Design 101: Invitation Styling

Let me preface this by saying, I am not a graphic designer. I’m a design enthusiast who likes to finagle with Photoshop and pin design-related things on Pinterest.

The Inception

Last weekend, I wrote about my best friend’s wedding, but what I didn’t include in this story is how I became the person who designed their wedding invitation.

On a random day, Linlin sent me photos of their sample invitations created by their printer and asked me to look and see what I think. Needless to say, I wasn’t a fan of the way the samples were made.  I showed it to my co-worker, who’s a professional graphic designer, and he felt the same way.

Linlin thought the same way, so she asked my opinion on how to make it better. At first, I told her I’d ask my co-worker to create a mock up. With a little cajoling and bribing, I managed to convince my co-worker to do it. But for whatever reason, the responsibility ultimately landed on my plate. I can’t remember why, but it did.

So, with the help of caffeine, music, and Viber, I started playing with Photoshop’s design features.

The Brainstorm

Linlin and Nino wanted to incorporate a sun to signify their adventures together. In talking this out with my coworker, he came up with a sun in shape of a heart, which Linlin and Nino liked.

The wedding didn’t have a set theme, so I tried my best to get bits and pieces from the invitation samples and pictures Linlin sent me. All this while incorporating the major design element – the heart/sun – into the invitation.

The Inspiration (c/o)

I went through a sleepless night and several renditions and came up with the final one that went to press:

To end this post, let me share some tips as a graphic design beginner:

1. Learn the basics of typography

I shotgun my way through this aspect by looking at several Pinterest samples of what fonts would look good together on a wedding invitation. I sent Linlin several samples and I went with what she liked.

In retrospect, I should’ve studied and applied the following typography principles: kerning, tracking, leading.

2. Layout..Layout..Layout

This post explains the importance of a good layout. Needless to say, this is another important design aspect that I didn’t look into. I just followed what my eyes thought looked good at 1 in the morning and thankfully, Linlin and Nino agreed with me.

3. Think of the final output

I started to work on a 4×4 print size, when the printer said it should be done on a 6×6. You can imagine how much fun it was bringing everything I’ve done to scale.

4. Try not to work for 24 hours

I had to work on it for an inordinate and ungodly amount of time (thankfully it was the weekend) since I had to communicate with Linlin, who was 12 hours ahead of New York time. However, no matter what the odds are, it’s best to leave design for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Another tip somewhat related to this – never work on it when you’ve had two glasses of wine (or any type of alcohol for that matter). Otherwise you’ll end up with something like this:

LinlinNinoWedding

Horrible right? 

5. Tutorials are your best friend 

Most of the tutorials I used were about removing backgrounds and manipulating shapes. Here are some of the links:

The Magic Wand Tool
Removing Backgrounds with the Magic Wand Tool
Quick and Easy Way to Remove Backgrounds with Photoshop
Editing Shapes with Photoshop

6. Shortcuts are also your best friend

There are a million and one guides out there when you search for “Photoshop shortcuts” on Google. Use them to your advantage because they will save you a ton of time.

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