Planning an event for a family or loved one is an extraordinary privilege. One of the most important things to prepare for an event is getting out invitations in time with the appropriate information. If you have or are interested in using Adobe Photoshop but are a little intimidated, I am going to give you a few tips, tricks, and simple instructions on creating a beautiful and unique invitation.
First, instead of buying an invitation kit that costs anywhere between $15.00 and $50.00, save your final design to a thumb drive and take it to a local printer. They will have individual sheets of cardstock paper that can be cut down to the size we will be creating. I will show you how to impose your design to save on print costs.
Opening a New Canvas
Once you have the software open, you will go to the top left corner and select File. In the drop-down menu click on New. This will open a box that gives you the opportunity to name your file and select the size you want. I am going to be creating an invitation for my sister's baby shower so I am going to name my project "Babyshower_Invite".
Since we will be imposing (putting our design multiple to a page) we can start with selecting the size 8.5 x 5.5 to make sure it fits perfectly two to a page.
- In the Width box type in 5.5 and in Height type in 8.5.
- I am going to have these printed so I want my resolution to be at 300 pixels/inch and the color mode to be RGB.
- I want my Background Contents to be transparent because I am going to create a custom background color or image for my invitation.
- Once this information is complete I will hit OK. (For creating an electronic invitation, you will want the resolution to be at 72 pixels/inch. You can always save it at 300 pixels/inch for the printer, then go back and change the resolution later to post online as well.).
Creating a Background
Now that I have my canvas open it's time to get creative! My sister is going to have a little boy and she wants a monkey theme. So the first thing I want to do is pick a background color. On the left-hand side click on the icon of the paint bucket. Then go down almost to the bottom of your tools list and click on the larger black box and a Color Picker (Foreground Color) window will pop up.
You can use the little arrows on the color strip to find your desired shade and then click anywhere on the larger color box to find that desired color. Once you have found it click OK, put your paint bucket icon in your transparent canvas, click again and your color will fill the area.
Placing an image
Now that I have my background color I want to put an image onto my invitation. I want to give off the impression of fun, happiness, and of course, the fact that it is a baby shower. It is monkey-themed so I simply went to google and found a free vector clipart image.
Note: You do not want to use a copyrighted image. Make sure it is free. If you feel you will be doing this often, you can sign up on a stock image site where you can purchase royalty free stock images.
I found the picture I want to use and saved it to my desktop. Now all I have to do is go to File, Open, and find my image from the desktop and click open. It will open in a different window, but all you have to do is go to your tools list on the left, click on the arrow known as the move tool at the very top, then click on your image and drag it over to your canvas.
Advanced tip: I do not want the white background on my monkey image to show up on my background color so I am going to click on the eraser icon in my tools list, right-click to open my options, and chose magic eraser. Then once I click in all the white area behind my image it will magically disappear.
The square around my image allows me to re-size it by grabbing the smaller squares and moving them to the location of my choice. I would like for him to be at the top so I'm simply going to make sure my move tool is still selected, click inside the image and drag it to the top. Then grab my squares to re-size it to my liking.
FYI, most printing machines do not print all the way to the edge, known as a full bleed, so you will need to leave a border margin of 1/4 of an inch on each side.
Moving Your Layers
You will see on the right-hand side what is called a palette. To eliminate beginners' confusion, just select your layers palette, and each time you want to move something around click on the layer you wish to arrange and then click on the arrow (your move tool) from your tools list on the left.
It is very imperative that you name your layers so you won't get confused later on which layer is what. Double click where it says the layer number and type in what it is. If you have a lot of layers it can get frustrating!
I am now ready to incorporate the most important part of the invitation and that is the text information. I want to add who, why, what, when, where and any additional information I find would be useful to the guest. By going again to my tools list, I'm going to click on the T then click on my canvas where I think the wording should start.
I like to get creative with my wording and make it rhyme when it comes to a fun and fairly informal event. The first thing I want them to see on this specific invitation is the date because I want them to remember it! Then I will incorporate what it is and who it is for.
Finding a font is always fun. I want it to be playful, so once I have something typed, I can go to the top where the font name is, click return, and once it is highlighted I can use the up and down arrows on my keyboard to preview how the font will look. You can also change the color by clicking the colored box on the top. I have selected Monotype Corsiva for the "introduction" of the invitation in burnt orange color. Now I am going to type the name of the person we are honoring. Generally in almost every invitation, the name of the guest of honor is bigger than the informative text and in a different font. So I am going to use the Curlz font in a blue color because she is having a baby boy!
I will then use an easier-to-read font for the "guts" of the invitation and add where it is, who it is being hosted by, an RSVP and contact number, and where she is registered.
Saving Your Final Design
Once you are confident you're invitation is just how you like it, save it as a .jpeg image. Then open a new file as you did in the beginning, make the size 11 x 8.5. Then open your saved .jpeg image, drag it onto your new sized canvas. Click on this layer in your layers palette and double click. Choose the option of "Duplicate layer". Then grab the layer copy, drag it over to the other side, and save! It's that simple.
The best thing to do is save it to a thumb drive to leave with the printer.
The best format to save your file for the printer is a .pdf. This way your file will not reformat when it is exchanged from one computer to another.
However; It is always a good idea to save a copy of the .psd file as well in case you or the printer need to make any sudden changes.
I highly recommend going to a local printer, but an Office Depot, Office Max, or FedEx Kinko's should also have a Design and Print area available.
Knowing Your Options and Costs
Some very, very resourceful information for you to remember when you go to get your invitations printed is how much you NEED to pay. I need a total of 30 printed.
- When you first get there you want to see your paper options. Card stock is most ideal. If they have individual sheets available, you will only need 15. Choose a weight of 110 for optimum stability in the mail. The price per card stock sheet is approximately $.07. I am going to choose a green card stock so when it is printed it will look as if there is a 1/4 inch border!
- Generally, the cost for color printing is $.50 per 8.5 x 11 sheet. Since I imposed my design, I can go from spending $15.00 in printing to only $7.50.
- You can always make the decision whether you want to invest in a cutter yourself or have the print shop cut it for you. The cost of cutting is around $.75 per 250 sheets.
- Ask the print location if they sell individual envelopes. If not, a box of 50 envelopes will generally cost around $3.00 for the size I need.
- Always, always, always ask to see and approve a proof of your printed design before it is completed.
Once you approve it, and they are printed you have only spent a little bit of your time and around 15 bucks on customized invitations!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Kristina on April 30, 2013:
For some reason I am following your directions on inserting clip art and I am not able to resize the image. A box with smaller boxes is not showing up around the image I am placing. Can you help please?
Brian Rock from New Jersey on March 27, 2013:
Nice tutorial. I personally like using InDesign for design projects like this, but Photoshop works, too. But I definitely agree that taking a design directly to a printer can help save you some money.
Saim from California on March 18, 2013:
Really informative hub. you guide very well step by step. vote for the useful.
bridget on January 20, 2013:
will it able to print on 4x6 photo sheets?
Garifalia on July 30, 2012:
Unfortunately, for graphic designers but fortunately for those of us who love being creative, your article is very explicit, interesting and is an all around professional job well done.
All the best to you.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on June 08, 2011:
Very good directions with visuals, Lady MJ! I don't use Photoshop, but my son is learning to use it. This should be helpful to him. Thanks! JAYE
Lady MJ (author) on April 05, 2011:
Thank you very much. :)
Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on April 04, 2011:
What a fantastic step-by-step guide. Well done, Lady MJ! Voted up and useful :D