In Any Event 

Invitation opens event experience

The MoxVegas winter party invitation
The MoxVegas mid-winter party invitation

Creating eye-catching, attention-grabbing printed invitations – from colors that pack a punch to fonts that expertly match the tone of the occasion – is a critical step in the event planning process.

Setting the tone for your event begins the moment a guest tears into the envelope or peers at the postcard, and the invitation is revealed.

Michelle Henry, an account manager at Moxley Carmichael, knows a thing or two about invitation design and capturing the attention of potential attendees. Henry, who has more than 20 years of event planning experience, always focuses on first creating the perfect envelope.

Michelle Henry
Michelle Henry

Henry recalls planning an event for a flag exhibit. Knowing this event would be somewhat challenging to attract guests, she let her creativity spring into action. Needing a teaser on the outside, Henry opted for a lighthearted riddle on the front that would prompt guests to open the envelope and see what was inside.

Henry says, “It is imperative that you differentiate an invitation from sales material, because there is so much junk mail floating around.

“You really need people to take notice of yours and set it apart from the rest of their mail.”

A great concept and the design skills to make it happen will result in the perfect invitation, one that both promotes the event and helps to achieve the desired turnout.

But where does this process start? The answer is in the brainstorming room.

Erica Beck, a Moxley Carmichael graphic designer, knows an effective brainstorm session includes immersing yourself in the process. Committed to turning a client’s vision into design reality, Beck uses the session to target the event theme.

Erica Beck
Erica Beck

“Brainstorming is key,” says Beck, who is closing in on a decade of design experience. “We need a concept and a theme first. A client often will have a vision in mind, and it is important that we take that vision, brainstorm ideas and then zero in on several favorites.

“This allows us to look at visuals and graphics while we establish a direction.”

Beck remembers the “MoxVegas” invitation – a personal favorite. Moxley Carmichael was planning its annual mid-winter party and found a particularly fun play on words. The name set the tone and underscored the lighthearted nature of the occasion.

Sticking with signature Knoxville- and Vegas-themed images, Beck created an invitation that was engaging and fun.

Using branded colors is another important aspect of invitation design. This spring, Beck was tasked with creating an invitation for a welcome reception for new University of Tennessee men’s basketball coach, Donnie Tyndall.

Leather & Diamonds invitation for a motorcycle charity ride sponsored by Pilot.
The Leather & Diamonds invitation for a motorcycle charity ride sponsored by Pilot definitely was eye-catching.

“We used the branded Tennessee orange and high-quality materials to accurately reflect the tone and significance of the event,” Beck says. “Also, it can be time-consuming, but we typically hand-address all invitations. We want to make it as personal as possible for the guests.”

All of these details are part of what makes an event a special and memorable affair. But it also is imperative to focus on the functional aspects.

Beck noted, “You want it to be eye-catching, but having the correct information on an invitation is a priority. Make sure all of your details are correct before sending it out. Parking, location, time, date, RSVP information, all of these are of vital importance.”

The Knoxville Area Urban League invitation featured a sleeve with a 'record' to highlight the entertainment act.
The Knoxville Area Urban League’s annual gala invitation featured a sleeve envelope with a ‘record’ to highlight the entertainment act.

Fantastic invitations are the cornerstone of any great event. Unleashing your creativity and collaborating with others create the perfect environment to achieve a standout invitation concept.

One last piece of advice?

Listen to Henry: “Keep it fun! Remember, it’s a party!”

Savanna Howie is an intern at Moxley Carmichael and is majoring in political science and communication studies at the University of Tennessee. She loves shelter dogs, coffee, yoga and UT football.




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