Our Pinterest site, with its many, frequently updated boards, was meant from the start to serve as a library of inspiration and ideas for our clients and others. And we’ve been keeping an eye on which pins really grab the attention of our followers and viewers. Surprise! For all the gorgeous eye candy, the most frequently liked and saved pin in the last few months has been an image of a modern industrial style print invitation.
So we decided to use the first post of our PINNED! series to address the frequently raised question of whether print invitations are still important in the age of all things digital. In our experience, the answer is unequivocally YES. And more so than ever before. Technology has made custom graphics, invitations, and print collateral far more accessible and affordable, and fostered ever greater creativity and personalization.
The invitation is like a window into an event, the first glimpse of what’s in store. It introduces the event, who is being honored, and what is being celebrated; expresses the style of the sender(s); and sets the tone for all that follows. And the care that goes into the selection or design of an invitation translates very much into a recipient’s feeling that they are being included in something very special.
The invitation design and selection process also helps to clarify and sharpen the aesthetic vision for an event from the very start. It’s an important first step in engaging our clients and honing in on their personal style and vision. And it’s exciting for clients to see that style and vision expressed so vividly through the invitation. This is true whether going completely custom or simply adapting an existing design – your invitation will indeed be a teaser of what is to come on event day.
Often we hear, “but don’t people just rip open the envelope and throw out the contents after they’ve RSVPed and made note of the event date, time, and details?” The answer to that is quite simply, no. In fact, the printed invitation sent via snail mail is a wonderfully appreciated personal touch. Recipients often display invitations they love on a bulletin board, countertop, or desk, and save them for months and years to come. Most do take care in opening these special tokens of celebration, knowing that nowadays, much thought and effort has likely gone into the design and construction of a beautiful invitation.
Custom invitations used to be affordable to relatively few. But as in so many other areas, the online marketplace for creators and buyers of custom print graphics and material has exploded with ingenuity and craftsmanship. Etsy opened the door wide to anyone seeking out artists and print designers for the purpose of creating unique and beautifully rendered invitations and print material. And it wasn’t long before traditional invitation companies similarly began offering semi and completely custom invitation suites and event collateral.
So go ahead and peruse our Pinterest boards for inspiration. Search online for invitations that align with your style or theme. Find an artist or vendor whose work you just LOVE. And keep the following tips in mind as you go through the search, selection, and production process.
Start the process early, at least six to eight months in advance of your event date. It takes time to custom design or even just adapt an existing invitation. Time crunches unfortunately tend to lead to design shortcuts, printing errors, and higher costs.
Get referrals and read the reviews. Things always look great on the screen, but it’s important to know that a company or artist really can produce what you see, and that you’ll get great customer service throughout the process.
Pay close attention to a vendor’s policies with respect to proofing, changes, timing, and shipping. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and request clarification wherever needed.
Always request a physical sample of any design you are interested in, as well as paper swatches. We can’t stress enough the importance of seeing the real thing and touching and feeling real paper. You’ll want to see first-hand both design details and print quality. And paper color, weight, and texture vary greatly.
Proofread all text carefully. Ask the vendor for a checklist. Make sure that the day and date are correct. Check spelling and venue details carefully. Use tricks of the trade like reading backwards. Ask a friend or family member to review every word. It’s just too easy to miss something when you’ve read it time and again.
And don’t forget that this process should be fun! It’s a fantastic way to express your style and vision for your special occasion.