Invitation Design Basics




Here’s a little design advice for anyone who is interested in dabbling into Invitation design. I was once a dabbler of the art myself. It is now one of my primary focuses in the realm of design. Last year, I started “Art of Love Design”, my wedding stationery design business. Art of Love Design tailors to brides who would like wedding invitations and coordinating stationery items that match the style and tone of their wedding at price points that are easy on the wallet. Art of Love Design is a sister entity to my primary business, Kinetic Visions, in which I offer graphic design and portrait photography services.

Invitation design helps to establish the tone of an event, creates excitement, and anticipation. It creates the “Hype”, and makes the event “official”. For this reason, it is important to collect information about the event’s theme, style, and tone either via an in-person consultation or an online questionnaire form. The invitation design should accurately reflect what guests should expect of an event.

Here are 10 tips to consider when designing an Invitation.

1. Legible Typefaces

Invitations are really fun to create. The possibilities are endless with cute graphics and stylish fonts. However, you must keep in mind that this cute little card is meant to be functional, and serves the purpose of providing information. The major key is to create a design that is both stylish and functional which can be established through using typefaces that are easy to read. Save the swirly, scripts for text that will be displayed relatively large on the card. Use legible sans serif or serif typefaces for the important details, such as the date, time, and location. This rule can be broken if done correctly. If you are unsure of your typeface judgment at the moment, just stick to this rule.

2. Get to the POINT.

Invitations shouldn’t be too wordy. Include a short, and sweet, line that establishes that they are holding an invitation to a particular event, the honoree and/or host of the event, date, time, and location. If there is a preferred dress code, include that in the shortest line of text possible. You don’t want a cluttered invitation. Draw them in and give them the good stuff.

Consider this rule also… More Graphic Imagery, Less Text or Less Graphic Imagery, More Text 

3. Formal vs Informal Wording

One of the questions that I make sure to ask my clients is about the tone of the event. The tone will either be formal or casual. Even with weddings, some brides prefer a more fancy, formal tone, while others want to set a casual tone for their special day. With formal invitations, the date and time are spelled out, while informal invitations include the numerical format of the date and time.

Examples of Formal vs. Informal Wording

 Formal Wording 

Mr. and Mrs. John L. Smith

request the pleasure of your presence

at the marriage of their daughter

Heather Marie


Michael Francis Jacobson

Saturday, the seventeenth of May

two thousand and nineteen

At six o’clock in the evening

Plaza Hotel

New York, New York

Reception to follow

Informal Wording

John and Eliza Smith

invite you to share in their joy at the marriage of their daughter

Heather Marie

to Michael Francis Jacobson

Saturday, May 17, 2019

at 4:30 in the afternoon

View more Wedding Invitation Wording Samples here.

4. Match the Style of the Invite to the Style of the Event

One of the joy of planning events is the creativity that is allowed when decorating with a particular theme. As an invitation designer, you want to incorporate the theme of the event into the invitation design. There are several party and wedding themes out there. Here are just a few.


Photo Credit:


Photo Credit: JuneBug Weddings


Photo Credit:




Art Deco



Photo Credit:

 5. Whitespace Matters

Design clutter-free. Allow empty space in between lines of text and graphics. A common misconception is that every piece of the document should be filled. It is very important to leave breathing room for the eyes of your viewer.

6. Alignment

Properly aligning your invitation can create a clean, aesthetically pleasing invitation. Consider aligning your text to either the left or right margin to create nice clean lines. Centering text works when done well. Play around with alignment until you figure out which alignment complements your graphic elements.

7. Limit yourself to 2 different Typefaces

Of course there are exceptions for this rule, but if you are just starting out with design I recommend only using 2 different typefaces. I like to mix contrasting typefaces to create visual interest and place emphasis on certain words. Choose typefaces that match the style and tone of the event. I’m going to write a separate blog on pairing typefaces and the different kinds of typefaces, so I won’t go too much in depth here. Here’s one example

Cursive Script + Serif


8. Choose a color palette and stick with it

For wedding invitations, I limit myself to a maximum of 3 colors. With baby shower or casual party invitations, that number can increase slightly. I also make sure the colors I use contrast well, so the text is legible.

9. CMYK 

Since the final output of the design will be print, make sure to use CMYK colors. CMYK is the standard color profile for printing. Your printer uses these Cyan (C), Magenta (M), Yellow (Y), and Black (K) to print colored images. The color profile for images that are intended for web display are is RGB, which stands for Red, Green, and Blue. Never use the RGB color profile for printed pieces, such as invitations. If you use RGB for invitations, the colors will not print as the colors viewed on your computer screen.


10. Bleed and Trim Guides

When designing any print piece, such as an invitation, make sure to set your bleed and trim guides before you begin creating. If you are uploading your design to an online print source, search for their guidelines for the invitation size you are going to create. Set your document to the include the appropriate bleeds. The bleed area is portion of the artwork that is intended to be cut off. Your background should extend to the bleed line. This prevents any unwanted white edges on your invitation. The trim line is the size of the final piece. Make sure to create your own trim line, so that you can place all of your text and graphics that you don’t want to be trimmed out within that area. This is extremely important. I can only imagine receiving 100 printed invitations that have the couple’s names cut at the edges or a portion of the location missing.


Are there any tips you would like to add? Have any questions on this topic? Also, what’s your favorite wedding theme?

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