Home page. See that postcards section on the right? Lovely, no? Right there. Saying, "Hey, you don't have to look any further. I'm here. Click on me!"And when you do click, you get the option at the top of the page to download their Adobe friendly templates for your business cards, or postcards, or brochure, etc. A quick download away, and you get a template with instructions written on it. And wouldn't you know, this setup they give you is exactly how they want the postcard uploaded (sounds elementary huh? You'd think so, but I've dealt with a company that makes it way more complicated, even though they offer you a template. It's nothing but a big pain in the neck).
Below is the screenshot of the template in Adobe Illustrator CS5 with a dialogue box where they ask you to change the CMYK settings. It's seriously the hardest thing you have to do (just scroll down and select the right setting)- aside from deciding what how you want to design your postcard!
All that's left after that, is to save your postcard as a PDF, tiff, or a jpg, etc (all the usual suspects), and use their easy downloading software back on the website. Just click, download, and decide where you want your image, front or back. It's nice because you can see what you're doing, and you know everything will look good because you've used their template that instructed you exactly what to do.
From there, you have the option for rounded corners (for an extra $2 per 100 cards, but I just really prefer the feeling, and you'd be amazed. It's those sorts of little things that can help people pick up your card or even keep it!). You always have the option of a matte finish, or a glossy UV coating. I opted for UV because even though light bouncing off the gloss can obscure your image in the right conditions, it also helps with keeping the color vibrant. A matte finish feels good in the hands, but the colors will appear slightly duller, and you'll lose some of the detail in the dark ares. And, ta-da! You pay, and all is good. Overnight Prints is priced well, and although you may balk at the price shown here, they are large 5x7 postcards... and there are 250 of them. Seems pretty reasonable to me!
I went for a vertical format for my postcards, just because it's different and it allows me to blow up my images so people can see them better. I zoomed in on Lancelot and Guinevere because the rest of the piece is essentially unnecessary to capturing peoples' attention in a split second. Although I will be handing these out primarily, these sorts of conventions typically have a table where people lay out a few extra business cards and postcards that people can pick up at will if they like. And if they don't have a table, people usually find some sort of surface to leave their wares! You'll see postcards, business cards, stickers, and magnets strewn about unsuspecting decorative hotel tables where these conventions are often held!
I mentioned earlier the matte vs glossy option in the case of keeping things vibrant. Both of the images I decided to use are pretty dark, so to lose information in these areas is a pretty good bet with the matte finish. Also, you may notice that Lan and Guin are significantly lighter and a little more saturated than the finished version I posted yesterday. There I'm just trying to compensate for the printing process. A computer screen is backlit, so images that appear bright on screen will actually be much darker when printed. I'm making a calculated guess and lightening my images ahead of time slightly to compensate for that. You don't have to do much, just enough lighter that you don't wash our your colors or values, and you can be confident your guesstimate will be good.
That's it! Soon I'll have the Blurb portfolio books ready, and I'll have that process available for you too. Until then, I'll just keep on keepin' on getting ready for the big weekend!