Looking for something ornate and elegant for your wedding invitations? This easy-to-create design pays tribute to Rococo or ‘Late Baroque’ style, which is sure to add a sumptuous touch to your special day.
In this tutorial suitable for beginners to Adobe InDesign, you can choose to add optional metallic foil to your invites to enhance the luxurious design. As well as guiding you through editing color and typography to make your design extra-special, we’ll also look at how to set up your invites for professional printing and stamp foiling.
Ready to go rococo? Let’s dive in...
What You’ll Need to Create Your Invitation
We’ll create the layout of the invite in Adobe InDesign, but you’ll also need access to Adobe Illustrator for editing vector graphics for the design. You’ll also need to download the following vector and font files:
Install the fonts onto your computer, and then you’re ready to get started with your design!
1. How to Set Up Your Document in InDesign
Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document. Choose Print for the Intent and uncheck Facing Pages.
Set the Width to 125 mm and Height to 175 mm, to create a standard invite page size. Set the Top Margin to 18 mm, Bottom to 22 mm, and Left and Right to 8 mm.
Add a 5 mm Bleed to all sides of the page, before heading up and clicking OK.
Creating an organized series of layers is going to make editing your design much easier. Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on Layer 1 to open the Layer Options window. Rename the layer BACKGROUND and click OK.
Click on the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the panel to create a second layer. Rename this IVORY. Create a further two new layers named BORDER and, at the top, TYPE.
Lock all the layers except BACKGROUND, which we’ll work on first.
Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and select New Color Swatch from the panel’s drop-down menu at the top-right. You can create the main color for your invite here. To recreate the pink and blue colors used in the design pictured here, you can create two CMYK swatches:
- Baby Blue: C=52 M=19 Y=7 K=0
- Pink: C=4 M=40 Y=24 K=0
Create another CMYK swatch for the neutral color on your design, C=4 M=3 Y=3 K=0. Name it Ivory.
2. How to Create a Backdrop and Border For Your Design
Working on the BACKGROUND layer, take the Rectangle Tool (M) and drag across the whole page, extending it up to the edge of the bleed. From the Swatches panel, set the Fill to your chosen color (here, Baby Blue).
Lock the BACKGROUND layer and unlock BORDER.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) again to create a shape with the same dimensions as the colored rectangle sitting below. Set the Fill to [None] and Stroke Color to [Black].
From the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke), increase the Weight to 5.75 mm and click the Align Stroke to Inside button from the Align Stroke options.
This will create a very slim border around the edge of the invite, which you can pull out in gold foil or, if you prefer, a different color.
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) again and drag onto the page, creating a shape that fits neatly on the margin lines. Set the Fill to [None], Stroke Color to [Black], and Stroke Weight to 0.5 mm.
With the shape selected, go to Object > Corner Options. Choose Inset from the Shape drop-down menu and set the Size to 1 mm.
File > Save your InDesign document and minimize the window for a moment. Open the vintage elements EPS file in Adobe Illustrator.
Select the vector motif at the top-center of the artboard and Edit > Copy, before minimizing the Illustrator window.
Return to your InDesign document and Edit > Paste, dropping the vector directly onto the page. Scale using Shift and position centrally, crossing the top edge of the inner rectangle.
Head back again to the Illustrator window and select the motif one up from the bottom of the artboard, and Edit > Copy.
Back in InDesign, Edit > Paste the vector onto the page. Right-Click > Transform > Flip Vertical. Position it centrally, allowing the edges to meet the bottom edge of the inner rectangle.
Zoom in and use the Scissors Tool (C) to snip the rectangle line at points either side of the bottom motif.
Select and delete the central section of the line which is now isolated.
Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select the individual anchor points at the end of each side of the rectangle, and use the arrow keys to move the point along until it meets the vector, creating a seamless effect.
Repeat the same process with the motif at the top of the rectangle.
Lock the BORDER layer and unlock the IVORY layer below. Select the Pen Tool (P) and in the Swatches panel set the Stroke to [None] and Fill to Ivory.
Start to click around the perimeter of the inner rectangle with your Pen Tool cursor, being careful to include the inset corners and creating a fluid line through the motifs at the bottom and top of the page, giving the impression of a cut-out effect.
Continue to work your way around. Don’t worry if any points aren’t quite perfect; we can sort that out in the next step.
Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select any individual anchor points you want to shift, using the arrow keys to perfect their position.
3. How to Format Elegant Typography on Your Invite
Lock the IVORY layer and unlock the top layer, TYPE.
Use the Type Tool (T) to create a text frame at the top-center of the ivory area, typing in some introductory text.
From either the Controls panel at the top of the workspace or the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character), set the Font to Bentham Regular, Size 9 pt, Align Center and increase the Tracking to 100.
Copy and Paste the text frame, moving it towards the lower third of the page, adjusting the text to read the date of the event.
Create another text frame below the date frame, and set your type cursor in it. Set the Font to Fournier MT Std Regular, Size 12 pt and Align Center.
Then head up to Window > Type & Tables > Glyphs. Choose one of the decorative leaf glyphs from the panel and double-click to insert it into the frame.
Build up more text frames below, setting any further info in Bentham, and dividing sections of text up with Fournier glyphs sandwiched in-between.
Use the Type Tool (T) to create a large text frame in the blank ivory area remaining. Type in ‘Name 1’ and set the Font to Bodega Script, Size 80 pt.
Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste the text frame, positioning it below the original and editing the text to read ‘Name 2’.
Add another text frame with an ‘and’ between the two names.
4. How to Create the Reverse of Your Invite
Expand the Pages panel (Window > Pages) and click on the Create New Page button at the bottom of the panel.
Working on Page 2 of your document, lock the TYPE layer and unlock the bottom layer, BACKGROUND. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a shape across the whole page, setting the Fill to Ivory.
Lock the BACKGROUND layer and unlock BORDER. Copy the border from Page 1 and Edit > Paste in Place onto Page 2.
Lock the BORDER layer and unlock TYPE. Copy and Paste text frames from Page 1 onto Page 2, editing the text to read more details about the event, and divide sections up with Fournier glyphs.
5. How to Prepare and Export Your Invite for Printing
Throughout the tutorial I’ve set the borders and typography in default [Black], but it’s up to you how you’d like these elements to appear on your final design. An easy option is to set them in a different color (for a gold effect, try C=33 M=34 Y=72 K=0), but you might like to go the extra mile and set them in metallic foil or emboss some of the details as well.
To prepare for special print effects like foiling, you’ll need to perform a few extra steps before exporting your design.
Double-click on the TYPE layer in the Layers panel. Rename it TYPE - DO NOT PRINT - FOIL.
Double-click on the BORDER layer and add the DO NOT PRINT - FOIL text to the title as well. Check with your printer whether they require you to merge these layers into one before exporting—they may be able to do this for you in pre-production.
In the Swatches panel, create a new CMYK swatch. In the New Color Swatch window, choose Spot from the Color Type menu and set the levels to 100% Magenta. Name it Magenta Spot before clicking Add and then OK.
With the TYPE and BORDER layers unlocked, select all the elements sitting on these layers one by one, and change their Fill or Stroke Color to the Magenta Spot color.
Apply the Magenta Spot swatch to the elements sitting on the reverse of the invite too.
Use your cursor to select all the magenta elements on Page 2 and then go to Window > Output > Attributes. Check the Overprint Stroke box.
Scroll up to Page 1 and drag over the page to select everything. Check the Overprint Fill and Overprint Stroke boxes in the Attributes panel.
You may also want to select all the text frames on both pages and go to Type > Create Outlines, to vectorize your text. Check with your printer if they’d prefer you to do this before sending them the artwork.
To create your print-ready artwork, go to File > Export and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format menu at the bottom of the Export window. Click Save.
In the window that opens, choose [PDFX1a 2001] from the Preset menu at the top, and ensure that All is checked under Pages.
Click on Marks and Bleeds in the window’s left-hand menu, and then check All Printer’s Marks (if required by your printer) and Use Document Bleed Settings. Then click Export to create your PDF.
Awesome work! You can send this file straight off to the printers for printing and foiling.
Conclusion: Your Finished Rococo Invite
Once you’ve printed your designs, pop your invitations in the post and get ready to have the party of a lifetime! In this tutorial we’ve covered a number of key skills for designing invitations and preparing print designs. Let’s take a quick recap. You now know how to:
- Set up an invitation template in Adobe InDesign.
- Customize color and create an ornate border for your design.
- Format typography professionally to create a polished calligraphic effect.
- Prepare your artwork for printing and post-print effects, like foil stamping.