This article describes everything you need to know to create a postcard: the sizes, coating options, and artwork (file) prep instructions.
1. Choose your print method
We offer both traditional 4-color offset and 4-color digital printing.
Choose offset printing for lower prices when ordering 1,000+ qty or any time you would like coating on your postcard. Almost always, people choose this option when ordering large quantities.
Choose digital printing for lower quantities. Digital products cannot be coated.
2. Choose your size
The following postcard sizes are the most common, available in both digital (less than 1,000 qty) and offset print methods (1,000+ qty)
- 4 x 6"
- 4.25 x 6"
- 5 x 7"
- 5.5 x 8.5"
- 6 x 9"
- 4 x 9"
- 4.25 x 5.5"
- 6 x 11"
- 8.5 x 11"
The following additional sizes are available in offset printing only (1,000+ qty)
- 1.5 x 7"
- 2 x 6"
- 2 x 8"
- 2.75 x 2.5"
- 2.5 x 8.5"
- 3 x 5"
- 3.5 x 8.5"
- 3.66 x 8.5"
- 4 x 3"
- 4 x 4"
- 4 x 8.5"
- 4.25 x 2.75"
- 4.25 x 3.66"
- 4.25 x 4.75"
- 4.25 x 11"
- 4.25 x 12"
- 5 x 8"
- 5.5 x 8.5"
- 5.5 x 2.125"
- 6 x 4.25"
- 6 x 8.5"
- 6.5 x 9"
- 6.5 x 11"
- 6.5 x 12"
- 7 x 8.5"
- 8.5 x 7.5"
- 8.5 x 14"
- 9 x 12"
- 11 x 17"
- 12 x 18"
3. Choose your paper
Postcards can be printed on a variety of papers.
Digital or offset paper options
- 14pt C2S Gloss Cover
This thick and stiff stock has a glossy finish on both sides. You may be familiar with this type of paper from presentation folders.
- 100# White Linen Cover
Slightly lighter weight than 14pt above. This sturdy paper offers a unique non-glossy look enhanced with a subtle, woven linen finish. You may be familiar with this type of paper from business cards or high-end notecards.
Offset-only additional paper options
- 14pt Uncoated Cover
This thick and stiff stock is uncoated, good when you don't want a slick and shiny look. You may be familiar with this type of paper from thick index cards, though the finish is much higher quality.
- 16pt C1S Gloss Cover
This is our thickest stock and comes with a gloss coating on one side. You many be familiar with this type of paper from heavy bookmarks or other products printed on a semi-rigid card stock.
- 16pt C2S Gloss Cover
This is our thickest stock and comes with a gloss coating on both sides. You many be familiar with this type of paper from heavy bookmarks or other products printed on a semi-rigid card stock.
4. Choose your coating (offset only)
In addition to the built-in coating on the paper itself, when offset printing is selected, an additional coating is applied after printing. This additional coating is not available for digital printing. You can apply the coating to one or both sides of your printed piece.
UV is short for Ultra Violet Light-Cured Coating. This is a high-gloss coating. It is not recommended for printed material you need to write on after being produced.
AQ is short for Aqueous Coating. This is a semi-gloss, environmentally friendly, water-based coating. It provides additional gloss and protection, and it can be written on with a ballpoint pen.
- Satin AQ
This is a matte finish, environmentally friendly, water-based coating that must be applied over the entire front and back of the printed piece. It reduces the gloss of the printing and it can be written on with a ballpoint pen.
5. Prep your artwork (see templates at end of article)
In order to ensure your Postcard files are print-ready, we recommend that you submit them to us in PDF format. When you generate a print-ready PDF, your computer will use the settings in Adobe Acrobat Distiller or any other PDF generating programs you may use. Please make sure that these are set properly before generating your PDF file.
If you are uploading PDF files created in Photoshop, please be sure all layers are flattened.
We also accept .JPG (JPEG), .EPS and .TIF (TIFF) file types for postcards, however PDF is the preferred format.
Check your file to make sure it meets our file creation guidelines. This will help speed up the production of your project and give your printed piece the best results.
- Use the CMYK colorspace (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, blacK). These are industry standard printing colors. CMYK colors are different than RGB (Red, Green, Blue), which are used to display colors on your screen and the web.
- Use a minimum resolution of 300 dpi for image files.
- Specify trim area with crop marks. (Don't place crop marks inside the work area.)
- Artwork should have 1/8" (0.125") bleed extending past the trim line. This is to prevent minor cutting variations from leaving unintended results at the trim edge.
- Safe Area is the 1/8" (0.125") area inside the trim line. Do not put critical information or images within the Safe Area. This is to prevent minor cutting variations from leaving unintended results at the trim edge.
- If you want printed borders, they must be placed a minimum of 1/8" (0.125") inside the trim line and include bleed. This is to prevent minor cutting variations from leaving unintended results at the trim edge.
Bleed and Safe Area
We require that you extend any images that run up to the trim line a minimum of 1/8" (0.125") past the trim line to create "bleed". Depending on what program you use to create your file, this may or may not change the total image area of your file. Programs like Photoshop that do not allow the creation of "bleed" or the addition of crop marks will require an image area that is 1/4" (0.25") larger than your desired final overall image area in both dimensions.
Safe Area is the 1/8" (0.125") area inside the trim line. Do not put critical information or images within the Safe Area. This is to prevent minor cutting variations from leaving unintended results at the trim edge. If you choose to make less than this minimum clearance, we will NOT be responsible for items that are cut off in this area.
For double-sided postcards, pay attention to the orientation of your files:
6. Download a template
See templates below