Choose the Right Printer for Your Greeting Card Line

By Carolyn Edlund

Nancy, a reader who is starting her own greeting card line, recently asked the following question, “Do you simply find a printer with the capabilities to do what you want at a reasonable (competitive) price, or are there certain types of printers that are best for greeting card production?”  She also wanted to know about how to evaluate the quality of printing.

After receiving that question, I emailed Hok Yeung who works at Persimmon Press in California. Persimmon is a popular alternative humor card line with photographic images.  His response:

“Our cards are very simple to print – just four-color and a varnish on the

Courtesy Persimmon Press

outside, black and white on the inside. Many printers can do our work. However, if the card is more complicated, like having die-cut, foil, glitter and embossed features or requires some fancy paper stock, the printer should be experienced in that field. This means they should have the equipment to finish the card. Printers who outsource finishing to others may be more expensive.”

He continued, “I would ask printers for samples of the work they’ve done for other greeting card companies, and get quotes from multiple printers . . . finding a reliable printer who can get the job done on time for a reasonable price is more important than getting the lowest price or getting the specialist print shop

Courtesy Persimmon Press

who charges two or three times more than the next cheapest printer, I believe. One last observation – many artists want to print their artwork on greeting cards for sale – however, most buyers still prefer traditional greeting cards like Hallmark or Persimmon because they are using it to communicate with the card recipient.  Therefore, I believe the writing in the card is probably more important than the design.”

Next, I checked in with Kate Harper, an artist, blogger and expert on greeting cards, and sent along Hok’s comments. She agreed, adding, “The printer is a critical person. Most any printer can print cards. Get one who pays people to watch the press. Some printers just turn on the press and walk away, and don’t see when the ink is getting thin or a hair landed on the plate. In general, printers who only pay staff minimum wage are going to be a higher risk for problems later on.  I call those the ‘quick and dirty’ printers . . . make sure the printer will replace their mistakes. Ask up front what you can expect and where the measurable boundaries are – so everyone is on the same page as to what an ‘error’ is.”

Kate commented about text in greeting cards as well, saying “No text is

Kate Harper

better than bad text.  I interviewed Margrit Schurman (from Papyrus) once and she said the biggest mistake is destroying a good card design by using bad text.”

What are your experiences? Have you found a great printer, or been disappointed? What did your learn? And, what is your opinion on the importance of the text, or greeting, inside your cards?

Check out www.persimmoncards.com for their greeting card selection. Industry insider tips and articles can be found at www.kateharperblog.blogspot.com.

Comments

  1. As a complete novice in the greeting card business, I found the information in your blog extremely helpful. I used three printers before finally landing with printingforless.com and so glad I did. They are reasonably priced, quick to respond, the colors were “true,” and, most importantly, they fixed my mistakes prior to printing!

  2. It’s important to find vendors you can count on to make your job easier. Thanks for this input, Tracey – send us a link to your line so we can see your work!

  3. Thanks for this series of articles on starting a greeting card line. They give a lot of helpful advice and information.
    Paula

  4. What do you think my best option would be in my situation. I have simple, yet “Detailed” Pencil Drawings. I plan on starting with a small inventory, ( not that I have a choice). Should I go to a Printing Company, or invest in a small Home Printer that can handle small Black and White prints. If you think a Home Printer may do the job, what type, ( no brand name of course) and a rough estimate of the cost for this type of machine.

    • I realize this is months later, but I wanted to share in case anyone else reads this later looking for the same info. I doubt there is a home printer that you would want to pay for that could give you the same quality as a professional printer. Your first step is to get a high quality scan of your drawing. If it’s small my printer charges $10. If it’s larger than 8.5×11 inches they charge $45 for a scan. If you have a good local printer they can scan, print and fold the cards for you. Otherwise you’ll need to turn the scanned drawing into the right file size for a greeting card and send that file to a printer. There are great options online if you can do this. My favorite is 48hourprint.com. But I always try to go local when I can.

  5. Veronica Hadley says:

    Hi; I have just started publishing poetry and everyday life i teach disabilities; autism; mental retardation; and much more. I often notice that families that goes through difficult stages of life; i find that the families do not have any loved ones. I really want to start some where and i decided that using my poetry in greeting cards could be a successful way of letting individual know someone loves them. I first came up with designing greeting cards at home. Do you think this is possible; professionally making? If so what kind of professional printer I would need?

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