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What makes a great invitation design? In a nutshell: cleverness, uniqueness and originality. But there's more to great invitation design than coming up with a fresh theme. You have to make sure your artwork is prepared with the proper foundation so that your final printed invitations come out looking as great on paper as they do on your computer screen. To make sure you're primed for success, here are four invitation design essentials you should take note of.
Professional graphic designers know that it is imperative that design files are set up properly. This is especially true for multi-panel artwork such as invitations, which have four panels, which all must be lined up correctly on your file in order to guarantee a successful print job. Before you begin drawing your design in your favorite graphics program, download a free invitation design layout template . These templates make it easy to set up your files for printing so there are no last-second hold-ups - or worse, fatal flaws - that would jeopardize your schedule or budget. They come in the proper resolution (300 dpi), color format (CMYK) and size; and include convenient markers for your cutlines, bleed lines, safe area and fold/score lines. Best of all, they dramatically reduce set-up time - and time is money.
There are literally hundreds, even thousands, of different ways you can lay out your invitation copy and themed graphics. Originality is key to graphic designers; however, there are some conventions you probably want to follow if your invitations are geared toward a business event and sent via direct-mail marketing methods. Lead off with a large, attention-getting and captivating headline. Use your design skills to make the headline font, color, and other attributes match the tone of the message and event. Make sure you highlight the benefits of attending the event - these are crucial to creating desire and motivating potential attendees to register. Don't forget to include the date, time and location - and remember that the location can be a benefit in and of itself (conference in South Beach, anyone?). Finally, make sure your call to action (how to register) is clearly defined and easy to follow. Your graphics should be used as reinforcers, visual supporting evidence for why one should accept your invitation. Graphics, photos and other visuals can certainly play a major role in your invitation design, but you have to make sure they add influence to your message rather than dilute it.
Your invitation designs should be professionally printed to lend credibility to your message. For a sleek, glossy look go with 16-point gloss cover stock. If you prefer a rich, elegant sheen you can instead opt for 13-point matte cover stock, which is an eco-friendly option since it is recycled. For added elegance and prestige, consider advanced printing options such as foil stamping and die cutting for your invitations. These are great ways to capture attention right out of the mailbox and can increase response rate dramatically.