At Harpoon we’ve always had the strong opinion that an invoice’s visual design should prioritize legibility and quick comprehension of data above all else.
From the very beginning of the product we’ve purposefully designed Harpoon’s invoices with a very minimal and utilitarian approach. With decades of experience billing our own clients we’ve seen first hand some of the problems an “overly designed” invoice can present to an innocent accounts payable department. And we wanted to avoid passing those problems on to Harpoon’s customers.
But over time one of the most requested features from Harpoon customers has been more invoice design options. Even so, we held the line for quite a while. Call us stubborn. But when redesigning Harpoon 3 we revisited the topic. And I think we’ve come up with some new design options that will help those of you looking for a bit more branding flexibility, while at the same time still “protecting” an invoice from some of the design pitfalls our own team has experienced in the past.
The Accent Bar - This provides the opportunity to display a custom image across the top of your invoices. We’re using the word “accent” on purpose. It’s not intended to be a large “hero” image that takes over the header of your invoice. Instead it’s designed to be an accent for your brand. For your company that might be a simple pattern, a solid color, or even a photographic image. And if you use the recommended image size (stated in your settings) we’ll make sure your Accent Bar displays razor sharp to your clients even on retina (HD) displays.
Brand Color - You can now set your company’s dominant brand color in your Harpoon settings and see that color applied to your invoices. Your brand color will be used for any line dividers in the invoice’s layout (e.g. dividing the invoice header from the line items, dividing the line items from the totals, etc.). Ideally your brand color will complement your accent bar.
Retina Logos - Yup, long overdue, but we’ve added retina (HD) support to the display of your company logo. Logos on Harpoon’s invoices have always displayed at a maximum height of 100 pixels, so simply re-upload your logo at a height of at least 200 pixels in order to achieve a sharp display on retina (HD) devices.
Font Customization - We’ll call this a “first step” to further font customization, but you can now choose between a Modern (sans serif) or Traditional (serif) font display on your invoices.
Custom Titles - If you don’t prefer the words “Invoice” or “Estimate” you can now edit the titles that appear at the top of your invoices and estimates. Especially handy for some of our international customers whose government laws dictate specific wording required for invoicing.
Rich Text Editing - We’ve added rich text editing to both the line item Description fields and the Notes field on your invoices and estimates. Talking with our customers, most of you seem to keep the content in these fields fairly simple. But there are some of you with robust content that could definitely benefit from rich text editing. That means being able to use bold, italics, line breaks, links, etc.
Most of these customization options are available on your Invoice & Estimate Settings screen. We’ve also added plenty of other new customization features for invoices, but those fall more into the “functional” category, not visual design. We’ll cover those new functional features in a separate post.
For now have fun experimenting with some of these new visual design options and let us know what you think!