Design a Fun Invoice Template with Illustrator and InDesign
You’re a designer: your invoices need not be boring! Follow this tutorial to set up a fun yet professional-looking invoice template using Adobe Illustrator and InDesign.
Here’s the finished invoice. It’s got a nice border reminiscent of envelopes, icons to mark the designer and the client info, a project thumbnail, nice typography and a clear layout.
Creating the border pattern
Open Illustrator and create a new A4 document with a 3 mm bleed area (click on Advanced if you don’t seee this option) (1a). The document is created with a traditional artboard and red guides to mark the bleed area (1b).
Create 4 horizontal stripes: one blue, one white, one red and another white one. Don’t just fill them with solid colors, they’re flat! Use light gradients instead to make them appear slightly rounded (2a). Group the 4 stripes together and place many copies until you have covered an area roughly twice as big as the artboard (2b).
Select all the stripes, hit Cmd+G to group them together then pick Transform > Shear from the right-click menu. Choose Vertical and -45° to make the pattern slanted (2c).
Create a rectangle as big as the bleed area on top of the stripes (3a). Shift-select the stripes and hit Cmd+7 to create a clipping mask. Now the stripes are cropped to the bleed area (3b).
Save the file as “border-pattern.ai”
Importing the pattern to InDesign
Open InDesign and hit Cmd+N to create a new document. Select the A4 size and set both the margins and the bleeds to 3 mm (4a). The document is created with the appropriate guides (4b).
In the Pages palette double-click on the A-Master thumbnail (5a). We want to create a template that can be applied to any page. Hit Cmd+D or choose Place from the File menu and select the “border-pattern.ai” file. Snap it to the bleed guides to place it in the document (5b).
Start organizing the Layers: the bottom layer contains the stripes and can be locked. Make a new layer and name it “page” (6a). Create a new white Rectangle and snap it to the margin (blue) guides (6b). Give it a thin black stroke too (6c).
Completing the master page
Create guides 1 cm off the border and write INVOICE at the top of the page (7a). Now set up guides and placeholder frames (on a separate layer) for the icons, the text frames, the project thumbnail and the table (7b). At the bottom of the page place your logo, a tagline to thank the client for his/her business and a dotted line for your signature (7c). The master page is complete (7d).
The designer icon
Go back to illustrator and create a new 48×48 px document. Turn on the grid and the snap features from the View menu. Create a vertical ellipse at the center top of the artboard (8a), filled with a skin-colored gradient (8b).
Below the head draw the neck (9a, 9b). Draw a light blue t-shirt, making sure it snaps to the neck (9c, 9d).
The hair (10a) snaps to the sides of the head (10b). Add some facial features (10c) and check the icon at 100% zoom. The designer icon is finished (10d).
The client icon
Let’s modify the previous icon to create a businessman, i.e. our client.
Create a V cut in the t-shirt and change it to a dark gray gradient to create the suit jacket (11a). Use a copy of the original t-shirt to create a white shirt under the jacket (11b).
Add a lapel (12a) and give it a Drop Shadow effect (12b) then mirror the other one (12c). Similarly draw the shirt’s collar (12d).
The tie is made with two simple trapezes filled with red gradients, darker where it meets the other garments (13a, 13b). The client icon is finished (13c).
Assembling the invoice
Back to InDesign create the text, images and table layers and start working on Page 1 of the document (14a). Place the icons in the document and snap them in place (14b).
Add text frames to contain the information regarding the designer and the client (15a). Create another text frame to contain the project details and import the project thumbnail (15b). The thumbnail has a light drop shadow to lift it from the page (15c).
Of course the text frames go on the text layer and the icons and the thumbnail on the images layer.
Don’t forget to add the invoice number at the top right corner (16a). Now we can hide the placeholder frames and see what we have so far (16b).
Create a text layer for the table, double-click it then go to Insert > Table. Set it up as in image 17a. Fill the header row with a desaturated medium blue and fill the remaining rows alternately with white and light blue (17b).
When you select a row you can set its text style from the option bar (18a). Start adding the column title and adjust the row’s height as you please (18b).
The cells containing the items need to be left-aligned, the quantity column center-aligned and the money sums right-aligned (19a, 19b). Complete the table by filling in the remaining information (19c).
Finishing the template
Zoom out and see that the tagline needs to be aligned with the table (20a) so do that (20b). You can add another text frame below the table and enter some notes, for example payment details (20c). The template is finished (20d).
We now have a master page that contains all the elements that never change (the page border, the title, the logo, the tagline and the guides) and a regular page with all the text and image elements that need to be edited each time we create an invoice.
After a few adjustments the same template can be used for estimates so you can have a pretty neat stationery consistent with your outlook. In fact I encourage you to use a page border that matches your company colors or website.
Another nice touch is to create a female icon for women clients (and of course for yourself if you’re a woman designer). I just made a generic white male icon here but of course you should make your icon look more like yourself by matching your hairdo, skin color and clothing style.
Have fun designing your templates and may they bring you a lot of good business!