Post card Printing: You now have all your raw materials at hand to make post cards for marketing and powerful communication – photographs, people, the post office. We’ll get to printing a little later. Professional printing postcard printing that is.
I really believe that while you can print a very nice post card on your inkjet, to make a splash, you need to have a small run of professionally printed postcards. But first let’s create your postcard masterpiece!
1) CREATE: Start with an outstanding photograph – one that has a clear message.
Most post cards are 6” x 4”, or a similar dimension, so choose a photo that is close to that size, or one that can be cropped without compromising your photographic composition.
Once you’ve got your photo, decide if you want it to go right to the edge of the card, or bleed, or if you want a white border. If you want your image to “bleed” off the page, you should use these templates to make sure you have enough around the edges, and just a little more that extends beyond. Here are some free Photoshop postcard layout templates you can download to make sure. (right click to download the zip file)
Most commercial printers will want 300 dpi and CMYK colors for printing post cards. In Photoshop you can go to Image>Image size to resize your photo. The you can go to Image>Mode on the menu and select your color palate. Unfortunately Photoshop Elements doesn’t have CMYK colors.
Photoshop also has a “constrain crop” tool, that lets you crop your postcard image exactly to these dimensions. So once your image is the right resolution (300 dpi and CMYK) and color space, you can crop it to the right dimensions. (Select the Crop tool from the tools palette and view the context menu at the top of the widow.) Set your dimensions and resolution -300 dpi)
Then open the postcard layout template and drag it into a new layer on top of your image, to see where your postcard edges will be. If all you see is the template, reduce its opacity to around 50%.
Some commercial Printers will have their own templates too, because depending on the printing equipment they use, they may not be able to ensure that text or graphics that are too close to the edge will be printed correctly.
Now you have your image at the right color and the right size. Save it as a new name. Remember that before you send the Printer the file, though, to delete the template layer or else it will get printed with your photo!
Nice to see yer back!
Now we’ll create the back of your post card. Tested post card marketing methods say it’s better to have only an image on the front, and save the text message for the back. So now we’ll create the back with room for text:
So save your postcard again with another new name, something like “marketing postcard back” and then delete your photograph layer. All you’ll have now is the template layer.
Create a new layer in Photoshop with whatever color background you want. And create a catchy slogan for the back. Here’s a traditional free postcard back template you can use, if you just want to add a handwritten note – a very nice touch by the way. And what makes getting a postcard so appreciated. This is what I use for 90% of my postcard marketing activities. (If you downloaded the templates from the link at the top of the page, you won’t need these – it’s the same file)
But if you’re going to use a printed text message, like a slogan or tagline as well, add your catchy high impact text using Photoshop’s text tool, and save your file. Make sure to delete the postcard layout template guides before you upload all this to the printer.
*If you want to create eye-catching vintage postards, I have a new Vintage Postcard Template Kit that contains all the elements to create a vintage antique postcard. **
Now your post card marketing campaign is ready to upload to the Printer.
2) PRINT your Post Cards – there are hundreds of places to check our for post card printing.
There are two common ways to print post cards, laser printing and offset printing. Laser is usually good for smaller orders, while offset is more economical for larger runs.
If you want to test a really really small run of postcards, try post card printing at Café Press – you don’t even need to buy any yourself. You just create the postcard images (front and back), upload it to the Café Press site, put it in a “storefront” and wait for someone to buy them!
Plus you get a commission when they do. You an even buy your own stuff at a significant discount. It’s a great way to see if your photo post card printing concept is popular or not, without spending any money!!!
Zazzle is also another great place to print a short run, or small batch of postcards, and sell them online for comissions. Lots of people make quite a good income this way!
You can also look on line for local printers in your city, or for big national “gang run” post card printers that specialize in printing marketing material for small businesses. Almost all these companies offer free samples of their work, so before you entrust your photographs with anyone, it’s worth it to do a bit of homework first.
Request a free sample pack. You may have seen the valentines postcards that I was selling earlier – I had these printed at VistaPrint, a national company with a location in Canada (bonus!) but also has worldwide locations. I use them all the time for printing and take advantage of their 50% Off All Postcards Specials.
One thing to be aware of – and this may not matter to you – some printers, in exchange for their very cheap printing prices, place their logo and URL on your post card. It’s usually fairly small but it is readable. (it IS advertising after all!). So, if this doesn’t sit well with you, make sure you read the fine print in the printer’s “contract.”
Once you’ve decide on your printer, it’s a simple to follow their steps and upload your images, request a “proof,” double and triple check spelling etc. (I’m notoriously bad for this – it’s pretty much impossible for me to proof read my own work. You’ve probably even found a few typos on this site! Blush).
Then make your order, pay with your credit card, UPLOAD YOUR PHOTO FILES, and wait for the mail to deliver your ultra cool print post cards. Sending your professionally printed post card will be the smartest thing you can do (all for under a dollar!)
Now you know all there is to know about post card printing! Send me one when you get yours done. 🙂
If you do decide to print your postcards on your inkjet printer, be sure your cartridges are full!
I made a decision to print about 200 postcards on my HP inkjet printer (mostly to save money but also to save time). Bad mistake!!! I ran out of toner half way through the project. And while one cartridge was running out the others were still full, so I got a horrible colour shift (since all three colours are needed to create the full variety of colour we see on the final print)
As I replaced one, sure enough, the next one died, so I had wasted about half of my original run of prints, just because I did not properly prepare.
Don’t wste your time if your going to print yourself, be prepared AND don’t go cheap! It will end up costing more.
Add More Value!
If your postcards are crying out for unique and one-of-a-kind photographs for your postcard marketing projects, contact me to buy the exact image you need. Our image library contains thousdands of nature and animal photos perfect for your most important communication projects. We can help you command more attention with our award-winning photographs.
You can also engage us to shoot custom images for your project – you get your exact image without the hassle of hunting through hundreds of sites, catalogues and galleries. Contact me to find out how.
If you’re a business needing to stay top-of-mind with clients as about our turnkey postcard marketing & design service – for those times when CONTACT is king!
Be sure to take a look at postcard printing with vintage postcard templates for a new take on an old idea!