Making Print on Demand Cards

Partrishow Church 2016
Being of a certain age, means that I am not a natural computer person. After all, my images are created by a process of drawing, painting, printmaking and paper cutting. So going down the road of reproducing images leaves me with a feeling of some trepidation.
So Why bother with Print on Demand?

I guess because if the original work proves popular and is sold quickly it seems a shame not to capitalize on the image by selling it as a card, print or whatever.

I am under no illusion that this is going to make me a fortune, and I think it lucky if it covers the costs.

However the process does require me to keep accurate records, by scanning the originals and then thinking what best format to keep those for the future. If for example I wanted the images published elsewhere would I keep them as jpegs or tiffs, on a memory stick or on the cloud?

In effect I feel the need to create a process that enables me to catalogue images in an accessible format that has the potential to be used for a range of potential uses.

So What is Print on Demand?

As I understand it, Print on Demand is a service where specialist printing companies take your original digital images whether photographs, scans or designs and then print those images onto items such as cards, t shirts, mugs or whatever. Unlike older technologies where the printing machines had to especially set up and you might have to have a minimum of 500 products printed, digital printing machines can produce very small runs, as low as 1.

So this is ideal for trying out ideas, it means its possible to test the market without investing small fortunes in stock, that then has to be stored and distributed. However small runs are always going to be expensive per item and its difficult to see how they could provide any other than a notional income because the margins would be very low.

Giving it a go

After a bit of googling I came across Redcliffe Imaging in Bristol which caters specifically for art cards and also does giclee printing. The site is very simple and involves uploading images to the site which has greeting card templates in a range of sizes. The cards can either be printed to cover the whole surface or have an even border. It is also possible to print text on the back and inside of the cards. There are 2 types of card stock to choose from and a range of envelopes can be supplied.

The advantages of this company for me are the ability to print 1 card only, and the simple online design. In addition all images uploaded are stored by Redcliffe so that any number of images can be reproduced in the future.

Card images are required in JPEG format with an optimum of 300dpi. Rather than attempt to photograph the images I decided to scan them (because they are fairly small) on an old Epson V700 scanner. This has the option to set the format and size of image.

I then stored the images on a memory stick as well as the computer.

Uploading images on to the Redcliffe site was very straightforward and it was just a matter of 1 of each to see what they looked like in the flesh as it were.