McTaggart was celebrating Cinco de Mayo in 1994 at Chevy’s in Irvine with friends and struck up a conversation with someone who owned a printing business. His company was installing southern California’s first Indigo press, an Israeli-developed technology that ushered in the digital color printing revolution.
At the time, Kristy was employed by Frontline Records as a music packaging designer. She described the position as “a Photoshop jockey” working with photography of recording artists that would appear on CD covers and posters. Musicians are not models, McTaggart explained, but their images, plastered all over their marketing materials, need to make them look like stars.
As soon as she heard about the Indigo, she knew a new era in print design had begun. If color printing was now within the reach of every project, large and small, why couldn’t she employ the skills she developed adding effects to recording artist photos to make invitations featuring tricked-out pictures of the honorees?
One of the first beneficiaries of the new technology was Kristy’s accountant, Larry Geselowitz, and his family. The Geselowitz son, Gavin, was preparing to celebrate his Bar Mitzvah at Temple Bat Yahm, and Kristy offered to create the invitations (“Larry did my taxes in trade,” Kristy recalled.) Gavin was into BMX biking, and his invitation reflected an X-Games kind of vibe. Artiface Custom Invitations was launched.
Fast-forward to 2011: Artiface is currently housed in a showroom at Stonemill Design Center in Costa Mesa, with manufacturing space in the back, and Kristy has two employees. The invitations are no longer photo-centered, but employ a wide range of styles from clever and fun to elaborate and elegant. The Bar /Bat Mitzvah business is booming, she said, and recently she welcomed Megan Lin to her staff as showroom manager. Megan, educated at the University of Haifa, speaks and writes fluent Hebrew. “She is also extremely creative and active in the community,” Kristy added.
In the years since Gavin’s Bar Mitzvah, Artiface has designed and created invitations for many high-profile families, businesses and organizations, among them annual benefits for Tarbut V’Torah, Congregation B’nai Israel and Shir Ha’Ma-alot, the Bat Mitzvah of Henry and Susan Samueli’s daughter Erin, fundraisers for South Coast Repertory, the JCC, Orangewood’s 44 Women for Children and Irvine Public Schools Foundation. Artiface has also supplied corporate invitations and event materials for PepsiCo, Jackson DeMarco Tidus & Peckenpaugh, Korn Ferry and Taco Bell, to name a few.
Artiface specializes in custom work, which appeals to party-givers with a specific theme, colors or format in mind. The company follows through with design and printing of items for the day of the event: program books, place cards, table numbers and signage, banners, thank you cards and favors.
“It’s event branding,” McTaggart explained. “Everything looks coordinated, and we even make our files available to other types of vendors working the event, such as the videographer and décor company, to keep the look.”
Artiface additionally caters to do-it-yourselfers looking for supplies to create their own invitations. Papers, envelopes, and embellishments are available for bulk order.
“We are also very helpful,” Kristy added. “We love parties!”
The Artiface Stonemill Design Center showroom at 2915 Red Hill Ave, Suite C107, in Costa Mesa, is open to the public Tuesdays to Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointments are recommended. Call Artiface at (714) 751-7278 or visit the website at www.Artiface.com.