Art Specs for Designers

The following is the information you need for designing a postcard. Please use the following checklist when submitting art. PostcardMania® cannot be responsible for art that does not follow our specs.

Is Your Art Print Ready?

What is Print Ready?

Print Ready is a term used to describe a file that has all the specifications necessary to produce high-resolution printed output, without requiring any additional alteration or intervention. In other words, we can use the file “as submitted” to successfully create the desired print materials.

What is checked by design?

Art Size

Standard Card – 6 x 4.25
Double Card – 8.5 x 6
Rack Card – 9 x 4
Custom-Sized Cards: Other sizes accepted but there may be an extra charge. Ask your sales rep for quote.

Bleeds

For art that bleeds (color goes to the edges) – Add an extra 1/8 inch to each side that bleeds. For example, a standard card (6 x 4.25) that bleeds on each side, make your canvas size 6.25 x 4.5 (1/8 inch x 2 sides).

Remember: this extra 1/8 inch will be trimmed off so put type or critical art no closer than 1/4 inch from the bleed edge. (Or 1/8 inch from the trim edge).

Colors

Front (glossy side): CMYK (No RGB or pantone colors)
Back: CMYK (No RGB or pantone colors)

Color Matching

Colors you see on your monitor or output from most inkjet printers will NOT accurately reflect the actual colors we print on our CMYK 4-color process printing. If you are concerned about color, purchase a color proof from us to review before we go to print.

We’ll do all our best to match colors but because of variations inherent in the printing process we cannot guarantee an exact match.

Remember: The PDF proofs we provide are only an approximation of the colors and are not exact. PostcardMania will try to warn you about files that do not match your color printout but cannot be held responsible for color differences when a high-quality color proof has not been provided.

When black is not really black?

When printing black that is made up of 100 percent black on the color side of the card, the black may appear slightly grey and may show lines when other images are layered underneath the black layer.

To solve this and create a very dark black on the colored side of your card, we recommend using a RICH BLACK. The CMYK settings for Rich Black are: C-40 M-0 Y-0 K-100. Be sure if you are placing an image with a black background on top of another black area, that the blacks have the same color breakdowns. If they are a different color black, it may not show up on your monitor but will be obvious when printed.

Keep TYPE on both front and back at 100% black.

Images

Stock Images

If purchasing images from a stock photo house, make sure that you buy a high resolution image (at least 300 dpi). The file should be approximately 9MB in size for a standard postcard.

DO NOT USE IMAGES PULLED FROM A WEBSITE.

They may look okay on your monitor and inkjet printer but they are low resolution and will print poorly on a four color press. The better quality the original image the better quality the finished product.

Digital Cameras

Take your pictures at the highest quality setting possible. We recommend 5 megapixel cameras or higher set to “fine”.

Image Resolution

Higher DPI means higher resolution. Resolution is not “size”, but it’s often confused with it because higher resolution images are often bigger, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.

Print: 300dpi is standard.

Garbage In, Garbage Out Rule

We reserve the right to refuse to print art that does not follow our art guidelines. If we feel your art will print poorly, but you want to use it anyway, you may be required to sign a waiver before we proceed.

Page Setup

Keep text or critical design at least 1/8 inch from the trimmed edge. Blade shift when cutting the cards is unavoidable. We don’t want your message to be cut off. We strongly suggest you do not use a border around your image, as we cannot guarantee “straightness” and “evenness” for the same reason. We are not responsible for designs that do not follow these guidelines.
If your art bleeds, see section above on Bleeds for setup.

Setting up the mailing area

Click here for a detailed guide about the mailing area.

If PostcardMania is mailing –

  • Need 3.875″ x 2.25 from bottom right corner
  • Should be kept light colored or white
  • Should not have zip code of location or return address anywhere in 2.75″ from bottom of card

If you are mailing on your own –

  • Should keep 5/8″ from bottom of card clear from text or images, this is for postal barcode
  • Should not have zip code of location or return address anywhere in 2.75″ from bottom of card

Download our Design Templates

Designing your own mail piece, but uncertain about USPS mailing regulations? Download one of these blank postcard templates to use as a guide! These free templates show you how to design a postcard for mailing.

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