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Thread: Greeting card printing recommendations

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
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    Greeting card printing recommendations

    Hi folks,

    For those of you who sell greeting cards featuring your photography, what's your preferred paper or supplier? Do you print your own (e.g. using Epson type inkjet cards) or is there a printing company you'd recommend? I'm in Toronto so I'm interested in Canadian printers or
    international ones which would ship to Canada at a reasonable cost. The ideal solution includes matching envelopes and a gift box to hold maybe 10 cards with envelopes.

    Thanks
    Mark McCarvill
    http://markmccarvill.com

    The miracles of creative art lie not in particular materials and methods, but in the basic concepts involved. – Ansel Adams

  2. #2

    Greeting card printing recommendations

    I use and highly recommend Crane Museo watercolor inkjet cards. Their 5.5" x 7.5" cards are a nice size (larger than most competitor's cards) and have a thick, high-quality feel and appearance. They cost $50 US for a box of 50 cards and envelopes though you're on your own as far as the gift box is concerned. I order mine from inkjetart.com at the link below:

    http://www.inkjetart.com/wc/museo/index.html

    Brett

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2004
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    43

    Greeting card printing recommendations

    Mark,

    Office Depot carries their own brand of glossy 8 1/2 X 11 photopaper; it has no water mark on the back. Using Microsoft Publisher you can design a 5X7 card and print with crop marks. Cut on a circular blade cutter, and crimp the fold with a scoring blade at the fold.

    Insert photo on front as 3 1/5 X 5, 4X6, or full 5X7. Insert stamp size pic on back. Add your address info, phone, e-mail, website, etc. with the smaller version pic below it on the back.

    Get 5 1/8 X 7 1/8 envelopes from any envelope or office supply.

    Use ball point pen or mirofine permanent marker to write with inside.

    I place the card and envelope in a 'clear bag' from ClearBags.com.

    I use the Epson 1280 and get 20 - 25 cards per blk/clr cartriage. Sell at $2.25 [US] per card.

    Best, Bob

  4. #4
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Greeting card printing recommendations

    <Laughing> Looks like you are going to get as many different recommendations as you get responses. For production card printing I use Red River papers exclusively. Most frequently their 47 lb., Matte and their Polar Matte. I print my own as it is 1) less expensive and 2) gives a far superior image to what you get from an offest press unless you want to way upscale and price yourself out of the card market. I sell in boxes of 10 cards for $15. Tune in in another week or so regarding a printer. At Red River's recommendation I am trying out the Canon IP6600D. Drew, one of the owners and a real printing guru strongly suggested this inexpensive printer and told me they have had great success using it for card production. No, the dye based ink may not be archival but who cares for greeting or note cards? And when the printer dies I will just throw it away and buy another.

  5. #5

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    Calgary Alberta
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    Greeting card printing recommendations

    <2) gives a far superior image to what you get from an offest press unless you want to way upscale and price yourself out of the card market>

    Ted, how does the Red River quality stack up if you go "way upscale offset"? Thanks....



    David Crossley/Crossley Photography....

  6. #6

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    Greeting card printing recommendations

    Thanks for the suggestions so far. A follow-up comment and question ...

    Brett – thank you for the Crane recommendation. Their cards look very nice and I may try a sample pack. By the way, Crane sells direct for $6 less per pack of 50 than your supplier:
    http://www.crane.com/prdSellImprintable.aspx?SubDeptName=Museo&Name=09873_Museo6TwoSidePrintableArtistCards

    Ted – Is $15 per pack of 10 cards the maximum price you can charge in your market? I assume it costs about $7.50 to make 10 (based on the Red River web site estimates).

    I'm still researching this market so I appreciate insights from people with experience here.
    Mark McCarvill
    http://markmccarvill.com

    The miracles of creative art lie not in particular materials and methods, but in the basic concepts involved. – Ansel Adams

  7. #7
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Greeting card printing recommendations

    Mark, all depends on where they are sold. $15 a box is what the market will bear at Christmas Bazaars and art/craft fairs, even juried shows. Some charge a bit more but sell next to nothing. I often sell 20-30 boxes of cards in an afternoon at a fair. Additionally, the card sales generate print sales for future delivery. Those that charge more sell very little. I have cards available for sale in a couplke of stores too and they sell for a few dollars more there. Your cost estimates are pretty close, mine are a bit lower because I get envelopes in boxes of 500 from a different supplier. I have also been looking at clear plastic boxes from Clear Bags but they are a bit of a pain and are not as nice as regular boxes.

    David, hard to make the comparison really. If you want to spend enough money for the same top-of-the-lien print quality that goes into high end art books you can get a 'look' that is as good as that from an ink jet printer, different but as good. However, your setup costs are huge and minimum print runs are very hihg. I haven't costed it out but I'll bet it will cost you more and the results aren't worth it. I have been looking at printing estimates for our SPCA's Christmas Cards for this year (I'm on the Board) and the estimates that the committee has shared with me so far are high for small quantities (4 cards, 50 boxes of 10 each, total 2000 cards in 4 print runs) around $2000. I am going to suggest to the staff that they use volunteers and print and box them inhouse .. they will look better and cost less.

  8. #8

    Join Date
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    Greeting card printing recommendations

    Thanks, Ted. Your point about cards being a door opener to print sales is well taken.

    Can I ask where you purchase your boxes and envelopes?
    Mark McCarvill
    http://markmccarvill.com

    The miracles of creative art lie not in particular materials and methods, but in the basic concepts involved. – Ansel Adams

  9. #9

    Greeting card printing recommendations

    Obviously there are different routes you can take to print and market your cards. I have a spot in a local gallery where I display framed and unframed prints, but space is limited and I rely on my cards to showcase images that I otherwise wouldn't be able to display. I have also chosen to market my cards more as small fine art prints than greeting cards. The Crane watercolor card paper has a high-quality look and feel and I price the cards (printed with Epson archival ink) at $5.95 each. I sell about 10 a week and get occasional requests to print and frame an image from one of the cards. I could purchase cheaper card paper and sell them for half the price, but I think it is important that my cards are distinguished in price, size, and presentation from the zillions of other cheaper cards at the gallery (half of which is a Hallmark store!). This is just what I have chosen to do though - YMMV.

  10. #10

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    Greeting card printing recommendations

    By way of follow-up, I bought a sample pack from Red River and after some testing I decided to go with the 5x7 premium glossy cards. The “frio” gloss card looked dull by comparison to the premium glossy card. And the matte cards, while nice, didn’t look or feel as much like a real greeting card as the glossy cards did.

    And contrary to the information on the Red River web site, the premium glossy cards *are* compatible with pigment inks, or at least with my setup (Epson 1280, MIS UT2 ink with eboni black, QTR RIP). There’s no bronzing whatsoever and the images just sparkle.

    Thanks again for all the suggestions.

    Mark
    Mark McCarvill
    http://markmccarvill.com

    The miracles of creative art lie not in particular materials and methods, but in the basic concepts involved. – Ansel Adams

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