A New Style of Invitation that’s anything but Wooden

A guest post by Susie Francis writing on behalf of  RODD Industrial Design

Over the past year we’ve seen a new trend of invites to social events like weddings and birthday parties being made from beautifully engraved, smooth cut outs of wood. For this article, we look at the processes involved in the design and manufacture of the ‘woodcards’, taking in some examples, and giving tips on how you can design these fantastically imaginative items to suit your purpose or event.

The first time I had a woodcard delivered through my letter box, it was to invite me to a friend’s wedding, and the first thing I thought was, ‘crikey, they must have spent a fortune on just the invitations’.

Image 1 Wood Design

The quality of design and the craftsmanship is fantastic and gives the impression of an expensive product. Considering your typical wedding has over a hundred guests, I was thinking they’d must spent several hundred pounds. I was right, prices range from £3 to £7 per invitation depending on the design work required, so they’re most definitely a luxury.

How are they made?

The cards are made using a combination of laser-cutting and scoring the design onto a thin slice of wood or veneer using a laser printer. Laser printers have dropped in price massively over the past decade, which has allowed savvy entrepreneurs to produce the products themselves rather than outsourcing.

A great thing about this process is that it gives the impression of a handmade product, rather than a batch-produced item.

Cut-to-size pieces of the chosen wood are loaded onto a jig in the laser printer, and the printing itself is remarkably quick, anything between 1-5 minutes for a design of less than 1 foot squared.

The main wood used for cards and invitations is birch ply. Being a softwood, it’s lightweight and easy to machine. However, many other woods are used, including ash, oak, maple and poplar.

It hasn’t taken long for a wider range of products to become available from business cards to birthday cards. Recently producers have started treating the wood to ensure it lasts longer.

Who does the Designing?

A lot of the stock designs offered by retailers are great; they simply place your names and details in to their existing templates. There are a lot of options for having a bespoke design made, and often for a reasonable price. Many of the online retailers have an in-house designer for any of their design requirements.

The friend I mentioned earlier happened to be marrying a freelance graphic design expert, so he was well covered there, but I’d say that you really can’t go wrong sticking with a stock template.

Considering the price of production, and the importance of the occasions they’re used for, it’s fair to say it’s better to outsource the designing, unless you’re an accomplished graphic designer of course.

Some of the Best

Image 2 Wood Design

(Source: Serendipity Beyond Design)

Image 3 Wood Design

(Source: Invitationcrush.com)

Image 4 Wood Design

(Source: Freshbusinesscards.com)

Image 5 Wood Design

(Source: This is why I’m Broke)

Image 6 Wood Design

(Source: Carveon)

Wood invite design

If you’ve recently used a wooden style product, whether it was for a business car or a wedding invite, we’d love to hear how you chose a design and how they were received by people.

Susie Francis writes articles for RODD Industrial Design, a Design and Innovation Agency working with international clients delivering strategic design solutions. Based in Hampshire, UK, with clients including Motorola, Panasonic and Transport for London, RODD are focused on delivering the highest quality creative work and commercially effective design.

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The Trend in Interactive Infographics and Microsites

A guest post by Luke Clum

Now that everyone from your favorite author to your dog sitter has some sort of website, most designers have learned that the old, static layouts and pages just don’t cut it anymore. In order to really get the attention of your viewer you have to stay ahead of the trends; a great way to do this is embrace interactivity. Static pages just don’t stand out to visitors anymore, as they are now used to animation, parallax scrolling, and other interactive elements.

But don’t fear, interactive pages don’t have to be complicate, as you can see in this example. Below we outline other great examples of interactive pages and discuss how emulate a similar style on your own.

Examples of interactive sites

SimpliSafe does a great job of showing their customers the length they will go to protect their property. Moving from inside to outside of an animated house as the viewer scrolls down the page, they teach their customers what they can do to ensure safety and peace of mind.

Simplisafe interactive infographic

YouTube pulled out all the stops when they created One Hour Per Second, a microsite that makes great use of animation, creative controls and provides links to some of the most popular clips from their website. When the user starts the presentation, easy to follow examples roll down the screen, providing the viewer with context to understand what it really means to have one hour of video uploaded to YouTube every second.

Youtube interactive infographic

Life of Pi was recognized as being a visual masterpiece at the box office and numerous award shows upon its release. With a mix of film and animation shown in 3-D, it’s no surprise that fans wanted to know exactly how the movie was made. This website uses lots of cool navigation and superimposed sketches of set designs with images from the film. Visitors can watch videos of some of the trickiest scenes filmed and provides before and after images that show exactly what the special effects provide. It’s a great way for fans of the film to get in on the movie magic.

Life of Pi interactive infographic

If there is one thing every James Bond fan enjoys it’s all of the extraordinary tools that he gets to use in the films. And the coolest of all the unattainable items might be the cars he gets to drive. A very clever used car dealer caught on to this and decided to break down all of the Bond cars and let customers choose their favorite. With color palettes that match every decade, swirling backgrounds zoom in and out to reveal the next movie’s car. They obviously know the value of an older car and do a great job of pointing that out to their customers as well.

Bond interactive infographic

The Dangers of Fracking makes great use of visual elements to educate viewers on how wasteful and harmful fracking can be for the environment. With easy to follow graphics that take you from start to finish and navigation that makes you feel as though you are flipping through a book, they put everything you need to know about fracking in one place. It’s a great way to inspire visitors to react to the information instead of just reading it.

Hydraulic Fracturing interactive infographic

Luke Clum Luke Clum is a graphic designer from Seattle who specializes in print and web development. He loves coffee, hiking and alpine climbing in the mountains. Follow him on Twitter @lukeclum

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10 Inspiring Printed Designs

A guest post by Paul Kilminster who has worked in the printing industry for several years and has seen how the industry has evolved to meet the challenges of digital marketing. He is currently the Technical Services Director for Print and Digital Associates.

From full-on works of art to professional business cards, print is an incredibly versatile medium. Since we know you can’t get enough of looking at beautiful designs, we’ve found ten fabulous examples of striking and innovative prints for you to enjoy. Check them out below!

1. Lumadessa – Night Owl

1. lumadessa - night owl

The simple geometric design of this stunning owl illustration really catches the eye. The use of colour to suggest shadow gives a three-dimensional effect, bringing the owl to life despite the highly stylised nature of the image.

2. A Single Man

2. a single man

This striking film poster may look simple, but it’s amazing how evocative a design with so few elements can be. The positioning of the glasses and tie make it look as though they are being worn by an invisible man, while the combination of colours suggests sadness and loneliness.

3. Paris Traveler Series

3. paris traveler series

We love the play on perspective in this poster. It adds an element of fun and really gives you the feeling of sitting outside a Paris cafe. The merging of the champagne bubbles with the stars in the sky is the finishing touch in bringing both elements of the design together.

4. Superhero Noir Posters – Dark Knight

4. superhero noir posters

A world away from the usual bright colours associated with comic-book inspired art, the use of silhouette in this poster makes for a sophisticated twist on the theme.

5. Seed Vibe (Business Card)

5 - SeedVibe

These business cards give a holistic, refined impression. An ingenious idea combining the simple white text against a resplendent, strong green background; these cards would be perfect for a savant or sophisticated business.

6. JS3 Design (Business Card)

6 - JS3 Design

Another creative business card idea, the vibrant colours are made substantially more noticeable as they contrast with the staunch black backdrop. The trio of colours on the front of the card offers simplicity but is still inspiring. These business card are ideal for an inventive company and would be sure to intrigue your clients.

7. Behance Poster

7 - Behance

Vivid, explosive colours and graceful designs make this poster a beautiful piece, the overlap across the white diamond gives the impression that it is a 3D poster; the thick white line of the diamond also centres your focus due to the variation in colour. The detail in this design is uplifting and makes for an eye catching bit of art.

8. Verbana (Business Card)

8 - Deskfolio

This cute business card idea is deceptively simple. We love the way the design is replicated on the reverse of the card, subtly inviting you to turn it over and see the contact details. The reversal of the pink and white colours finishes the design off nicely.

9. Cuben – Colour Shambles

9. cuben - colour shambles

Many of the designs we’ve chosen feature just two or three colours that enhance the striking simplicity of the design. This poster, on the other hand, is a glorious riot of colour, and it works just as effectively. Celebrating the cube, the colours draw in your eye and add elements of depth. The longer you look, the more cubes you see.

10. Literature Quote Illustrations – I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.

10 - literature quote (Edgar Allan Poe)

The simple but striking monochrome design of this poster beautifully illustrates the quote from poet Edgar Allan Poe. By waking up to this poster every morning you’re sure to have an interesting day ahead!

That’s the end of our list. We hope you enjoyed discovering these stunning examples of printed design as much as we did!

 

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