybe do the trick...

pattyfab's picture

Dan, go to the d**m store and buy the magazines, they're not $40 a pop. Or at least look at them. Do you really care what the cashier thinks? It's not like you're buying hemorrhoid medication.

Be clever with the black/white space on another project.

As I said before I (personally) don't think you need to go all pink and swashy but it has to look romantic and inviting. If you don't want to show the bride's face I'd either go for flowers or more of a closeup of the ring. This photo looks like she's doing hand reflexology.

dezcom's picture

The photo looks al lwrong, it looks confusing to see that sea of fingers (looks a bit too sausage package).


Eric_West's picture

he he . Sausagefingers

Nick Shinn's picture

This sort of thing seems to work quite well these days.

pattyfab's picture

Reminds me of these

good for the *wallpaper set but maybe not for the girl who's been planning her wedding since she was 5.

Geo Ben's picture

well... it all depends.

if yer target audience is gonna be predominantly corporate drones, I would think this appropos. You might as well have a picture of them signing the license.

but, for regular folks... too design school rigid. What "guys" think borders on the irrelevant... women plan weddings, for the most part.

and too... consider the sexist stereotype imagery, unfortunately, unavoidable. A man slipping a ring on a womans finger... surrender ('cause he love her so). Reverse it and the woman is claiming her prize. Get rid of the ring thing.

In fact, get rid of the people altogether. Marriage is an abstract and is a lot more palatable in the abstract. Consider decorative materials including, yes, flowers. A combination of floral Script caps and italic. Disperse the 'color'. The image as a whole is bottom heavy.

Magazines, sure. (What? You dont have a library within a few miles?) But consider that other staple of wedding 'promotional material'; find the classiest wedding invitation and study THAT.

and avoid listening to advice from dedicated bachelors.


and btw, patty... i like the way you think.

pattyfab's picture

thanks Geo ;–) tell that to Lorenza!

Dan, there's also this lovely — and free — thing called the internet. Try typing "brides" or "weddings" into Google and see what you get.

Nick Shinn's picture

Sorry Patty, I forgot the frilly bit.

hrant's picture

Now that's funny.


cbohne's picture

I thought the same thing as an earlier suggestion, if you love the design as is but need femininity, the easiest and most effective change would be a rose duo-tone. Also, a Woman's hand taking the forefront is a great suggestion.



Design should never say, "Look at me." It should always say, "Look at this."

Solipsism's picture

^ Ha. Wedding kitsch.

Try Tobias Wong's Killer Diamond Ring.

Wong makes engagement rings that can kill you. The razor-sharp diamond point is set into the ring so it can't get knocked out when you smash someone's face in, and the edges of the ring are really soft so it won't cut into your skin during the pounding. It's romantic because it means, "Will you marry me?" but it also means, "I can't always be there to protect you so if some jerk won't stop bothering you, puncture him with this." The diamond sharp edge will also cut skin down to the bone (with a minimum 1 karat stone - but the larger the better). Or it may simply be used to tag hard surfaces, like cars and windows for S.O.S. messages or that last will and estimate when pen or paper (or lawyers) aren't conveniently around.

hrant's picture

> it also means, “I can’t always be there to protect you ...

I suspect it means "Break off the engagement and
you better go shopping for an eye-patch, bud".


dezcom's picture

Now that was a cut above the rest :-)


Linda Cunningham's picture

Well, as a hetero woman who's walked down (and back up) the aisle more than once, and to echo others, this is far too "businesslike," but that doesn't mean you need all the mushy-gushy Martha crap either.

Yes, some romance would be useful -- even after my experience, I'd like to think most people marry for love and not necessarily for the tax break -- but even making the picture four-colour instead of sepia would be a big improvement. And if there's only the budget for one colour, go for a one that is well saturated (a rich, dark blue/green/wine/rust).

Oh, yeah, and a typeface that's a little more casual. Doesn't have to be terribly swishy, y'know: even Optima would be an improvement!


lore's picture

thanks Geo ;–) tell that to Lorenza!

ohhhhhhh...Pat, I don't hate you, silly. I just wouldn't like to work for you (I don't respond well to torture)

and since I'm here: to me it's the creepy hand that comes out of nowhere and the woman that has got a big "I do" instead of a head.

hrant's picture

Yes, the "I Do" is supposed to replace the man's head.

BTW, I could go into this thread full swing, but there's something nobody's mentioning and I can't help it: women prefer to receive hand massages; and if they ever give one they certainly don't like the middle finger to be overly eager for its turn like that.


pattyfab's picture

"the woman that has got a big “I do” instead of a head."

I know so many women like that, unfortunately...

cuttlefish's picture

On a side note:

That Pacific Publishing Company logo resembles the "parental advisory, explicit lyrics" badge placed like it is.

Maybe its not something you can do something about as easily as the rest but it's worth thinking about.

lore's picture

That Pacific Publishing Company logo resembles the “parental advisory, explicit lyrics” badge placed like it is.
Brilliant side note: it's like the warning on ****. Warning: marriage is bad for your health.

The thing about flowers is that...even if you add flowers it could still remind a funeral. I would be careful what kind of flowers you pick.

Dan Gayle's picture

Don't get me going on our logo. The "Pacific" part is the exact same font as the "Publishing Company" part. Only stretched to be-jesus.

So I take it that the photo is a large part of the mess. (By the way, the original photo that I had chosen was of a large diamond ring on white. But NOOO, we did that last year they said. Think of something new they said... BAH!)

I chose that photo precisely because it wasn't a boring old wedding photo. I am certainly kicking myself now over the missing heads, but I thought the basic premise of a woman putting the ring onto the man's hands symbolized the empowered Seattle woman. And I also thought that the older-style dress would appeal to an older re-marrying generation.

I still don't understand the Garamond thing though. I know that it is a workhorse font, but I was under the impression that it was a little too "precious" for a lot of applications. Hence, "wedding"="precious".

Anyone care to elaborate on why Garamond doesn't fit in this situation?

hrant's picture

Empowered? That would be the woman getting
somebody else to put the ring on the man's hand.

Older? Yeah, women love being reminded of that.


dezcom's picture

The tough part with wedding stuff is that weddings are mostly about the brides mother wanting the "perfect wedding" for her daughter. The father may write the checks but mom, daughter, and her best girlfriends really do the wedding. Maybe that makes it tough to crack the traditional wedding stuff. Maybe their thought is just "my pretty daughter in her bride suit." The guy is just along for the ride. Talk to mothers-of-the bride types and you may get a real picture of what the audience wants. Maybe they just want it to look like a wedding?


hrant's picture

Not "a" wedding, but "better than what's-her-name's" wedding.


mad grab's picture

my crit.

i think Garamond doesn't look precious in this piece because the type is to loud (big). Its a planner not a poster. Tone it down a bit.

I think the imagery is not really working either. The angle is not really appealing and hard to tell whats going on. The ring on the finger says commitment. I dont think photoshop will change that.

Planning weddings is about the flowers, cakes, location (outdoor wedding scenery ect. Flowing dresses.

You can do it!

When I was in a wedding this summer and when I think about this project i picture rose pedals that were placed on the grass. The details of the brides wedding dress. The scenery since it was an outdoor wedding. Watching ducks drink from the near by stream. The botanical garden ect.

You get the point. Maybe having I do written in rose pedals.

Bleisetzer's picture

Just from my european(?) but surely german point of view:

I like the design and the fonts you chose.
And I like exactly a photo in this style.

But I understand why people (women) might say
"It's not feminine enough."

Its the hands.
The gyus hand is not masculine, the girls hand not feminine enough.
Giving the wedding ring to her husbands finger is a symbol for her to trust somebody until the end of her life. Its this two-thing, you know: man/woman. Be protected/protect. Get and Take.

So if you make this symbol stronger by taking more masculine (e.g. a workers hand) and feminine hands (long fingers, dezent fingernail lacquer), this would be more feminine, I guess. This is what the women want (shortly before their wedding).

Long, long time married ;-)

lore's picture

I wonder what Laura Mulvey would say about these speculations...

Bleisetzer's picture

Is it possible to ask her?

I do not want to speak negative about a photographer.
I want to say what I feel seeing the pic.
This is a workers couple's wedding.
It has a spirit of Teamsters union.
And it should have a spirit of a man/woman realationship of love.

This is what I feel as an ex-member of a union and as a married man.


Syndicate content Syndicate content