Whether transitioning from high school to higher education or from college to a new career, a stunning announcement to let people know you’ve completed a leg of your academic journey is an ideal way to mark a noteworthy milestone. While graduation announcements are commonly done by professional graphic artists, many people opt to design and print their own. If you’re one of those people we’ve pulled together a list of five resources complete with affiliate links that will help you to achieve your D.I.Y. goals.
When considering photography, leaving the work to a professional is ideal, but doing it well yourself is completely doable. Mapping out your trek to great photos includes having clear goals about what you want them to look like, educating yourself about the basics and getting access to the equipment you’ll need to achieve photos you’ll love. This post contains affiliate links.
Decide what you want
Start by figuring out how you want your final photos to look. Search stock photo websites for portrait-style photos. Determine what you like about the photo then use similar staging and adjust your camera settings to try to achieve a similar look and feel.
Learn the basics
Take an online course. Websites like Creative Live, and Lynda offer courses that explain everything from Lighting 101 to Photoshop.
Get yourself a camera
If you haven’t already, you’ll want to rent or purchase a good camera. Entry level cameras like the Canon EOS Rebel T6i and the Nikon D3300 can both yield impressive photographs. Also, keep in mind that a good lens can mean the difference between a mediocre photograph and a stunning one. A 50mm lens is a good starter lens for editorial-style portraits. If you’re the graduate and you’re taking own photos, be sure to use a remote control shutter release that’s compatible with your camera. If you opt for an indoor shoot or don’t have sufficient natural light, consider investing in an affordable lighting kit.
2. At least one proofreader besides you
Even if you’re pretty confident about your writing skills, a second set of eyes (a professional or just a friend who pays lots of attention to detail) can help to prevent costly mistakes before you go to print. On websites like Fiverr, Upwork and Elance, freelancers who specialize in everything from proofing to copy writing often offer up their skills for a nominal fee.
3. Design software
Despite the learning curve they may pose for the graphic design novice, industry standard creative software applications like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign each have a unique set of attributes that will enable you to create beautiful announcements. The online course websites mentioned above also offer beginning courses on these applications. If you’re not quite ready to take on Adobe applications, you can use any common desktop publishing application. Microsoft Word, Publisher and PowerPoint are all suitable for designing your announcement. If you’re not sure how to conceptualize from scratch, templates are a great place to start.
Fonts can make or break a design. If you decide to use common fonts like Arial, Calibri or Georgia, use formatting tools to tweak font sizes and thicknesses to make blocks of text more or less prominent. If you would like your design to be a little more unique, you can install more decorative fonts. Resources like Google Fonts and FontBundles offer a variety of impressive free and affordable fonts.
If you opt to print at home a couple of printers that come highly recommended include the Epson Artisan 1430 Inkjet Printer and the Canon PIXMA PRO-100 which prints on card stock (up to 110 lb). Both printers rank highly when reviewed for their ability to print items like announcements and invitations. Using a good quality paper goes a long way when printing at home and can improve your results substantially.
If you prefer to avoid printing on your personal printer you can always employ the services of a professional print house. Online printers such as Overnight Prints, Vista Print, Club flyers and PS Prints boast quick turnaround times, affordable rates and user-friendly interfaces that make your designs easy to upload, pay for and ship.
If you’d prefer a little more attention, check local independently-owned printers or popular franchises like Fed Ex Office or the UPS Store. Local printers offer the added benefit of in-person communication which enables you to oversee the printing process more thoroughly.
Finally, producing your own attractive graduation announcement is a meticulous process but is achievable with the right resources. Furthermore, by doing it yourself you produce an endearing keepsake that will hold personal value far beyond that special day.