Occasionally I will make cards, programs, invitations, etc. for friends or family members since I enjoy employing my skills as a Media Specialist. Recently, I had the opportunity to make a baby shower invitation for a good friend of mine, a talented artist by the name of Holly Fister.
A good designer listens to her clients, and she designs according to their requests. Though Holly did not request a certain design, I solicited her for information about the baby’s nursery. I wanted to incorporate the nursery color scheme and theme on the invitation. Holly was decorating the nursery in coral and teal. She told me she might be using a underwater theme, but she was unsure. While we were talking she also mentioned that she was painting polka dots on the walls.
Instantly I knew the color scheme for the invitation and that I wanted to include circles in the design. Just by asking two questions, a lot of guesswork was removed, and the knowledge gave me some ideas to work with. I chose to subtly address the theme in a baby-friendly way so that even if Holly chose to forgo the underwater theme, the invitation will just look like a baby theme in general.
Although it does not spell a nice word, I typically follow an acronym (see the headings below) when designing a card. The following four subsections dictates portions of my process in the creation of the card.
Color contrast is always easy to decipher. The background is light with a dark font; following this rule makes the document easier to read for people with color blindness. The bubbles are varying opacities of the same teal as the font. Notice also the “registered” and “regrets” portions of the card; the bubble border further carries out the bubble theme while setting apart important blocks of information.
Just like the bubbles are an example of consistency, they also follow the rule of repetition. For a design to be strong, elements must repeat. The bubbles are repeated in the two lower informational blocks, but notice also that the borders are the same in appearance, size, color. This sameness tells the viewer’s brain that both blocks of information are equally important. Color is a constant in this project as well. I used only one font color to keep the eyes moving in a downward motion and to keep all information visually equal.
Alignment is usually stronger when it is left- or right-aligned, as a general rule of thumb. However, people often prefer centered alignment for its traditional appearance. Sometimes center-alignment works out better design-wise as well. For this invitation, I was going for a traditional look, and I also wanted to incorporate bubbles. The easiest way to surround the text with bubbles was to center-align the text.
Notice the alignment of the bubbles. They are not evenly dispersed or symmetric. However, the two lowest bubbles on both the left and the right seem to be pointing toward the text in the middle, particularly the date and time of the event, which leads me to the final point of my analysis.
The position of the bubbles points to the most important information. In addition, the date and time of the event are located in a paragraph of their own in the center of the document. Because of this positioning, readers can easily find what they need to know with a quick glance in passing.
I divide the information into blocks for easy readability, too: the “Who” and “What” are positioned in the first block; the “When” lies in the middle; and the “Where” is located in the third block. I have already mentioned the “registered” and “regrets” sections, but notice that they are at the bottom of the card: the least important of all of the information on the card, they are relegated to the bottom in the smallest font. However, since they contain secondary information (a term I use to describe necessary information that is not the primary interest of the card), they are set off by borders. Notice that the spacing in both sections is the exact same and that their even alignment gives both sections equal weight at a quick look.
Summary and Download
Before talking to Holly I was thinking about doing a stripe on the invitation that looked like a baby girl’s headband. However, after speaking with Holly, my design took a completely different direction. Asking a few questions, such as color scheme and theme, take a lot of the guesswork out of design, so I know I can deliver a product the person will like. Furthermore, I followed the simple rules of Contrast/Consistency, Repetition, Alignment, and Position/Proximity. Feel free to download and use, the Bubble Ducky Invitation, as long as you operate according to the Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share-Alike License 4.0.
Baby Ducky Invitation by Allison L. Goodman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.