March 15, 2010

How to Design the Perfect Invitation

We finally threw our Fancy Nancy party! Despite needing to change the date (twice), we had 8 lovely little ladies come to help us celebrate. This week I'll be sharing with you all the little details that made our party a success, starting with the invitation.

In my past life I was (and still am, albeit very part-time) a graphic/web designer. I use Photoshop for most of my design work, but much of this you could do with any design program, including PowerPoint. Here's how I designed this invitation...

1. Google what is already out there.
Google Images is a great place to start. I typed in Fancy Nancy invitation and was greeted with hundreds of examples. I modeled mine off of another invitation I found at I really liked her polka dot border, so I googled pink polka dot pattern. I set the image I found as a pattern and filled in the rectangle, layering smaller yellow and white rectangles to finish the border.

2. Scan images from the book.
If possible, look for images that are already surrounded by white space, making it easier to crop. This picture of Fancy Nancy jumping was perfect. You always want people facing into your design, so flip the image if necessary.

3. Use free clip art or stock images when you can.
I didn't need to use them this time, but I wanted to share with you my favorite stock photography site: Stock.XCHNG. The site is a community of photographers who willingly give their work for free use. It's now owned by Getty Images, but the images are still free once you sign up.

4. Choose a fun font.
There are oodles of free font websites out there, my favorite two being and I looked for two different fonts, one that mirrored the "NANCY" on the cover of the book and one that mimicked the distinctive writing inside the books. Always put the essential part of the invitation (time, place, etc.) in a clear, basic font.

5. Be creative with your wording.
Again, this is where googling other similar-themed invitations came in handy. I found the "Ooh La La!" and the "soiree" reference on other invitations, as well as the "have your mommy call my mommy."

6. Save as an image and print out from MS Word.
Whatever program you create your invitation in, you should be able to export as a jpg or tiff. Just try file->save as. If not, try hitting "print screen" on a PC and "command-shift-4" on a mac. This will create an image file of your screen that you can then place in Word, crop, and resize.

If graphic design isn't your thing, don't worry. The rest of the week I'll be going over completely analog methods of decorating and throwing the perfect Fancy Nancy party! 

Edited to add: Here's a blank invitation if you'd like to save the file and use for yourself. Just click on this image to view the large file. Right click and hit save as!

I'm linking up to:


  1. I love this invite! So cute, fun, and girly!
    great tips. I also googled to make our invites for out little guys b-day... I love the internet! : )

  2. Cute! Looking forward to seeing more pics.

  3. Such a great post! Our brains are seriously linked somehow... :)

  4. Here is another good site I said I would pass along.

  5. I'm getting caught up on blog reading again. I adore these invitations. I'm totally going to steal your ideas in about 4 years. I hope Fancy Nancy is still a big hit with the little girlies.

  6. Wow, thank you so much! I was searching for a boarder and found this. I then created my own version with different wording and used the Tapioca font that is used in the book.

  7. I would love to use your blank invitation as I am so hopelessly technologically challenged. I went to the websites that you suggested for the fonts. I was looking for the one to write my daughter's name just like "Nancy" on the outside of the books, but I couldn't find it. There were so many, that it was so overwhelming. Would you be able to give me more specifics on how to find that particular font? Thank you so much!

  8. I'm afraid I don't remember what font I ended up using, but I googled it for you and found this: Maybe that will help!

  9. Thank you so much for posting your invitation. I'm in Australia and it is hard to find Fancy Nancy stuff! Looking forward to hosting a party for my daughter's 5th birthday. Thanks Again : )

  10. Thank you for making life just that much easier for me.


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