designing my own invites: part 1

designing invites is one of my major DIY undertakings, so here’s part 1 of my experience.

first, let’s establish my card size. I’m going for an A6-sized card when closed. in other words, it’s a quarter of an A4 paper. and when you open it, it’ll be A5 i.e. half of an A4 paper.

front cover

I have a talented cousin who draws super well. so for my front cover, I asked her to help draw an illustration of ninja groom and me on a pelamin hee. in the moodboard that I shared with her, I even included this nurita harith dress that I once saw IshQ post, which my cousin then drew something similar on me. if I do end up selecting that dress, it would be very cool! but it all depends whether the dress is available during my weekend and whether it’s within my budget lah right.

I’ve posted the front cover mood board before, but let me post it again:

kraken wedding invite moodboard

I think the front cover is pretty crucial since it’s gonna be people’s first impression when they see the card, so I’m glad I got it out of the way really early. it was such a smooth process liaising with my cousin. alhamdulilah :’)

inside pages

I wanted the layout and info of my inside pages to be clean. no squeezing of text or cluttering of info. so to achieve this, I designed my inside page to be 1 x portrait, instead of 2 x landscape. Malay text on left, English text on right.

I looked to my ex-classmate’s wedding invite for inspiration. feeling bad, I even smsed her to “confess” that I was shamelessly copying hers so that when she sees my card, she won’t be like, “eh ini macam aku punya dulu eh?” haha. alhamdulilah, she was very supportive of the idea. she was like “bagus kan! senang untuk orang tua baca”.

so a tip to those DIY-ing cards is to keep those invites that you like, for easy referencing (copying) later!

I was stalling the design of my invites for one reason: I wanted to hand-write our names, calligraphy style. hence I bought markers (which turned out to be lousy pfft!) thinking I could teach myself the art. oh, how wrong I was. it would take a lot of motivation and discipline for me to sit down and practise my penmanship. so I gave up on the idea.

I then explored getting an artist from etsy to help hand-write my name but the price was a little steep for my budget. I also found a girl who does Arabic calligraphy which would have been really cool, tho in the end I decided against it.

so then I turned to calligraphy fonts instead. what an anticlimactic solution right. found a font I liked and played with its glyphs (alternate characters) to get a combi that was fancy enough for me. the look became different from what I had dreamed of having, but no choice lor.

info-wise, my family gave some inputs like suggesting that I specify that the exact location within the CC (I thought MPH might be obvious enough, but I guess not…), and shifting the phone numbers from the map page to the inside pages in case people mistake the numbers to be the card designer/printer’s contact. in my heart I was like, nama mak bapak pengantin dah terang2 kat sana, siapalah nak salah anggap eh

mama kraken also wanted to add the nikah time into the details. her draft sentence was really long too: majlis pernikahan akan dilangsungkan pada waktu 11:00 pagi. sigh, there goes being minimalist. in the end I shortened it to majlis pernikahan: 11:00 pg, which her friend then suggested to say akad nikah: 11:00 pg instead. my mum’s reason for adding this is so that people don’t mistakenly think that the nikah will be on fri night, and then those who can’t make it on sat would come down then… cos we may not have food to serve them!

(though the latest development is that this may change, but then again, our CC decor is unlikely to be guest-ready by Fri night due to shorter set-up time)

as for my dad, he wanted me to emphasise that the wedding is on a SATURDAY. in case people mistakenly think the jemputan is on Sunday, which is the more “default” arrangement, so to speak. he wanted to make my (already bold) font bolder but I was like, sorry, can’t. also I’m a bit unsympathetic cos I think my text is clear enough in saying that the wedding is on Saturday / Sabtu. people have to meet us halfway you know? I understand that mis-comms can happen cos hey, I did mix up a friend’s wedding date once, but people have to take their own responsibility if they accidentally read wrongly lor. I can only do my best up to a reasonable point.

the map

ahh, the map.

the source of pain.

since my front cover is a hand illustration, I wanted my map to also have squiggly lines and colouring that goes beyond outlines (such a no-no during when we were kids eh). given my ambitious plan, I decided to draw my map in Photoshop (you can also do it in PowerPoint). you start by screen grabbing a map from wherever e.g. google, streetdirectory or onemap. btw, you can count on onemap to have the most updated map of Sg since they have govt data from HDB — good if you’re in a new BTO or have u/c projects nearby your venue.

now I can’t remember why, but I abandoned my first draft. the original map outline was from some mapbuilder website that I tried to use but eventually abandoned. you can see that i simplified the block outlines cos hey, too much deetz on the exact shape!

bts-map abandon 2

then I tried a second draft. but again, because the cropping of the map felt off, I decided to do it again.

bts-map abandon

the third time, I felt tergerak to consult mama kraken — a move I should have thought of earlier, because she totally had something to say about what landmarks to include. she wanted to “zoom out” and also include Temasek Poly. right-o.

bts-map abandon 3

so, on to the fourth draft. finally. it took many layers to get the look that i wanted.

bts-map layers

my parents and I disagreed on which bus stops to display and what instructional text to write. painful. in the end I added details according to their wishes but also insisted on leaving some things as they are. may our guests, espesh the older generation, understand my map.

so in the end, here’s my map:

bts-map final

fresh pairs of eyes

I brought my draft design to work (ok bohong — I printed it at work, heheh) and showed my Chinese colleague for her inputs. mostly I was concerned that putting the nikah timing would lead guests, especially non-Malays, to think that they have to attend :X she assured me that no, it should be obvious enough. I just hope so lor. we’ll find out once the cards have been distributed. she also gave me some suggestions to help refine my design and create more white space so, yay.

so another tip for those DIYing cards is to let as many fresh pairs of eyes have a look at your design. firstly, they can help spot typo errors that you may have missed from having looked at the design intensively. secondly, they can give a different perspective to the design. especially if you’re designing your 2015 cards in 2014 etc… we recently received a card which had to have a sticker pasted over the year because of a typo :/ reminds me of a booboo I did at work. it may seem
like a silly mistake but swear it can totally happen!

for me the part I struggled with most was dealing with my parents’ inputs cos y’know, there’s a generation gap and I was being all ~defensive artist~ ish. I didn’t like that my design was being messed with! it got to the point where my dad shot at me, “what’s the point of asking for feedback when you don’t want to listen” adoi. a sabit straight to my heart, this one. but ok la, it’s a growing experience and you learn to get over it. overall I’m quite happy how my design turned out… and now to get it printed!


  1. erianazai · February 11, 2015

    job well done babe . very detail and such supporting parents you have . hehe . Kalau my mother dah terpekik agaknya . tak confident with me . hhahahah .

    • the wedding kraken · February 11, 2015

      hehe thanks and alhamdulilah! they didn’t know I was designing my own cards… until I told them :p tak kasi choice!

  2. msmagiclikethis · February 11, 2015

    hello, just a question, in the end you did from scratch for your map? salute! i tried diy my map but i give up in the end. copy paste from je because tak boleh sabar haha

    • the wedding kraken · February 11, 2015

      hello! yes I did 😀 indeed it’s a tedious process… luckily I started early. well out of all the online map providers, has the best graphics imho, so not a bad choice! 🙂

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