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Create a Spring Wedding Invitation for Die Cutting and Embossing in InDesign

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In this tutorial you'll learn how to set up your own fold-out invitation design using Adobe InDesign. We'll look at how using Layers can allow you to set up design elements intended for die cutting and embossing, which can add a really beautiful touch to your final cards.

I will be using my own vector assets created in Adobe Illustrator; but feel free to get creative with your own decorative designs. You will need Adobe InDesign and Illustrator for this tutorial.

Mock-up-Invitation

1. Set Up the Layout of the Invitation in InDesign

Step 1

Open InDesign and select File > New Document. In the New Document window set the Intent to Print and set the No. of Pages to 6. Deselect Facing Pages. Under Page Size select Custom... from the drop-down menu to open the Custom Page Size window. Under name type 'Wedding Invitation' and set both the Width and Height to 165mm. Click Add, and then OK.

Maintain the margins at their default value, and set the Bleed on all sides to 3mm. Click OK.

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Step 2

Ensure the Pages panel is open by going to Window > Pages. Go into the Pages drop-down menu at the top right of the panel and deselect Allow Document Pages to Shuffle. As we are creating a creative document without page numbers, we can play around with the arrangement of pages.

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Click-drag the page icon for Page 2 and drop the page adjacent to the Page 1 icon. Drag the Page 3 icon and drop it adjacent to Page 2. Drag the Page 5 icon and drop next to Page 4, and drop the Page 6 icon to join with Page 5. You will now have two spreads made up of three pages each. Spread One will form the inside of the invitation, and Spread Two the Back of the card and the Outside of the Fold-out motifs.

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2. Choose and Apply Color

Now you can get creative with the color scheme for your cards. Contrast will be best achieved by picking a high impact swatch for the inside of the card and a more subtle, neutral swatch for the outside, but have fun playing around with some combinations.

Step 1

I've gone for a minty-blue CMYK (C=73, M=0, Y=35, K=0) and a neutral cream tone to balance out the bright color (C=1, M=10, Y=20, K=0). Add these swatches (or two complementary swatches of your choice) to the Swatches panel by selecting New Swatch from the Swatches panel and entering the CMYK values.

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Step 2

Ensure the first spread is selected by double-clicking on the page icon for Page 2. Using the Rectangle Frame Tool (F), click and drag to create a frame that extends from the top of the bleed on Page 2 to the bottom edge of the bleed. The frame should be 165mm in Width and 171mm in Height. Set the Stroke to None and the Fill to C=73, M=0, Y=35, K=0, or your chosen brighter swatch. With the frame selected, select Edit > Copy.

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Step 3

Double click the Page 5 icon in the Pages panel to select the second spread. Go to Edit > Paste in Place. Change the Fill to C=1, M=10, Y=20, K=0, or your chosen neutral swatch.

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Step 4

Go to Window > Layers to open the Layers panel. Double-click the default 'Layer 1' and rename this layer 'COLOUR'. Click OK and lock this layer for now by clicking once in the space to the right of the eye icon.

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3. Select Fonts and Insert Text

For this tutorial we will be using just one font. Invitations, compared to other print items, like books, brochures and posters, will look much better if the font choice is restricted to one font, which is well-suited to the look of the card as a whole. I've gone for a modern scripted font, Sofia, to give an elegant and romantic look to the text.

Step 1

Double-click Page 2 to bring up the first spread on screen. In the Layers panel, select New Layer... from the drop-down menu. Double-click the default Layer name and rename this as 'TEXT'.

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Step 2

Use the Text Tool (T) to create a text frame 140 mm in Width and 28 mm in Height. Place this in the dead center of Page 2. Type 'You Are Cordially Invited (paragraph break) To The Wedding Of' into the frame. Set the Font to Sofia Regular, the Text Color to White, and the text alignment to Align Center.

Highlight 'You Are Cordially Invited' and set the Font Size to 9 pt. Highlight 'To The Wedding Of' and set the Font Size to 10 pt and the Leading to 15 pt.

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Step 3

Insert a paragraph break and set the Leading to 19.2 pt. Insert a second paragraph break and type '[Name] (paragraph break) & [Name]'. Set the Text Color to C=1, M=10, Y=20, K=0. Set the Font Size of the two names to 21pt and set the Font Size for '&' to 28pt.

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Step 4

Use the Text Tool (T) to create a second text frame 59mm in Width and 6.4mm in Height. Type 'Dear', set the Font to Sofia Regular, set the Font Size to 10pt and Text Color to White. Maintain the default text alignment. Set the X position to 218 mm and Y position to 39.6 mm.

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Step 5

Again, using the Text Tool (T) create a third text frame 59mm in Width and 14.5mm in Height. Set the X position to 226.5mm and the Y position to 123.5mm. Type '[Day], [Date] (paragraph break) [Year] (paragraph break) at [Time]' and set the Font to Sofia Regular. Set the Text Color to White, Size to 10pt and Leading to 14pt. Select Align Center from the top control panel. Select the text frame and Edit > Copy.

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Step 6

Go to Edit > Paste. Maneuver this text frame below the third text frame (from Step 5) and adjust the X position to 225 mm. Delete the text and type 'at the [Place] (paragraph break) [Address]'. You may want to reduce the Height of the frame to fit the two lines of text.

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Step 7

Select the Line Tool (/) from the Tools panel and, holding Shift, drag a horizontal line 27mm in Length. Set the Stroke Weight to 0.25pt and the Stroke Color to White. Place this line to the right of the text saying 'Dear'.

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4. Insert Background Artwork

Step 1

Return to the Layers panel. Lock the TEXT Layer and Unlock the COLOUR Layer. Return to the COLOUR Layer with Page 2 still up on screen.

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We can insert a 'mirror' of the fold-out artwork on the background of the inside of the card to give a seamless, elegant look to the invitation. You can use a stock EPS image or create one of your own in Illustrator. The border should be designed to run along the top right and easily flipped to run along the bottom left of the card.

In this example, I've created an EPS file with two layers - the background layer is a cream border decoration, with a couple of simplified rose decorations in the top layer (which we will pull out in a Spot color, we will explore why a little later). Think about the layout of your card, create a mock-up if you like, before you apply decorative fold-out designs.

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Step 2

Return to your InDesign file and Page 2 of the first spread. Drag to create a frame using the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to extend over the top right corner of Page 2. It should extend down to the center of the page and up to the top bleed. Go to File > Place, and select your EPS or Illustrator file. You can adjust the size using the Fill Frame Proportionally option in the top control panel.

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Step 3

With the image frame selected, go to Object > Effects and select Transparency...; set the Opacity to 42%.

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Step 4

Select the image frame and Edit > Copy. Select Edit > Paste. With this new frame selected, Control-click (Mac) or right-click (PC) and under Transform select Flip Horizontal. Go to Transform again and select Flip Vertical. This has created a reflection of the image. Arrange this in the bottom left-hand corner of Page 2. Lock the COLOUR Layer.

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5. Edit Your Die Cutting Artwork for the Inside of the Card

Step 1

Return to your EPS/Illustrator file in Illustrator. Make a duplicate copy of the EPS file and rename it as 'Floral Border_Blue'. Open this new file in Illustrator and open the Layers panel by going to Window and clicking Layers. Ensure the top layer with the white roses (or whatever decoration you have intended for embossing) is locked and not visible. Change the Fill of the image to C=73, M=0, Y=35, K=0 and set the Stroke Color to Black. Make the Stroke very thin (around 0.01pt); this will be the edge intended for die cutting. Save the document and return to InDesign.

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Step 2

Go to the Layers panel and create a new layer, name this 'DIE STROKE', and move the layer below COLOUR, to the bottom layer of the document. All designs intended for die cutting will be placed in this layer.

Go to Page 1 of your InDesign invitation. Drag a frame using the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) which extends across the bottom right of the page, down to the bottom edge of the bleed. It may be helpful to copy and Flip Horizontal the image frame at the bottom left of page 2 to ensure that the image is exactly the same size when imported. If you do this, ensure that all Transparency settings are set to 100% Opacity. Go to the Links panel (Window > Links) and use the Relink icon at the bottom center of the panel to replace the current image with your new image, 'Floral Border_Blue'.

Select the image frame and Edit, Copy.

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Step 3

Go to Page 3 of the document and select Edit > Paste. Control-click (Mac) or right-click (PC) and under Transform select Flip Horizontal. Go to Transform again and select Flip Vertical. Position this new frame to the top left of Page 3, with the top edge resting on the top bleed.

Zoom out a little to view the whole spread. You can begin to see how the decorations on Pages 2 and 3 will be able to fold over Page 1 before the invitation is opened fully, concealing some of the invitation text.

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6. Edit your Die Cutting Artwork for the Outside of the Card

Step 1

Return to Illustrator and duplicate the 'Floral Border_Blue' file. Rename the copied file 'Floral Border_Cream'. Open the file in Illustrator and set the Fill color to C=1, M=10, Y=20, K=0. Save the file and return to InDesign.

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Step 2

With the DIE STROKE layer still active in InDesign, go to the first spread and select both the image frame on Page 1 and the frame on Page 2. Select Edit > Copy.

Go to the second spread (Pages 4-6) and select Edit > Paste in Place. Go to the Links panel (Window > Links) ad use the Relink icon to replace both images with your new file, 'Floral Border_Cream'. Flip both image frames Horizontal and arrange in the positions indicated below. In the Layers panel lock the DIE STROKE layer.

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7. Prepare Artwork for Embossing

Preparing artwork for embossing involves two sets of edits in Illustrator and InDesign. Firstly, stay in InDesign and create a new layer in the Layers panel. Name this 'EMBOSSING CONTENT'. Place this layer between the DIE STROKE and COLOUR layers.

Step 1

Return to Illustrator. In my 'Floral Border_Cream' document I also have a (currently not visible) layer containing the rose decorations I want to have embossed on the fold-over sections of my invitation card.

Make the roses layer visible and lock the background layer. You can make the background layer visible or not visible at this stage.

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Step 2

Any content of the image intended for embossing should be pulled out in a Spot color This will place the content on a separate printing plate to the other content. The white roses can also be repeated in a non-Spot color as part of the COLOUR layer in the InDesign document, behind the embossing layer, to enhance the white print color

In Illustrator, drag your mouse across the page to select all the roses. Double-click on the White Fill in the top control panel (which is the current Fill Color of the roses in this example). Under Color Type ensure Spot Color is selected and maintain the Color Mode as CMYK. Click OK.

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Step 3

Make sure the background layer is not visible and go to Save As. Name the document 'White Roses_Alone'.

To make the rose shapes editable in InDesign, you can copy and paste them directly into the InDesign document. Drag your mouse across the roses in Illustrator and Edit > Copy. Return to InDesign and Edit > Paste onto Page 4, ensuring the EMBOSSING CONTENT layer is active.

You may need to adjust the size of and rotate or flip the rose artwork to line up exactly with the cream border.

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8. Edit the Decorations to Optimize Embossing

Step 1

With the roses frame selected go to Window > Output > Attributes from the drop-down menu to open the Attributes window.

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You can see that InDesign is treating the pasted images as shapes that have a stroke and fill. Check the box that says Overprint Fill (you will need to select the image directly, and not the frame, to do this). This ensures the roses are treated as stand-alone elements which won't knock out the colors of the design on any layers below.

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Step 2

Edit > Copy the Roses artwork and Edit > Paste onto Page 3. Control-click (Mac) or right-click (PC) and under Transform select Flip Horizontal. Go to Transform again and select Flip Vertical. Position this new image to the top left of Page 3 and repeat Step 1 above to ensure it too is manually set to overprint.

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9. Prepare the Invitation for Sending to Print

Your InDesign artwork is finished and you are now ready to prepare a PDF for sending to print.

Step 1

Go to File > Export and select Adobe PDF (Print) from the drop-down menu. Name the file 'Wedding Invitation_for print' and click OK to open the Export Adobe PDF window. Under General, set the Preset to Press Quality, and under the Pages menu ensure Spreads is selected, not Pages. Under the Options section select All Layers from the Export Layers drop-down menu.

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Step 2

Under the Marks and Bleeds section, check All Printer's Marks and under the Bleed and Slug menu check Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export.

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If you have Acrobat Pro you can select the Separation Preview mode from the Advanced menu to view the different layers. When sending the pdf to the printer, you should communicate clear instructions on the set-up of the different layers to make things extra clear, and produce a beautiful end result!

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Well Done, Your Invitations are Finished!

Nice work, you now have your invitation cards ready to be sent to the printers! Enjoy the Spring Wedding!

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