Printable Press: Party Invites & An Inspiration Contest

Long time readers know the story of Printable Press. Kimi got married in 2008, made the most amazing wedding dress in the history of wedding dresses out of a Target sheath, designed some truly amazing invitations and printed them on a home computer, and generally blew my mind. This being 2008, there were fewer low budget alternatives on the wedding landscape, so I suggested (achem, ordered) Kimi to start a wedding paper line where she sold pdfs of wedding invites that you could print at home, at a copy shop, or with a professional or online printer. She did, and the rest is history. Printable Press’s wedding invitations have become some of the most popular for APWers, and we even ran a post on various ways to print them. Beautiful wedding invitations starting at $79? Yes, yes, yes.

Launching Printable Press Party Invites

So today I’m super excited to announce the launch of a Printable Press project that’s been in the works for about a million years. Kimi is finally launching party invitations, which can be used for bridal showers, engagement parties, rehearsal dinners or any other wedding-related occasion you’ve got coming up. Plus she’s doing baby shower invitations and birth announcements! They all sell for $50 for a print-ready pdf customized with your wording, and they are beautiful. A Printable Press birth announcement? Please and thank you!

The Printable Press Blog: Field Papers

But there is more. Over the last few years, Kimi and I have become friends, had long discussions, and I’ve even cuddled with her baby (He loves me! I love him!). And what I’ve learned is that Kimi is not just a talented designer—she’s a super smart person. So I’m delighted that she recently launched a blog, Field Papers. She wasn’t sure you guys would be interested, because she talks about “weird stuff,” but I’m pretty sure you’ll be fascinated, for just that reason. For example, take this post on George Bernard Shaw’s writing shack, and building a fort of one’s own. Right? Right. It’s totally my new favorite blog. Plus on Friday’s she runs a feature called “For You,” with free printables. It’s genius, and I’m personally in love with this splash print. I need it for… something.

The Contest

And finally, because Kimi loves Team Practical the very best (shh, don’t tell), she’s hosting a contest, where you guys provide inspiration for new ideas, she designs the idea that tickles her fancy, and the muse gets a a free invitation. Here are the details:

The experiment we did a year ago of gathering suggestions for a new wedding invitation was completely inspiring. The ideas that came flowing in showed just how inventive, fun, and sincere everyone in the APW community is. The final invitation design that came out of it has become one of our most popular of all.

Now I want to know what people feel is missing from the world of party invitations! If you’re having a bridal shower or pre-wedding barbecue or any other kind of event, how do you want people to know about it? Should there be a classic and glamorous option? An invitation covered with forest animals? A delicate tea party? I’d love to hear your ideas.

The suggestion that tickles my fancy will be made into a new design, and the person who inspired it will receive a free card design customized with their wording.

So leave your ideas in the comments. If I weren’t on vacation right now, I’d totally be leaving mine, because frankly, the world needs hipper and more affordable baby announcements, amIright? Not to mention sparkly party invitations (Confetti and pinata themed, anyone? Seriously, suggest it for me.). Then go shop Printable Press’s party invitations, and wedding invitations, and enjoy.

Staff Picks

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  • Faith

    How about a redwood theme? Tall, tall trees as the backdrop. We had a lot of pictures with the scale of the trees being huge in the background or to the side, and the people being smaller. We love those shots.

  • How about a quilt theme? Something classic…like the wedding ring pattern! ;)

    • DanEllie

      I love this idea – you can do a range of color options or block patterns and riff on stitching people’s lives together!

  • SpaceElephant

    Oh, please please please make grown-up baby shower invites and announcements. Baby showers are parties for adults, not babies, so I will never understand why it’s all pink and blue and blocks and animals. If I see one more silhouette of a pregnant woman in a sexy dress and heels I might scream. I threw a baby shower for a coworker recently and longed for invites/stationery/paper products that had a deep, rich color palette and interesting graphics. More nature, fewer toys. Seedlings, non-cutesy baby woodland animals, patterns. Awesome fonts that aren’t scripts or comic sans. Oh my god, I would give my right eye for a rock-music-poster style baby announcement. You know, if/when that time comes.

    • JEM

      A rockabilly studded baby announcement would just make my friend and her hubby’s day. I’m beaming just thinking about it.

  • Victwa

    My fiancé and I are all about long-distance running on trails. Long, long trails. And yes, there are tons of metaphors about journeys and marriage and the ups and downs of a 50 or 100 mile trail race (you know, there will be highs and lows and enjoying the journey and not just trying to get to the end and knowing yourself and blah blah blah…). So… I would love to find wedding invites that worked for us. Mountains, trails, lakes, trees. Actually, we’re getting married in the coastal mountains of California (behind Santa Barbara) and I’d LOVE to find invites that suggested the terrain of the Los Padres Mountains. (Ok yeah, probably a little specific for everyone else….)

    • Victwa

      Well, ok, so that was more wedding-y than party invite. But still. It could work for a party. You know, like a camping party? Actually– a campout is a good theme too.

  • In honor of APW and the recent success with Yay! NY, I’d suggest that perhaps no party invitation suite is complete without something piñata and/or confetti themed.

    • meg

      Well played Maddie. Now I’m going away again, goodbye.

  • Janelle

    Ok. So I was just chatting with my fiance about if we were to throw a party, what kind of invite would suggest the kind of party we want to have (convoluted, I know…). Anyway, fiance IMMEDIATELY said “pop-ups”. And I was like, well that won’t work…But actually, I think a grown up variation of a pop-up invite for a bridal shower or a his and hers bachelor-type party would be amazing. (Haha I just asked the boy what would pop up for a bachelor party and he is all-“a stripper”. HAH. So probably not that…(he’s kidding btw)). But maybe pop up lingerie for a lingerie shower, or pop up champagne bubbles for a rehearsal dinner, or pop up umbrellas, because I love umbrellas. Ok sorry I sound like I’m five…

    • Janelle, I so wish I could do pop-ups! But since what we do is create printable files, that would mean that you guys would be the ones to do all the cutting and pasting, which needs to be pretty exact. I think it would probably be too much for people to handle, but I wanted to let you know how much I agree with you. Pop-ups should exist.

      • Kinzie Kangaroo

        But you know, this makes me wonder if it is possible to do this — I think it could be! It would have to be a simple pop up, of course, but if there was just one line where you had to cut, and then that part folded in the opposite direction… Hmmmm it makes me want to go home and try it so that I can take a picture or something. Guhhh now I want to make wedding pop up invitations.

  • Erin with an E

    Oooh, I would love to see invitations featuring a tropical rain forest and kinkajous hanging from trees (as opposed to all the tropical beaches that seem to dominate “destination” weddings) or inspired by the beautiful textiles and bird embroidery of Guatemala. Ah yes, that may just be me…

    I second Faith’s suggestion about Redwoods, particularly in grove form. I just love that you are standing in the middle of one tree (clones!), and they create their own foggy ecosystem. Bonus points for red and white mushrooms growing at the base!

  • Mallory

    That invitation with the silverware is to die for. I want to hang it on my wall.

    For some reason I feel like no summer bbq or party is complete without a jello mold and feel like that could be a pretty sweet invitation. Something colorful with perhaps a bit of 50’s flair.

    Also I think brightly colored sketch of a mom and baby giraffe would be pretty stinking cute for anything baby related.

    I love all the stuff with feathers on it too, it’s a bit trendy right now, but I love the architecture of feathers.

    • Jen M

      there’s a set that’s called let them eat cake, but the colors kind of lend themselves to looking jello mold-ish…IMO

  • Another Leah

    Invitations with cute, cartoon-y hedgehogs partying it up!!! I’ve had sooo much trouble finding anything like that! I’m trying to use hedgehogs as part of our theme for our wedding, but they don’t seem to be the woodland creatures that most designers use for paper products.

    Thanks for doing this. Your designs are gorgeous!

  • Jen M

    I love the love symbols you do for wedding invites. It would be nice to have something like that where the animals are mix and match. I have a squirrel and a bird in my imagination.

    Or for baby invites/announcements if you had various mom/dad and baby animals. I agree with the no-cheese factor and keep the same classic illustration feel to it.

  • Jennie

    I DESPERATELY want wedding announcements in dark navy with a fireworks theme. No one makes anything close. And in general it seems really hard to find darker-colored paper stationery.

  • Erin

    Two words: Red barns. Photographs can be done well, but not for an invitation. A graphic would class it up.

  • More funky baby announcements. I am not particularly sweet or twee, why would I want a baby annoucnement covered in pastel hearts? (Nothing *wrong* with pastel hearts, of course. They’re just not US at all…) Bold font, dark colours… Picture of a new baby would really pop.

  • North

    1. Ernst Haeckel-style sea creatures: jellyfish, radiolaria, the crazy-looking sea sponges. I like the idea of a huge jellyfish with tentacles that wrap around the text, or a trio of symmetrical creatures along the bottom, or one of the ones that looks like a constellation as the background, or….?

    2. Huge animal/tiny animal. You have the bear & bird image already, or a rhinoceros and a butterfly or a wolf (you know that pose wolves/dogs get when they’re investigating a smaller&younger potential friend?) and a duckling or an elephant and a fox cub? you could even do several of these like the personalizable animals. I think this would make a rad baby announcement.

    3. Vintage (1800s) train ads. Something like this? I also like this 1920s timetable ( although there’s a lot of ink on there.

    4. Or, more generally, using trains as the inspiration: you could use the giant wheels and the smokestack as detail bits for a coordinating thank you card or a whole train going through some mountains for a larger card? I like trains because you can get some interesting industrial-looking images out of the wheels and details or zoom out and get something cute.

    5. A huge California valley oak with a party up in the tree. People sitting on branches drinking out of champagne flutes and little lanterns and stuff. You could do this either large scale or focus on a small section of the tree.

    Maybe these are too specific, but it’s what I thought of!

    • FawMo

      Yes to trains!

  • There are basically zero Buddhist party invites out there. I looked high and low for a Buddhist-ish wedding invitation and aside from some lame lotus flower designs in colors that were totally not my wedding colors, nothing.

    Given how trendy lululemon and all things yoga / Buddhist / etc. these days I was surprised that there wasn’t anything in this vein when it came to party invites.

    Anyway — just a thought! Then I could selfishly use the design for my annual Thai New Year’s brunch :) hee hee

  • Caroline

    A chicken. Or a cow, but a chicken is better. I know, it sounds weird, but as a chef and foodie, to me, having a chicken or a cow on a party invitation would be the best. I’d use it for everything! Why? Because between a chicken and a cow, it’s relevant to almost everything (except a hog roast, and because I don’t eat pork, I prefer to avoid pigs as food imagery on events I host). Birthday party with hamburgers? Check. Chicken soup bring your own veggie to add party? Check. Engagement party or rehearsal dinner? Heck yes!!

    So, having established my huge chicken fandom, I’m thinking a big red rustic chicken, on an otherwise fairly plain card. A sort of…. filigree-y chicken. Yes, I just asked for filigree-y rustic red chicken party invitations. Please? I’d use them as often as I could afford. Ooooohhhhh, could you also sell them without words also, and I could print them to use as stationary? I would LOVE that.

  • I am coming out of about nine months of lurk-dom* to comment on this contest because I love these designs so much and would love to see even more of them.

    I’m pretty obsessed with food, but trying to learn to switch that obsession to healthy food, so I think invitations that feature fruits (or even vegetables?!) on them would be really fun. I particularly like the idea of citrus, in part because I live in California, but also because the cross-section of citrus fruit is so graphically appealing. Plus, the colors of oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are vibrant and work nicely together. Of course, other items like apples, cherries, pomegranates, tomatoes, watermelons, artichokes (I could go on and on) have lovely graphic qualities as well.

    *I’m shy and also not married or engaged to be, although I have a great boyfriend.

    • Ooh, I like the citrus cross-section idea a lot for summery parties!

  • Another Thea

    Oh my goodness, when you said “tea party” I squealed out loud! I used to LOVE having tea and conversation parties with friends in college, because we were all broke and it was an excellent excuse for socializing and eating sweet things. I feel as if groups of really fancy bone china tea cups has kind of been done, but what about, say, seedycake, or some giant confection thing? Or a collection of teaspoons, arranged in a fan or something? Or just go for broke with a teacup design, or a coffeepot (you know, the tall fancy one) looking down at a teapot.

    Looking at these suggestions, they sound kind of weird to me, but I do so love tea parties! So I’ll risk it.

  • Mia Culpa

    You know, one of the things that I lovity-love are board games. I love to throw board game & booze parties, and I love the strong graphic elements of classic games.

    I also love me some food. Gorgeous produce makes me weak in the knees.

  • Amanda

    I would really like Hawaiian-themed invites that aren’t tacky/cheap, but either tacky in a 50’s ironic tiki bar way, or totally classy and beautiful, with pretty pictures of birds-of-paradise. My fiancee is from Hawaii, and we’re having a wedding at a tropical flower conservatory, but there were no nice invitations for that theme if you discount the hibiscus ones, which were all tacky and far too beach-party for us.

    I also think there aren’t enough invitations with classy or funky animals on them. I have a doxon, and a little shillohuette of a doxon or two on a card would be totally cute without going into the tacky territory. These would be great for baby showers, dog birthday parties, etc. And some cute but funky mom and baby animals, in non-pastel colors, would be great for baby showers as well.

  • We’re about to buy a TV. Like, you know, a giant kind of television that has to hang on the wall because it’s soooooo big. And I’ve never been a fan of having a huge TV, but my partner has won me over with the following:

    We are now going to have regular movie nights for which we will cook related food for the movie that we’ll be watching. So, for Amelie, we’ll make French food, for Moulin Rouge, we’ll drink absinthe, and for a Harry Potter movie, we’ll make butterbeer and other various magical food. Of course, for the Little Mermaid, we will eat all of our food with dinglehoppers. :)

    In any case, it would be a dream come true to have an invitation for our movie nights, preferably an invite involving a pun or a clever play on words because I just can’t get enough — Kimi, I leave this creativity in your brilliant hands.

  • I love your invites, and we’re thinking of going with Into the Woods :-) But what I really wish is that you had one with, like, pine trees. We’re doing a winter wedding, and I want something that is a little Christmas-y without being Christmas. But that’s totally not a party.

    In terms of a party invite, gosh, I really like the idea of having more adult-like, classic looks with a little twist. So I second the folks who want a not-super-kiddy baby shower invite or a bachelorette party invite that isn’t skanky.

  • How about artichokes? They are so hearty and wonderful..and I think they would make elegant wedding/shower invitations.. I think a small gold artichoke could be fancy a top an elegant invitation.. A larger sketched artichoke could be for a more casual affair. Being a nutritionist, I love vegetables!

    Another thought is, color blocking!

    Various vintage lace patterns in different colors…

  • Victwa

    Back again! I just looked at your “Field Gardens” blog, and quite honestly, anything you put up there could be an invitation. (Although I am partial to artichokes, it’s true.) I mean, what’s not to love about:

    Water lilies
    Snuffulapegi (plural, you know)
    Cabins of all sorts
    Okra flowers

    And because I’m still stuck on my whole Southern California Foothills/Mountains idea:

    Matilija Poppies (SO awesome! Big! Like fried eggs!)
    Rock formations

  • Caroline

    Amen to the baby shower invites for adults. Or at least adults who do not exclusively dress themselves at Laura Ashley.

    I like the idea of a book theme – either vintage-y looking stacks of children’s books, or a play on the nameplate of a classic children’s book with some sort of hand drawn image in the centre (less Beatrix potter, more Phantom Tollbooth?) Although, copyright issues?

    Or some sort of a travel theme – like a handdrawn map, vintage suitcases, or vintage postcard-like.

    And I love the Pinata idea – for Team Practical and personal reasons. I am having *subject to convincing my mother of the awesomeness of this* a margarita themed baby shower. Because virgin margaritas (for me, I would never subject others to them) are almost as delicious, and pair well with the enchiladas I never get to eat in Ireland. America, I miss you and your Tex-Mex.

    • Kayakgirl73

      Caroline, I Love the idea of a book theme. You could have a version suitable for adult parties and the version featuring children’s books for a baby shower.

  • KK

    1) I’d love to see origami themed invites. Or just using the idea of paper folds in the design.

    2) A lantern festival design (where the lanterns are released into the sky) would also be great. It’s really whimsical feeling to me.

    3) An invitation with a kind of peak through a keyhole type of idea. Like the person that receives it is looking through a crack in a door or a keyhole or something to see something awesome. This isn’t the clearest idea, but think of standing on the other side of the wall and peaking into the secret garden.

  • Hello to everyone, there are a TON of fabulous ideas here, I cannot believe how lucky I am to hear from you all. We will have a tough time slimming it down to one choice—we’ll announce the winner next week upon Meg’s return, and I will create the design within two weeks after that.

    And yes to all those people dying for baby shower invitations and birth announcements that are not sappy. They are already in the works.

  • Contessa

    Holy Cow the last invitation with the vintage silverware is amazing. I finally found something that speaks to the etiquette dork in me. I love tables set with 7 forks that no one can identify.

  • KC

    My lovely fiance is letting me take the reigns for most of the wedding planning, but the area he really cares about (besides the food, of course!) is anything involving the music. He is passionate about music-listening to it, making it, reading about it-and I’m trying to think of other ways to incorporate music into our wedding for him. I think we’re going to have our guests sign vinyl records as our guestbook, but I thought music-inspired invitations would be fantastic. Maybe a pattern involving vinyl records and a record player, or a really fantastic guitar…something like that. It may even help him get into selecting the invitations!

  • We ordered the Woodland Love invites last year and I looooooooooooooved them. They made me so happy. Also, thank you for making colorful-but-not-pink baby girl shower invites. I personally would love to see anniversary or retirement party invites – especially a travel themed invite, since so many people talk about seeing the world after they retire. My sister and I really want to throw my parents a travel themed anniversary party one of these years, but I’ve never seen an invite that is really something I would want to use. Although a travel themed party invite (with old-world style maps or a boarding pass on it) would go over big generally – you could do travel themed bridal shower invites, or a travel themed rehearsal dinner…so many APWers are big into traveling, I think it would go over really well.

  • Genevieve

    Man, I could totally go for some invitations for my Godzilla party in January. We’re gonna dress like dinosaurs and smash cardboard boxes painted to look like buildings.
    Too specific? I’ll generalize. The world needs more invitations for adults to do childish (but awesome!) things.

  • Nishi

    I am planning to decorate my wedding with vegetables (in addition to complementary flowers) for a vegetable/Farmer’s Market -themed wedding. Most invitations I have seen with these search terms assume you are having your wedding in a barn. Our wedding is in a loft space in NYC and I would LOVE an invitation suite with botanical drawing-inspired vegetables: A simple, elegant artichoke line drawing with an accompanying tomato, carrot or eggplant RSVP (or other more suitable drawn veggies).

  • It is unique idea to decorate with vegetables, I am eager to see the actual look when it happens.

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