THE PRINTING PROCESS
By far the most difficult part of this assignment was sending my cards to print.
It seemed that my options were to either to find an online printer or a local printer. Living in London there seem to be printers on every street, however they appear to fall into one of two categories. They are either on the more expensive side, and designed for professionals printing on a large scale or they are budget printers that seem similar to the budget printers I found online. The stores designed for professionals could maybe have been an option but I was confused by the different options and file formats. I therefore chose an online company that specialised in greeting cards. There were two options. You could either add your front and back image to a template, or set up a document to correct specifications and send it to them.
Initially I was going to chose the first option. This is why the design on the back of my cards is exactly the same. I found that this option was not working for me in the end, and created my template in illustrator. I then transferred my artwork from photoshop. I had to remake the inside of my cards in illustrator. I outlined these fonts.
I discovered that I had been viewing my pdfs through my macbook’s “preview” app. I did not realise that this meant I was not viewing them at their highest quality. It meant that my text was appearing fuzzy when it was printed and also, some of my paintings in card 3 were slightly transparent. It was only when I downloaded Acrobat that I was able to view and print the cards at a high quality.
Another issue I had was that although my files were created in CMYK mode, and printed well from my own printer, card 1 (‘New Tricks’) was very dark when printed professionally. I suspect this has something to do with my printer profiles, but I actually find this aspect of the design process incredibly confusing. I have books and use the internet to help me figure things out, but it doesn’t become any clearer. I spent a lot of time working these things out, and I need to factor this in to future projects.
As I mentioned before, the measurements for the second card did not work out very well even though I made them according to the specification of the printing company. I have also had to but a knife to trim the cards manually as the card edges do not align.
The quality of the cards could be much better, though for the price I think one could order many proofs until you knew exactly what you were getting, and then order many copies. They would require a manual trim, and the cards are quite thin, however, I think they’re pretty decent. I would like to now print cards 1 and 3 using a more expensive services, although this would require ordering more than one.
Overall I think 2 of my cards were a minor success and one of my cards was a failure.
I very much wanted to create at least one humorous card that contained some sort of pun, but I could not for the life of me think of anything remotely funny. This was very frustrating and after trying to think of something I tried to relax and hope that something would come to me, but it never did.
Card one (‘New Tricks’), despite my initial misgivings about my illustration skills, has turned out pretty well. It has the home made, but professional quality that I was looking for. I’ve noticed that the inside of most greetings cards are blank. If you were to see this card on a shelf, you would not know what it was for without opening and looking inside, which doesn’t appear to be a thing people do anymore. It would however, be suitable to sell on a platform such as etsy, where you could describe what the card was for and have it appear in searches.
I presented this card to my tutor in a brown envelope which complimented the brown tones and handmade feel very well. Due to falling behind with my work I was unable to experiment with envelope design. I would have like to have decorated the envelope, perhaps using a rubber stamp that I would have designed myself. I could also have created a stamp for the back of the card (though this may not have worked well with the smoothness of the paper).
Card 2 I think was a very good idea that was badly executed. I would redo this card from scratch, and hand draw/paint the art work. I do, however, like the inside of the card and the card stock.
Card 3 is probably my favourite. Although the pattern could be tweaked, I think it’s colourful and fun, and I can imagine it on a card store shelf. That said, it is also a card that only makes sense if you read the inside. As mentioned I would like to reprint this card with the pattern covering the back.
Finally I would like to learn how to photograph my final cards, and will endeavour to improve my photography skills so that I can do so before the course finishes.
I think that overall I met the brief, however my finished art work was not quite up to scratch.