Last August, I posted some photos of Corner’s and my wedding invitations. Prior to this project, I had designed very few items that were meant to be printed, much less using the letterpress method (I am primarily a web designer, after all). Since then, several friends have asked me for advice with their own wedding invitations, so I thought I’d write a post about what I learned during my own invitation design process.
A few recommendations:
Consult an expert.
I asked my coworker Winnie for help; she designs all the printed materials for our office and she was quick to help me interpret the instructions I received from the printer for preparing my files. If you know a print-savvy person who can help you with this, ask for their assistance upfront and you could save yourself some headaches later on. Since I usually design for web, prepping my files was a little different than normal, but nothing too complicated (though I’m STILL not sure I completely understand bleed…sigh).
Select two versatile fonts.
This is fairly basic design practice, but I recommend selecting two fonts for your invitations (and other wedding paper goods): one that is decorative, and one that will be used for body text. An elegant script font, for example, won’t hold up at smaller font sizes, so it’s best to choose one ”pretty” font and an additional font that is more versatile and can be used wherever you need smaller text.
Research your paper sizes ahead of time.
Think carefully about what size you would like your printed goods to be. Size usually does affect the printing price. Also keep in mind that larger (or square-shaped) items may require additional postage. I also learned that colored envelopes are not available in all sizes, so if you pick a less traditional size for your invites, be prepared to be stuck with white or ivory envelopes!
Ask for an ink color chart in advance.
One of the first thing I did as part of the wedding planning process was select colors. I went so far as to select specific Pantone numbers. I had chosen 3 Pantone colors that I used for our Save the Date postcards and thought that since I’d chosen Pantone colors, my chosen letterpress printer would have those colors on hand. This was not the case. I ended up selecting a color from their ink color chart that was similar, but it wasn’t an exact match.
Ask for feedback.
Right before I sent my files over to the printer, I asked a few friends and family members for feedback. They ended up making suggestions that resulted in a few small last-minute tweaks that really helped me improve the various printed goods.
For those of you who have designed your own paper goods: what did you learn from the process? Do you have any tips or tricks?