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Promotional postcards - what is the best way to get them printed?

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I am trying to figure out the best way to get post cards produced in regards to cost and quality.
What I am wondering is, is there a more efficient way to get the a quality product without having to pay way too much, for way too many prints from a local printer? 

I spoke to a printer here in Bridgewater NS, and the smallest print run they will do is 500.  And they wanted a lot of money.  (for colour) of course.  They quoted me a price of over $1000.00. 

I thought that I could create a variety of different postcards that could all go to press on one sheet.  Then I would have different cards that I could send out at different times. 

I read a prior post on this forum that had links to companies that will create post cards in very small quantities for much lower amounts of money than what the local printer was quoting.  These companies want you to email them a pdf of your artwork. 

My first concern about such a service would be about quality.  Even if you can get something printed on a small run and at a good price, there is the issue of quality.  There is no way of knowing how good the quality is with such a setup.  The post cards would be useless if the quality wasn't there....and what about shipping?

Is it possible to even print them off on a decent home printer?

Can someone tell me if there is a cost efficient way of getting good quality and reasonable quantity?  I am not looking to get something done for nothing, but it seems that the situation that the local printer is offering me is much more than I need, and I know that printing technology and services have changed immensely in the last 10 years.  I just dont want to spend a large amount of money, ineffeciently.


#1 - June 20, 2008, 08:55 AM

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All my illustrator friends are devoted to Overnight Prints:

Their quality is REALLY good.  The Matte is cuter than the glossy, in my opinion, but the colors are more perhaps more precise in the glossy.  But they are both seriously very good. And you can get  double-sided, and rounded corners, even!  I am told that the site works best on Firefox.  Good luck!
#2 - June 20, 2008, 09:01 AM
twitter: @literaticat
ask the agent:


When I was selling real estate, I used a company called Vista Print to print post cards.  They are very inexpensive, and the quality is excellent.  You pay for each option, such as color back or glossy finish, but even with all the extra's, you probably could easily get 500 printed for less than $150.00.  Shipping is minimal.
#3 - June 20, 2008, 09:05 AM

Barbara Eveleth

See this is silly. You are not going to need that many postcards. And 1000 bucks...OUCH....No...No...No!!! You'll be broke!!

Also, an AD from a huge house I met and sub to, said she prefers matte to glossy.

Go on line and look around. I used PS Print and got WAYYYYYYYYYYY too many postcards for a coupla hundred bucks. Never again! You don't need that many. Plus you should vary and sub them initially every six months to a year.

For your first mailing (if you are doing books only) will be about fifty or so targeted publishers. Out of that you will eventually narrow it down to a dozen or so. So think about it.

You can also make your own with a template from your computer. I haven't done this yet but I know people who do.

When you start getting bites, then you could make handmade postcards as a nice personal touch.

Also, if you can find an Alphagraphics, they do as many as you want starting with 100 or so, and they are COMPETITIVE. They may provide this service on line.

Check them out.

Sorry to be so hyper..but don't overspend on something you will have as a huge surplus. Barb
#4 - June 20, 2008, 09:14 AM


Wow!  Thank you, everyone!  I kwew that had to be a better way than the traditional local printer, and I know technology and services have changed emensely since my old graphic design days. (early '90's). 

I looked at some of these online service companies, and you just dont know how "fly by night" they are.  Unless someone recommends them, you just dont know what to think of them, there are so many.

Thanks again,
#5 - June 20, 2008, 09:40 AM

I really love your work/style so much, Bob.  I bet you won't need many cards to send out.  I have a feeling that once you do, you are going to catch teh eye of an AD or editor fast!  Good luck!
#6 - June 20, 2008, 10:07 AM

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I usually use Vistaprint for postcards and business cards, and they've been great. There was one time I didn't like how the colors turned out, and they replaced them for free. They have a refer-a-friend program, so if you use this link, you get a special offer and I think I get store credit:

A lot of times they have a special where you get 100 postcards for free and you just pay for uploading your design ($5) and shipping (slow shipping for $6). They ship to lots of countries.

Warm wishes.
#7 - June 20, 2008, 10:08 AM
Kristi Valiant
Illustrator: PRETTY MINNIE IN PARIS, written by Danielle Steel, Doubleday 2014
Author/illustrator: PENGUIN CHA-CHA, Random House 2013

Gina Black

I had a run-in with Vista Print where they made an error on my business card and then told me there was no way possible that they could have made an error because of their software and then (after I mailed them a copy of the card) they wrote me back that they were  . . . um sorry and they made a mistake. I won't use them again because I'm not into donating my time in favor of their quality control.

I did, however, find for my postcards and they did an inexpensive and smashing job. I provided the artwork.

#8 - June 20, 2008, 10:57 AM



Modern Postcard is another great one  @   

They often have 10% or 20% off specials.
#9 - June 20, 2008, 12:01 PM


I like it when vistaprint do their free offers. Which is pretty much all the time, depends how many you want done though. I think their free offers are usually for 50 postards.
#10 - June 20, 2008, 12:32 PM


I'm going to throw in a vote for Modern Postcard. 

I have used both MP and Overnight Prints, and I prefer MP.  The main reason is that they offer the option of a hard copy color proof, and Overnight does not.  Yes, it costs a little bit more, and you need to allow more time for your turnaround, but IMHO, it's completely worth it.  Color quality and accuracy has always been the biggest frustration for me with any type of reproduction of my work.  What a disappointment to order a batch of postcards and then have them come back with the color all screwy!  That happened to me the one time I used Overnight Prints.  The color looked fine on my computer screen when I viewed the electronic proof they sent me, but the printed color was dull, with an all-over bluish tinge.  Luckily, when I called to complain, they reprinted them for me, but I don't think it's guaranteed and I could have just lucked out with the customer service reps.

I do wish that MP would offer smaller print runs (I think 500 is the minimum), but it doesn't hurt to have extra cards; I always put mine out at conferences with my portfolio.

Edited to correct typo.
#11 - June 20, 2008, 01:04 PM
« Last Edit: June 20, 2008, 01:05 PM by paperdoll »


Hmmm, I just received a promotion for 10 - 20% off this week and the minimum seems to be 250 postcards.

#12 - June 20, 2008, 07:21 PM


Yes, Modern Postcard recently changed their minimum to 250. I've used them many times and I've always been completely happy with them. The quality is great. Vista Print is cheaper, but their standard postcard is smaller than MPs, and it seems kind of dinky to me. I like 4.25" x 6."
#13 - June 21, 2008, 08:34 AM


I am trying to get my own postcards organized and set up a template with Vistaprint. I didn't have time to finalize it though and they have sent me two email reminders. The second one included a bunch of promotions, including 100 free postcards. Might be something to think about if you are interested in using them (ie. wait a couple of days and see if you get the same offer).

#14 - June 23, 2008, 07:30 AM


I hope I don't burst anyone's bubble, but I've been researching postcards as well since I'm doing my first mailing, and I've heard a LOT of scary stuff about vistaprint.. check here for more info. Of course, companies always have some complaints, but there are multiple web sites dedicated to this company's sneaky policy of signing people up for an "Awards" membership without saying a word and charging bills each month that people often don't notice for ages! I hope this hasn't happened to any of you, just make sure to be aware if you decide to order from vistaprint. :)

Oh and BobS, I just wanted to say that I looove your illustrations! So bright!
#15 - June 23, 2008, 11:31 AM

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I've done my own postcards for invitations to booksignings--Avery has nice pre-perforated postcard sheets (4 cards per sheet) on heavy-weight stock that meets all US Postal Service requirements.  But only do this if you have access to a very good color printer (which I do)--quality is important, even just for invitations.
#16 - June 23, 2008, 12:17 PM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)

I had asked my publisher for info on postcards and they bought me 500.  No charge to me.
Try never know.
#17 - June 23, 2008, 12:19 PM


Hmmm, I just received a promotion for 10 - 20% off this week and the minimum seems to be 250 postcards. 

Yes, Modern Postcard recently changed their minimum to 250.

Thanks, steph and laser braids!  That is great news.  I haven't done a card in the past year, so I wasn't aware.  Good to know that my next order can be for 250!
#18 - June 23, 2008, 12:21 PM


Thanks for the head's up, Jade. More info is always better than less!
#19 - June 23, 2008, 01:28 PM


I used overnight prints and while it wasn't overnight - it took about a week- the results were fantastic. I can do very small print runs at a very small cost - which means I can create a real variety of postcards, business cards, bookmarks...It is all about the small minimums for me!  another interesting promo option is which now has business card size prints and you can do a set of 50 different cards double sided.
They also have postcards there.

BTW 1000$ is ridiculous - I have never heard that quote for postcards in my life. That printer is completely out-to-lunch or figured he could rip you off.

If you want to do a large run (unlikely) is great too. I don't remember the price - but it wasn't more than $250 to do 5000 postcards colour - both sides!
#20 - May 13, 2009, 08:02 AM


Guest is great too
I got 50 cards for $35.
I'm very impressed with their quality

#21 - June 14, 2009, 01:31 PM

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I have used modern postcard, and been very happy with them. I've also used vistaprint, their sizes are a little different, but they are cheaper than modern p.card . I have just ordered some moocards, haven't received them yet, they do postcards, greeting cards and tiny cards , called moocards. They are cheap and fast. Right now I'm looking for someone to print my stationary. My home printer isn't that great, it's time for better quality. Anyone?
#22 - October 19, 2009, 08:04 PM



Over the last ten years I've organised several painting shows here in Newcastle Oz and found that artists have a   way of finding out the cheapest printers for invitations,

 so if you want to print locally, maybe ring up a few local art galleries and see where they get their invites printed.

Could   work ;)
#23 - October 19, 2009, 08:46 PM


Does anyone know the shipping cost for the Overnight postcard company?  Here is the link.   I like the prices on the 5x7 size postcards but I can't seem to find anything for shipping cost.    I know some places have cheaper prices on their products and then charge a large amount for shipping.

Thanks for any info.

Becky D.
#24 - December 30, 2009, 11:38 AM


I used gotprint for my business cards too.
#25 - December 30, 2009, 11:56 AM


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