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Basic Technical Details About Color Postcard Printing

    Before you go on with your postcard printing, you should first learn all the basic and technical details about the process. You are not printing just a simple card here.

     Printing postcards is a very precise art unto itself. You must know all the different basic and technical specifications for color postcards so that you can print something that is highly acceptable by all postal services and of course readers as well. So read on through the list and learn.

   1.     Postal service accepted templates – You cannot actually just use any size you want. If you want them to pass through the postal service, you will want to use their accepted templates. Fortunately, the different standard templates and accepted templates have relaxed over the years and you have now a wide variety of postcard templates and sizes to choose from. Here are a few of the most basic ones that you can use for personal printing or marketing.
a.     4 x 6 inches – good standard small size
b.     5 x 7 inches – widely accepted
c.     4 x 9 inches – widely accepted
d.     6 x 11 inches – Large format
   2.     Paper material options – When it comes to the paper, there are a wide variety of options that you can have. However, the basic factors that you should be aware of is the paper weight/thickness as well as its special coating. The weight and thickness of the paper will determine the durability of your custom postcards while the coating determines the glossiness and resistances of the print. Typically, you will want thicker results with highly glossy coatings, but this can be very expensive. You have to manage your choices. Here are the standard items you can choose from.
a.     Both sides coated – Both sides have a glossy finish for a resistant coating
b.     One sided coated – Only the cover side has the glossy finish
c.     No coating – No coats are applied
d.     Weight options for paper – Coated paper options is from 80lbs to 120 lbs.

   3.     Color printing options – Most cards today are printing in full color of course. Nobody responds well to black ink unless the black and white effect is done deliberately for that nostalgic feel. However, even today, you can still ask your printing company to use some specific color printing options. This allows you to add in some interesting effects to your design, or even manage the cost. Here are your options.
a.     Full color printing – The best option for printing, but the most expensive
b.     Black ink printing or Basic black ink graphic printing - The cheapest but also the most dull
c.     Spot color printing – Not full color, some parts are printed with one or two pure inks to add some color, usually to the text or a logo shape.
d.     Special ink printing – Depending on your printer, some special inks that glitter or gleam are used for that additional shine in your design.

   4.     Appropriate design software – There are many design applications out there that are good for use. However, you should choose not only the best that you can afford, but also the one that you are most comfortable with of using. The most powerful applications that you can use are actual image editing applications. However, some novices can also use some basic software if need be. Here are the software choices.
a.     Image editing applications – Adobe Photoshop or Corel Draw are the best application to use for design. They can enhance images very powerfully and add in text when necessary.
b.     Desktop Publishing applications – Adobe InDesign or Microsoft Publisher are specifically design for publishing certain prints. They have key features for easy formatting, albeit without the image editing capacity of the applications above.
c.     Simple Publishing applications – If you are only creating a simple picture postcard, then applications like Microsoft word, OpenOffice Draw or even MS Paint can be used to create drafts. Keep in mind though that typically designs from these applications will appear raw or very simple.

   Now you know all the important technical details that you will need for a better understanding of postcard printing and design. Take all these information to heart so that you can begin creating your color postcards with a little more ease.
   Kaye Z. Marks is an avid writer and follower of the developments in print postcards and postcard printing that help businesses in their marketing and advertising campaigns.
Article By: Kaye Z. Marks
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