By Robin Zusmann

Invitations give the necessary details about your simcha, but they also set a tone for your upcoming event, get your guests excited, convey a theme and even serve as a keepsake. So what’s popular in printing these days?

A current market trend is the desire to preserve our environment. Invitations can be printed on eco-friendly papers, including all cotton or paper with recycled content. Some families are sending response postcards without envelopes and using a single outer envelope, scrapping the inner envelope traditionally used for wedding invitations.

Shiny papers are growing in popularity, including the use of laminated papers. Texture is also being seen in more invitations. Sparkle and shine are often important to 12- and 13-year-old girls. Crystals can be added in a multitude of colors, or glitter or shiny paper can be used to boost the glitz and glamour.

Boys’ invitations are getting brighter. While dark shades used to be the choice for every bar mitzvah invitation, fun colors are showing up more and more often. Think orange, red or lime green accompanying the traditional navy, silver or charcoal.

Bold color combinations are eye-catching and make a statement. Even neon colors are moving onto invitations. Many girls are passing on pinks in favor of Tiffany blue, aqua and turquoise with hot pink or purple.

The ability to use different printing processes makes your imagination the only limiting factor. Although traditional thermography printing is still popular, advances in silk screening and digital printing have made it possible to print light and bright colors on dark backgrounds and use multiple colors on a single invitation.

It used to be that a square shape was a dramatic change from the traditional rectangle. Now there are no shape rules, giving invitations a distinctive look. Die cutting and laser cutting are two of the hottest trends, enabling almost any shape to be used — from scalloping or rounding invitation edges to cutting a name or design out of a top layer to allow another color or texture (think glitter) to pop through.

You can even have an invitation shaped as your child’s name or initial.

Acrylic, thin plastic, board invitations (layers of paper bonded together to make an invitation as thick as you like) and hand-painted edges are gaining in popularity because of the statement they make when the invitation is opened.

Today’s hosts want an invitation that is unique and stands out.

Logos are in right now. You can use them throughout your invitation or on custom-printed envelope liners to reinforce your event theme in an understated way. Your logo can also be used on seating cards, printed napkins, save-the-date notices and more. If you have an idea, it can happen.

The majority of families are still sending paper response cards for b’nai mitzvah and weddings. The use of the cards reflects the more formal nature of these events compared with a casual birthday party. It’s also easy for those who cannot attend to put a gift check inside the reply envelope if they wish.

RSVPs are still traditionally mailed, even if printed on a postcard.

Event cards supplying hotel and additional weekend information are usually included for out-of-town and family guests. Websites and QR codes are gaining popularity as families develop informational websites with everything from directions to more detailed information about a mitzvah project or how a couple met.

It is nice to know that even in our electronic world, in which an email or text is the norm for communication, a handwritten note is still de rigueur for thanking your guests for being a part of your simcha and for their gifts.

With all of the options in papers, finishes, cuts and printing techniques, you can get an invitation that is as unique as the mitzvah child or wedding couple. Your invitation vendor can help you create the perfect invitation that reflects your individual style.

Robin Zusmann is the owner of Paper Matters LLC, a personalized printing and consultation service.