I have just released seven new ketubah designs for my store Modern Ketubah. I usually try to create one or two new designs each winter, but this year, I got inspired. I’m pretty happy with the way these turned out. I created some of these new ketubahs from my recent photographs (like Horizon and Wildflower, shown below). But a few are from some old gems I rediscovered. I find that creating new ketubah designs gives me a chance to spend some quality time digging through my archives, getting reacquainted with old work, looking for just the right photograph.
It’s a challenge to integrate text into a photographic-based design. When done right, it looks simple and natural, but it is very easy to mess up. You need to get the right balance between the visual weight of the words and the subject of the photograph so that they work together instead of clashing. Not every photograph works well in a text-based design. The photograph needs to have a clear visual focus, have a subject that is appropriate for a wedding (so some of my more moody photos are out), and have enough neutral space to be able to “hold” the text well. This is especially tricky with a ketubah, where you are working with two languages (English and Hebrew) that use completely different alphabets. The design needs to be flexible to hold both the smaller modern ketubah texts, and the longer, Hebrew-intensive, traditional texts. Sorting them all together is like assembling a tricky puzzle. I got my start doing this kind of design 18 years ago, when I worked for a design shop in Tokyo… and I gotta say, I still love it. (What’s a ketubah, you ask? Read this.)