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How to Design A Gorgeous Wedding Invitation, Part I


January 20, 2013

from our book, TopTenZen: Principles of Page Layout
Reverse Engineer
One of the first tricks you learn in design school is to learn from the masters by reverse engineering—find an invitation that you love and then analyze it. How did they group the information? What and how many typefaces did they use, and so on. Notice I did not say COPY. It is important that you learn from this exercise, but put your own spin on it. The first thing you need to look for is the GRID. A grid is an invisible structure on which a designer composes all of the elements. There is nothing more intimidating than a big white page. A grid allows for organization, consistency of spacing, and much more. Page layout programs allow you to build a grid of lines on which to work that do not print and that you can turn on and off.

gridThe next step is to establish a HIERARCHY where you group information thoughtfully and lay it out in order of importance. In the case of a wedding invitation, the names of the bride and groom, the date, and/or the location are things that you may want to stand out. You can do this with size, color, a different typeface, etc. We go more in depth on this topic in Part 2 of this series.

hierarchyType Choice
If you are a type novice, it is best to stick to one or two typefaces at the most. If you choose two like our sample, you want to choose typefaces that have strong contrast. Our invitation uses one script, BICKHAM and one serif,* FILOSOFIA. Here are a few more harmonious combinations. See how each one evokes a different personality and can set the tone of your wedding.
*A serif is a fine line that finishes off the strokes of a letter.  

type_choice1. Mandevilla & Hoefler Text, 2. Poem Script & Bodoni, 3. Aphrodite Pro & Adobe Caslon

personalMaking It Personal
This couple shares an Armenian heritage, so we created our own version of a monogram based on ornaments and calligraphy we found in old, Armenian manuscripts. We drew a script ”L” from the Armenian alphabet, cloned and reflected it, and then overlapped the two as both the bride and groom’s names begin with this letter. This mark worked beautifully with the Bickham script. While interviewing the couple, we were taken with the gorgeous, graphic art they had hung on their walls. Turns out, the bride’s father had created it. We knew that it would add that personal touch to their wedding and that it would make the perfect background for their elegant invitations and decor.

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