Because invoices are such a regular, recurring part of doing business, most people don’t think much about invoice design. And that’s fine, a simple invoice still gets the job done. But when you do put in a little extra effort and create a unique invoice design, people notice.
A well-designed, on-brand invoice engages clients one last time before you part ways, but also increases your chances of seeing them again. Take a look below at the amazingly unique ways small businesses are branding their invoices. You can find invoice design inspiration by looking at how brands like yours are making their invoices—or their letterheads and stationery they’re printed on—stand out with great design.
In-your-face invoice design ideas
Nobody wants to chase down invoices that clients “lost” or “forgot to pay,” so save yourself the headache. Make it harder for clients to miss your invoices… by making them unmissable—and unforgettable.
Punchy invoices feel like they’re shouting the contents for the whole world to hear. They’re not for the faint-hearted, but rather bold and brazen brands that aren’t afraid to stand out and demand attention.
With any invoice design, clarity is key. It’s not effective if your design is so busy that the client can’t find the bottom line, where to send payments, due dates, etc. In fact, if a cool design gets in the way of the payment terms and your client finds themselves facing a late fee or a service charge they didn’t know about, they’re not going to be happy… and that won’t reflect well on your brand. So if you decide to go bold with your invoices, make sure you keep clarity and readability as your top priorities, so nothing gets lost in the noise.
The eclectic-patterned invoice design below uses conversational language to make the invoicing process more like a quick chat than a stiff, formal transaction. The invoice itself is bold, but it’s a warm boldness that’s led with “Hello, this is your invoice” and completed with a “Thank you!” watermark across the bottom of the page.
Invoices that get straight to the bottom line
Minimalist doesn’t have to mean boring. In fact, it shouldn’t. Minimalism is clear and gets right to the point, which isn’t boring at all. When you’re invoicing, a design that cuts straight to the bottom line is often the clearest way to communicate.
In tadaam’s design for Safety Watch, a single color is used to guide the viewer through the invoice they receive. This single color highlights the key points of the invoice: the vendor’s name, the purpose of the invoice, the items billed and relevant bank details for the client.
This template is used in other documents that are issued to clients, like compliance notifications. In the compliance notifications, designer tadaam uses color to make the document’s purpose very clear—if the client’s property is non-compliant, critical information is in red. If the client’s property is compliant, this information is in green.
Two kinds of brands tend to go with minimalist designs: brands that focus on providing straightforward, to-the-point service and high-end brands that provide quality goods and top-tier service. The former uses them in a “what you see is what you get” kind of way; no surprises for the client. For the latter, a minimalist design says “we don’t have to justify our prices, you know you’re getting quality.”
The colors and fonts that brands use identify which of these two groups they fall into—with their luxe gold footer, the Paszt invoice below broadcasts their position at the top of their industry. Conversely, the Centrinet invoice uses cool blue and neutral gray to signal that they’re all about giving the customer exactly what they want, no surprises, no frills.
Invoice designs that make paying fun
Okay, so maybe paying your invoices isn’t ever going to be fun, but these custom invoices get as close to it as possible. For example, take designer choky art’s design for Steamworks. A steam-heating installation, restoration and service company isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for most people when they think of “fun.” But by giving their invoices a steampunk look, designer choky art makes them pleasantly stand out from all the other contractor bills their clients get.
Playful invoice designs are a fun choice for any creative entrepreneur, like an illustrator or a graphic designer. Illustrator Kevin Luong leans into his illustrating skills and gives his clients one last pop of playful with his custom, cartoony invoice design.
Unexpected invoice design inspiration
When you pay for a service, you expect an invoice. And when you get the invoice, you expect to see what you’ve been billed for. But what if you sent your clients something they weren’t expecting? No, we don’t mean hidden fees here, we mean an unexpectedly creative invoice.
Sending an invoice that’s unlike any your clients have seen before guarantees they’ll never forget you. Choosing a weird, unconventional invoice is a bold move, which makes it perfect for weird, unconventional brands. The origami bill design for Maaemo is part of a larger brand identity where everything, from the menu to the to-go bags, is made of folded paper.
Since most (or even all) of the invoices your clients receive tend to be pretty similar-looking, you don’t actually have to get too crazy to deliver something unexpected. Sure, you could invoice them by sending a barbershop quartet to their doorstop to sing them a bill ballad—but that’s time-consuming and everyone knows barbershop quartets aren’t cheap!
Instead, make your clients both smile and remember your brand with an invoice that’s still paper, but not the kind of paper document they’d expect. Just look at designer heribertus haryo’s old-school, grime-stained invoice design.
Custom invoice design pays off
Stop sending generic, boring invoices. Anybody can grab a plain invoice template and send it to their clients… but you’re not just anybody. Maybe you’re the fun option, or the bold option, or the unconventional option who always blows your clients’ minds with your groundbreaking approach to business. But the one thing you’re not is plain.
Hire a designer to create an invoice that’s uniquely you and guarantee your clients never forget your brand… or their outstanding balance!