Thursday, October 16, 2008

Making the Invite: Intro & VistaPrint

Okey-dokey, here begins my invitation-making saga! This series will include 5 posts about: using VistaPrint; dry embossing; making a pocketfolder; making a belly band; and putting it all together (that last post will probably have something about the inserts). I'll try to start each post with a list of the needed supplies and an approximate cost. I'll also include where I got mine, but please keep in mind that almost everything I am using is available at many different stores and websites. If you have any questions about how or why I did anything, please ask! If you're a NorCal Knottie, please leave your Knot name because I'll most likely get back to you on the message boards--or, of course you could just page me there instead of leaving a comment here. Also, as you can probably already tell, I "talk" a lot. So I apologize up front if these posts end up long and confusing! Let's begin, shall we?

Supplies: computer with internets, and Adobe Photoshop Elements ($79.99 at Costco)

I designed my invitations myself using Adobe Photoshop Elements, which doesn't have all the features of the full Photoshop, but it suits my needs just fine and it's much more affordable. I spent hours browsing free font websites to find what I liked; there's a lot out there, you just have to take the time to look! I also browsed free stock art websites to find graphics I liked for my invitations because I sure as heck couldn't make one myself. [Note: just type "free stock art" into your search engine and a bunch of sites will come up.] I found a ton of really great ones, but ultimately decided on a fairly simple flower graphic. More about that in the next post. Anyway, for those of you who don't want or don't have the time to design your own invites, VistaPrint has some cute ones pre-made, and there are lots of super-talented people on Etsy who will create an invite for you, then sell you the graphic to do with as you please.

Once you have your invitation ready, go to VistaPrint. They charge a one-time $4.99 fee to upload each picture or graphic. For example, you can upload your completed invitation for $4.99, and continue to use it for ever without any additional fees. Then if you upload a file for, say, your RSVP, that's an additional $4.99. Am I making sense? Now, the greatest thing about VistaPrint is that they are constantly having a sale where they offer, for example, 10 free invitations. Usually it works out to about $10 off your order if you get more than the given free amount. Less often, they also have free shipping or half-price upload fees. So if you've got a lot of time before you actually need your invitations, you can wait for the best sales and really take advantage of them. [Get on their e-mail list to be notified of sales--but be warned, they e-mail a LOT.]

An important thing to remember with VistaPrint is that their advertised invitation size is not the real invitation size. For example, their 6x9 invitations actually measure 5.47" x 8.5". So if you're creating a design using Photoshop (or whatever other program), remember to make your canvas size the true size, not the advertised size!

To find out the actual dimensions of the product you are interested in, from the main menu select "Product Details," then "Artwork Specifications." This will bring up a page listing all the available products; click the one you are interested in and this page will come up: [I realize these are too small to actually do you any good, but I like having pictures in my posts.]

This shows the product's full bleed size, which is the full printing size for your document. This is the size you want to make your canvas when you are creating your invite. The page also shows the product's trim size, which is the size it will be cut down to, and what you will actually receive. So make sure any writing and graphics you don't want to have cut are within the trim size. This page also lists the ideal image resolution, and has a link for you to see which file formats you can upload.

Once you've got your invitation ready it's pretty easy; upload your image and order!

I am by no means a Photoshop expert, so I am not even going to try and explain how I made my invitations. For me, it was a lot of messing around and trial and error until I got the look I wanted. If you're curious, leave me a message, and I will try to explain how to do it, but I would highly recommend asking someone else who is much more Photoshop-savvy :)

Up next: Dry Embossing!

No comments: