Three Design Lessons Charleston’s Tara Guérard Taught Me Today

April 14, 2015 | By | Comments (0)

By travel editor Tracey Minkin

Although my main job at Coastal Living is to seek out beautiful travel stories from around the world for our readers, I enjoy the added benefit of getting to feature designers from time to time. In our Double Take feature this month that compares the hot coastal towns of Charleston, SC, and Portland, ME, I named entertaining guru, interior designer and letterpress creator Tara Guérard the top tastemaker in Charleston. Now I’m hooked on her blog and thought I’d share three design hacks I’ve gathered from her gorgeously curated world.

One: White still rules.


Photo courtesy Tara Guérard

Photo courtesy Tara Guérard


I know I get intoxicated with big, bold colors (don’t we all?), but this wedding placesetting reminds me of the power of an all-white setting, and how that one slender sprig of nature’s own green paired with a subtle natural fabric makes those whites seem all the more distinctive and powerful.

Two: Break the grid.


Photo: Liz Banfield

Photo: Liz Banfield


I’ve been a letterpress fan all my life, and yet, I always think about objects begin created in those standard formats of squares and rectangles. In other words, I’ve just let the typography and color do the talking. But these elegant ceremony cards take my breath away with their shape. Are they fans? (It’s a Georgia wedding in June, so perhaps.) But it matters not. My takeaway here is that the shape of a printed piece can elevate an entire endeavor.

Three: Go big.


Photo courtesy Tara Guérard

Photo courtesy Tara Guérard


One of my best girlfriends is a gift tag connoisseur, and I can’t wait to lay these on her. Guérard calls them Surcie Tags (surcie is a local word in Charleston that translates into an unexpected gift or treat), and I love how oversized they are at 5″x5″. It’s a reminder to me that a big statement can be so much fun while remaining elegant. (These lovelies are for sale, here.)

 (Want to have a cocktail with me in Charleston? Homes Editor Ellen McGauley and I will be there May 1-3 for the Charleston Insiders’ Weekend and we’re co-hosting cocktails with our friends at Travel + Leisure at Edmund’s Oast on Saturday, May 2. Go here to learn more.)



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