Postcards and the Art of Image Maintenance

I’ve been up late these past few weeks, getting ready for Femme Pride Week, and working on media for the US Social Forum, where I’m teaching a DIY New Media workshop with Sarah Jenny, and Femme2010, the amazing femme conference that I’m Co-Media Chair of this year.

Part of my favorite media strategy has always been postcards. I love them: I let them collect in my purses to remind me of where I’ve been and what I’ve done, and I think they’re a really effective strategy to let people know about your art, your project or your business. Below the cut I’m pleased to display four of my newest postcards, but first lets talk a bit about production and printing. I have some links to cheap printers and tips to make your cards look great!

Designing a postcard:

You need good images. Get a photographer friend and dress up, like we did for the Animal Print photo shoot. Or source something copyright-free or copyleft and shareable from Wikipedia Commons or the Library of Congress Digital Collections or NYPL archives. Or get your digital camera out and take a picture of someTHING in this beautiful world. And credit your source!

Once you have your image in your computer, make sure it’s set to print resolution and not web resolution! 300dpi! This is critical so you don’t get that weird little-crystal effect when you print. To design, you can use photoshop or indesign, or GIMP [free!]. The most important part when you’re laying out your postcard is a little something called margins and bleed.

Next, before you perfect your postcard, know your print specs. How big is your image going to be? 3.75×5.5 is far off from 4.25×6, when it comes to font size and layout. This means sourcing your printer ahead of time. Will your image bleed off the edge or have a border? Make sure that text is not too close to the margins, and remember that the way things look on your screen often don’t exactly translate to the way they look when printed, so beware of color values that are too close to one another side-by-side.

Printing. I like using because there are a lot of good discount codes out there for them, and they usually get your order to you in about a week. I just ordered 500 full-color one-sided cards for $20+shipping. Sweet. However, walking into your local independent printer cannot be beat in terms of putting a face to your process, and in my experience, chain-print-place employees are often really rad and discount-y after the managers leave at 5pm.

Here are my most recent products, if you’re curious. And they got here just in time to take to the USSF!

Postcard for performace + creative arts
This is from photo’s I got from many of the performers and presenters from the upcoming Femme2010 conference!
This illustration is by Cristy Road
This illustration is by Cristy Road

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