November 28, 2018

Review of Basic Invite Custom Samples


I’ve been a Basic Invite partner since 2017 and a couple of my clients have ordered wedding invitations through them. This year I got to sample their online holiday cards for myself. Full disclosure here, I was paid to write a blog post about that experience (with minimal guidance). My first ever sponsored post, woo!

Did I lose you already? This sponsored post comes with perks: using my name gets you 40% off your order.

If you're not going to order holiday cards, you might still be entertained by my attempts at photographing cards. My parents didn't say anything when I covered their dining room table with Christmas lights and cookie cutters, and then stood on a chair to photograph the mess, cursing product photography as the minutes passed. Mom brought me some books from the coffee table to help keep the paper flat. My parents are angels.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Online Design Process

Honestly, I had a lot of much fun making these sample cards using my photos and Basic Invite’s holiday card designs. There were hundreds of beautiful designs to choose from, but I wasn’t overwhelmed, as I often am by options (#realtalk, how does anyone know which toothpaste to buy these days?). Under the Holiday tab I filtered by number of photos and number of folds, and that helped to narrow them down.

I was seriously impressed by the way I could customize the color palettes of my cards. Basic invite offers over 180 different color options. Originally, this design had a lighter red and a brown in its color palette. I changed it to have a red and dark green that matched the photo I was using. Many of the cards also come with foil options - silver, gold, or rose gold in flat or raised options.

Yes, this is me being a sassy older sister. Sorry, Monica. I just love this photo of you.

Single Fold vs. No Fold

You’ll notice that the border is a little bit off on these cards. Maybe I got a bad batch, but the folds weren’t very precise, and overall I was disappointed in the single fold cards. There are only about 50 folded designs to choose from. Looking back, I wish I had ordered a two fold option as well to see how those come out. I would guess that cards without folds are Basic Invite’s focus and therefore a stronger product. (Am I allowed to be critical in sponsored posts?)

Edit: Basic Invite read my post and noticed that the folded cards I ordered were using a template that's nearly a decade old and not up to their current standards. The template has since been fixed. Not only that, they are reprinting my order and sending me new cards because every order through Basic Invite is guaranteed! I am so impressed and will update you again when I receive the new cards.

Paper Quality

I ordered one of each of the different paper options offered: Signature Matte, Double Thick Matte, Smooth Coated, Premium Shimmer, and Luxe Velvet. Naturally, I preferred the most expensive option. The Double Thick Matte paper made the cards substantial  — something I was more likely to save. I especially loved this for the office holiday cards that included a 2019 calendar on the back. It’s something I would keep on my desk all year.

Above, find my attempt to photograph the thickness of the two matte options. Below, admire the 2019 calendar, and my parents' tabletop.

The Smooth Coated option was the best for photo accuracy. The other paper styles affected the clarity of the print. To my "highly trained" eye (staring closely in good lighting), the matte papers made the photos a little fuzzier than I’d like. Pictured below is the Luxe Velvet on top of Smooth Coated, which is conveniently not quite so sharp in this photo because...aperture, or something. That's a joke — I promise I know what I'm doing.

The Premium Shimmer option makes the photos grainy. If shimmery is your thing, they deliver. I was not a big fan. (Scroll five images up to see another example of Premium Shimmer and Monica's cute face again.)

You, too, can order custom samples to see how your prints will come out and feel the paper yourself. This is one of the perks of using Basic Invite for your photo personalized Christmas cards. Please do let me know if you disagree with my evaluation of the paper options. I’d love to hear how yours turn out.

I had a deadline for posting this and I’m a procrastinator so I ended up paying for expedited shipping to get them here in time. The cards actually arrived four days earlier than the site estimated, which was awesome. Check plus for shipping time.

A quick story behind this photo — that's my mom there on the bottom left. I did a photo booth for her real estate marketing group's holiday party last year. At the end, everyone squeezed in and took this silly group photo. You can see what a fun crowd they were!

Envelope Features

I was able to customize my cards down to the envelope color and lining (foil options available)! All the envelopes are peel and seal so you can close them quickly and securely, and your tongue won't dry out from licking them, hah.

One feature I didn’t get to test is Basic Invite’s address capturing service. When ordering cards (not just samples), customers can share a link with friends and family requesting mailing addresses. This service automatically stores the addresses and lets you select from them during the design process. The envelopes you order come with recipients' addresses printed right on them.

This is a huge time-saver! I once mailed over a thousand invitations: stuffing envelopes, sealing them, stamping them, and addressing them, all by hand. A whole group of sorority sisters and I spent hours and hours on the project, so I can say first-hand that this is a service I would pay good money for. Basic Invite offers it at no extra cost.

I did get to sample the return address feature. The text printed straight on the envelopes looks much nicer than any labels you might print and adhere yourself.

This is a fake address, by the way. Don’t try stalking my clients.

Aren't they cute, though? I love the back of this card. It was so fun to include 12 additional photos of the great candid moments we captured during our session.

Here they are again with a cookie cutter and more of those colored tiles you've probably been curious about this whole time.

My mom kept about 100 of these tile samples from one of her first jobs in retail. My sister and I played with them growing up and I have loads of memories associated with them. One was the exact color and sheen of our cat's fur. They live on my parents' coffee table now, and I decided they deserved to be in this shoot because they are likely responsible for my color matching skills. (Okay, and because they were close at hand.)

Clearly I'm rambling now, so let's get to the part you've been scrolling for.


Use my code and receive 40% off your holiday card order this year. Bonus: the same code will get you 20% off all non-holiday orders.