So you’ve got a big event coming up: a birthday party, baby shower, or maybe even your wedding. You’ve got to get your hands on invitations, and you want to make sure they’re fully customised invitations, but you don’t want to a hire a designer directly. That leaves you frantically googling ‘good invitation maker online’ and scrolling through hundreds of results of various quality, with no real idea what you’re looking for. Where to begin?! We can help.
The slightly more technical term for an ‘invitation maker’ is ‘invitation design tool’, and it’s the interface you use to create your own invites. These days such tools are usually found online, but an invitation design app, software program or other tool would be considered the same thing. Even online, invitation creation tools come in a number of forms, which leaves you with some decision-making about what’s right for you. What should you factor in?
Paid or free?
To put it simply, decide what you want, and how much you are willing and able to pay for it. Many invitation makers are free to use, while others are offered as part of complete packages that cost money. Some sites allow you to experiment with their invite maker for free but require you to purchase the final product. Know what you want as a final product: If you’re looking to get a ready-to-send, printed invitation set at the end of things, be sure to set your budget accordingly. You will either have to purchase these from the company or print them off yourself, and both of these choices cost money. If, on the other hand, you are just looking for a template you can use in an email, your budget can be smaller, and a free invitation template maker would probably be the best option for you.
Keep in mind that completely free online tools tend to be more difficult to use and usually don’t come with things like customer support. There are exceptions, but be prepared to look around before you begin.
Template or from scratch?
Some invitation creation tools give you an existing design to work with, allowing you to choose your colour palette, remove some design elements, and input your own details on an existing design. Other sites are more general design tools that can be used to create your own work from scratch. Sites that provide you with a template may have fewer customisable options, but sites that allow you to customise absolutely everything right off the bat tend to be slower and more confusing to use.
Print with the invitation maker or save to print yourself?
Consider whether you want to print your invitations yourself or have the invitation company print them for you. Some invitation makers require you to print the finished product with their company, while others allow you to download the finished file and print it yourself. Of course, if you’re just planning to download the template and send it out via email, you don’t need to worry about this part at all. If that’s the case, just make sure that downloading in your required format is available.
Printing your invites DIY can be a big investment of time and money (printer, ink, paper, reprints etc.), but ordering physical invites from a less-than-reputable company can be an even worse decision. If you don’t want to DIY the printing and you don’t want to wait months for your delivery from a company that refuses to reply to your emails, make sure you choose an invitation tool with a reputable company so that the printing process goes as smoothly as the design stage.
What design elements can you control?
Some online invitation makers only allow you to change what the text on the page says, but not the design template itself, its colours or the font used for the wording. Think about what elements you want to have control over before you choose a design tool to use. Keep in mind, though, that some higher-quality invitation design companies will allow you to make changes beyond what is visible on the invitation maker if you ask them. Don’t be afraid to ask!
How easy is it to use the design tool?
Sometimes an invitation design tool is intuitive and easy to use. It is simple, responsive, and it just makes sense. Other times, you might come across an invitation maker that is slow, glitchy or confusing. If you find yourself on one of the latter ones, it’s worth looking for a better site. There are plenty around that won’t leave you pulling your hair out.
Do you have access to customer support?
Most premium invitation companies employ customer support teams to answer questions, assist with any problems on-site and generally keep customers happy. If you’re particular about the look you’re trying to achieve or if you’re not the best with computers, it can be a life saver to opt for an online invitation maker that gives you access to assistance.
Does a designer help with proofing?
Alongside the customer support team, some invitation companies offer professional proofing of your customised design by a real designer on staff. This is a huge help because designers are trained to spot all the tiny details. If your name or address is much longer or shorter than the sample one that was on the existing template, your changes might have caused some spacing issues or prevented everything from lining up properly on the page. A designer will catch any issues like this and make sure everything looks perfect. Best of all, they can see if there’s anything that has crept outside the printable part of the design so that you don’t end up with important information cut off when you finally print it. It’s never fun to notice those sorts of mistakes after everything is printed and ready to go!
Can you save your progress?
Is this a design you can tweak and finalise in one sitting, or do you need time to think about and show your friends or family? Some online platforms allow you to save your work and check back in on your progress later, while others expect everything to be finished in one go. This is fine, of course, if that aligns with what you want and need.
What is the event?
All of the previous considerations and decisions should be made with an eye on the nature of the event you are planning. A very formal event, or a major milestone like a wedding, will require a more carefully constructed invitation than a casual birthday party or something similar. You might want to take that into account when you choose an invitation maker, and when you choose pretty much anything related to the event!
Paperlust’s invitation design tool
So how do we know all this? Here at Paperlust we have a brilliant design tool that you can use to tweak your invitations before purchase. Just select your favourite design on-site, choose the appropriate print options, and then click ‘customise & buy’. You’ll get to move things around, customise the type and change other elements. If there’s anything you can’t change but want to, we have a support team ready to live chat right there on-site. You can save your work and come back to it any time and then when you’re done with the tweaking your finished design goes through to a designer to be finalised. Once you okay the final proof, you can have your design in your hands ready to send out within a fortnight. The best part is, you can try out the design tool for free, without committing to purchase or even logging in (unless you want to save your progress, of course).
There’s a perfect invitation maker out there for every taste, every skill level, and every occasion. It might just take a little looking around to find one you love. With all these points in mind, though, you can have a clear idea of what you want, making the choice much more simple. That means you can focus on the more important choices you have to make while you’re planning your big event.