You’ve set the date, found the venue, hired the caterer, and chosen the theme. Now you just need people to show up! Whether you’re creating a digital invitation to send in an email, or a print design for the mail, this is a pretty crucial part of the event planning process. It can also be fun! You get to think about color palettes, themes, typography, imagery, event details, and more to distill your event into a single design. With careful planning and attention to detail, you can learn how to make your own invitations without any design knowledge.

Read on to discover 5 professional tips to make unforgettable custom invitations, cards, and save the dates for any occasion.


1. Begin With Your Card Dimensions

Depending on the type of event you’re designing for and its context, your card dimensions may vary. Listed are some variations of invitation cards, ranging from small and square to thin and oblong.

Popular card dimensions

Here are some popular dimensions for cards and invitations:

  • 3.5 x 5 inches (RSVP card)
  • 5.25 x 5.25 inches (square invitation)
  • 4.25 x 5.5 inches (response card)
  • 4.5 x 6.25 inches (response card)
  • 5 x 7 inches (standard invitation)
  • 5.5 x 7.5 inches (large invitation)
  • 6.5 x 8.75 inches (large invitation)
  • 4 x 9.25 inches (thin invitation)

2. Start Designing Early

Every well thought out invitation takes some time to design, so avoid a rushed timeline by planning out your invitation designs early. It’s important to give yourself time to think about the layout, typography, illustration, and color schemes involved in your invitation.

Woman designing invitation on laptop3. Understand Color Theory

Color theory is one of the most important aspects of a design, guiding how different colors pair together to create a specific tone or emotion in a composition. Don’t apply colors willy-nilly – your design will look much better if you’re intentional about color.

Read in-depth guide to color theory, color psychology, and color meaning, along with some downloadable color palettes to inspire your next invitation.

Abstract swirls of paint color

4. Find Your Visual Style

Most invitations fall within or take from distinct visual styles. These styles affect the overall appearance of the card, including its color scheme, illustrations, and typography. Finding the right style for your invitation may be overwhelming at first, since there are a lot of directions you can go in. Do some extensive research to help you narrow down which styles work best for your event.

Mood board shows watercolor style for invitation

A mood board helps you compile those inspirational examples of illustration styles, typography, and color schemes in one place. You can also browse through sites such as Pinterest to find existing invitation styles or search through Shutterstock’s collection of invitation templates.

5. Experiment With Templates

Beginning with a predesigned invitation template is a quick way to jumpstart your design journey. They’re especially helpful when you’re not as accustomed to designing invites, or if you’re in a big rush. Shutterstock features endless vector invitation templates, from wedding to holiday party invites, that can be easily edited and customized in Adobe Illustrator. Or, you can make it even easier on yourself and use a predesigned template in Shutterstock Editor, where you can quickly personalize it within the app.

Party invitation templates

You’ll notice many templates feature sample text (“Lorem Ipsum”) and a color palette to show you how typography and color comes together within the design. In a template, most of the design and illustration work is completed; you just need to change out the text and color schemes to make the invitation more personal.

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