How to Make a Postcard: A Step-By-Step Guide

how to make a postcard step guide

Postcards will always be special. Yes, you can post or tweet your vacation photos from wherever you are. It's much easier than buying, writing, stamping, and mailing a postcard. These messages are quickly deleted and forgotten, though.

We're going to explain how to make a postcard that will wow all your friends and family. It will be your unique creation that can be displayed on the fridge or placed on a bookshelf to enjoy.

There are different ways to make your own postcard. We'll go through several of them, and you can decide which you prefer.

First, Pick an Engaging Subject

If you can't get your recipient's attention with your postcard, you might as well just send an e-mail or post to social media. What you send needs to capture both your surroundings and your mood.

Vacation Postcards

Wherever you are, try to get a photo of something unique to that place. It could be a funny sign, an odd-looking animal, or a dramatic symbol of the area. If at all possible, you should be in the picture.

Postcards Announcing an Event

These could be party invitations, birth or adoption announcements, or other postcards with identical images and messages.  (Note that personal postcards don't qualify as business rate or bulk mail, though.)

You could have some fun with cards like these, so muster all your creativity. Maybe try a photo of an irritable or hyper-exuberant person wearing a party hat. Or, maybe get a shot (or stock photo) of a baby with a cute or funny expression.

Anytime Postcards

You send these types of postcards to brighten someone's day. Perhaps it's someone you've been out of touch with or who hasn't been feeling well lately. Maybe it's someone you like and want to know better.

Another fun type of personal postcard is a scanned reproduction of a vintage postcard—maybe one that shows your town as it existed 50-75 years ago. Make sure it's not copyrighted. Very few true vintage postcards are, though.

Whatever you choose for your postcard subject, it has to make you feel good too.

Postcards for Your Business or Organization

Every once in a while, you'll get a funny or creative appointment reminder or fundraising postcard in the mail. Usually, though, these cards are ready for the recycling bin the minute they arrive.

What if you were to create something memorable that would make your patients, clients, or customers truly consider what you have to offer them? Maybe some of them will stop forgetting their appointments too.

How to Make a Postcard with a Graphics Program and Template

Lots of free or inexpensive graphics programs come with postcard templates—not so much to help you be creative as to show off your creativity. These will make suggestions for design elements like framing the picture and adding text.

Some programs to consider are Adobe Spark, Canva, and Edraw. There are also programs more specific to making postcards and other types of cards. These include, Hallmark Card Studio Special Edition, and Postcard Services.

Design Your Own Postcard With a Graphics or Word-Processing Program

It isn't hard to create your postcard using a graphics program like Adobe InDesign or even a word-processing program like Microsoft Word. All that's needed to start your project is changing the default page dimensions to those of a postcard.

Standard Postcard Size and Dimensions

According to the U.S. Postal Service, a postcard must be:

  • Rectangular
  • At least 3-1/2 inches high x 5 inches long x 0.007 inches thick
  • No more than 4-1/4 inches high x 6 inches long x 0.016 inches thick

If you live in or are visiting the U.S., you can see that there's some flexibility with both size and dimensions, though you'll probably want to print in a standard size.

Design and Layout

A single photo is terrific, especially if it's one you like a lot. Still, you shouldn't hesitate to mix it up a little in terms of design and layout. Maybe try a split-frame or a collage? What about integrating some of your written message into the image(s) on the front?

Printing Options

Have you ever had problems getting your printer to print on something other than 8.5 x 11 paper—especially when you want to bleed the edges for a card with no border? At least for some of us, specialized printing jobs can be kind of a headache!

You can have the cards printed for you, though—with your original design or a template available from the printer. One online printer to try is VistaPrint. You can also go to a local print shop if you need help.

Have a Photo Printed as a Postcard

Many printing and photo-processing businesses (including drugstores and discount stores) will print your postcard directly onto the appropriate weight card stock, the back of which is pre-printed with the familiar address and message sections.

If your postcards somehow end up being printed with blank backs, it's easy enough to sketch out the different boxes yourself. It gives it a more personalized look anyway. Just be sure not to make the address area so small that you can't write in it clearly and legibly.

Don't Forget the Postage

If the dimensions of your postcard are within the measurements listed above, you can mail the card for $.035. If it's larger, though, but still legal to mail (i.e., a "double postcard"), it must have a regular first-class stamp.

And Now It's in the Mail!

Can you believe how easy making your own postcards can be? The most significant challenge could well be finding your creative inspiration. If you're having fun doing it, though, the creativity should come on its own.

Now that you know how to make a postcard, you might find yourself trying some other design projects, such as greeting cards and brochures. You also might enjoy more graphics and page-formatting software.

In the meantime, keep sending out those postcards! And, don't forget to come back to our blog from time to time since we're always posting new and interest pieces, including packaging, direct mailer marketing, and shipping articles.

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