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Sossity 12-23-2010 12:45 AM

What Mac & PC programs make custom greeting cards ?
I often make greeting cards for family overseas, birthday, Christmas mostly, but others as well. They like my photos I take.

so far I have used photoshop elements, are there any other apps that can create greeting cards that look like they came from the store with my own photos on them, I like making nice lettering on them as well, that I can customize.

I also make my own business cards, and as an artists, feature my artwork, & a logo what program would work for this?

admin 12-23-2010 04:12 AM

While their is probably some crappy Chinese program out there (only $29.95 !!!, etc), I know what you have and what you're doing. That is to say, you have (or soon will have) the Adobe Master Collection CS5, and will be studying actual graphic design and communication in college. So why waste time on the crapware?

I can pretty much guarantee you that many of the cards were built with a combination of Photoshop for the photos, Illustrator for the graphics, and InDesign (or the non-Adobe QuarkXPress) for the actual final layout and submission to press. I've been there, I've done the work, which included thousands of greeting cards every year to "friends" of the organization (donors), as well as their other audiences.

Graphic artists have a nice font collection, generally, too. I can possibly upload my open-source/free fonts for you at some point. I have a lot of commercial fonts, too, through the CorelDraw licenses.

Business cards? Again, Adobe InDesign. I may even be able to give you my template if I can find it (it's been a while since I made new cards -- printed too many last time).

Logos are made in Illustrator, so you can resize them to logos on pens, or logos on the sides of buildings -- and quality is always crisp and perfect. This is because it's using "vector art" (.ai,.eps) and not "raster images" (Photoshop, .jpg,.tif, etc etc).

Send me one photo (attach to post), somehow roughly draw out what you want (use pencil tool in Photoshop, draw on paper and scan it -- whatever), including text, and I can lay out an InDesign file for you when I get more time. Learn by reverse engineering.

Don't expect much from me on logos -- that's one area where I generally outsource to a former graphic designer I know. I draw it on pencil or Photoshop, submit to him, and I magically get a perfect/sleek AI file in return. I know how to do it -- I just am weak at actually doing it.

You'll find home printing is best done on a color laser (and a Minolta color laser, at that). That's what we used to "proof" artwork, and it looks great, before sending it on to the press for the run-off of thousands of copies (which were then sent to the mailing company, who mail merged the address book, pre-sorted to bulk rate, and submitted to the post office). Inkjet is about as far away from looking like it was bought in a store as you can get.

Minolta color laser, only $114:
That's an incredible steal of a price. Not 5 years ago, a color laser was $300+ minimum (mine was $400). Toner lasts much longer than ink (reference to number of prints you can get from a single supply of the ink/toner), and is of higher quality. No waste either, like ink cartridges. Just wanted to mention that. I'm almost shocked the price is so low. Wow!

Sossity 12-23-2010 05:42 PM

Thanks for the link to the laser printer, but I just read some of the reviews, one found out it was not compatible with macs, & I got sticker shock from the prices of the inks, that is way too much for me, I cannot afford super expensive hard to find inks.

Right now there is an HP photosmart C6100, inkjet in my home, that I can easily find inks for, I can go down to office depot locally & get individual inks, it has separate ink cartridges so I can replace only the color needed at any given time instead of having to get new inks for all even if only one ran out. I know the inkjet may not be as good, I would like a good quality printer for my art, but I need something affordable, in both the printer & replacement inks.

admin 01-01-2011 11:58 PM


I got sticker shock from the prices of the inks, that is way too much for me, I cannot afford super expensive hard to find inks.
It's only expensive if you look at the numbers without any context. In this case, the context is time and usage. Inkjets are actually NOT CHEAPER than laser printing.

On average, I print out several full-color pages per week on a color laser. The color laser printer has four toner cartridges. (NOTE: Toner is a powder, not liquid ink, which is important as I'll explain here in a second.) On my printer, each color costs about $110, and the black is about $70.

I bought a "Y" (yellow) in 2009.
My "M" (magenta) is from 2008, as is my "C" (cyan) cart.
I bought the "K" (black) in early 2010, and on average I buy one black every 12-15 months, because I print a lot of B&W documents (client statements, billing related, coupons for stores, research papers, other incidentals).
The color carts last about 24 months.
When I did work at the agency, we bought maybe two sets per year, and we ran that printer for low-budget/low-run newsletters, flyers and ads.

In other words, a single toner cart (or rather, a set of four, for all colors) can last for thousands of pages. Inkjets last a few dozen, at best. And when you think about ink costs, even at $5/each for the cheap online refills, you're way overspending compared to a single purchase of toner.

I can turn my laser printer off today, and come back in 12 months, and the first print will still be perfect. Inkjet printers tend to be dried out in just a few days. Even more often than that, inkjets purge ink when started up for the first time, so huge amounts of your ink are sucked into oblivion by the printer's self-tests. Not that I plan to turn my printer off for a whole year, but it's nice to leave on a vacation and come back to work without having to fight a printer on Monday morning.

Let me quickly go over the pros and cons of ink vs laser.

Ink Printer PRO:
  • Cheap to buy the printer and ink supplies
  • Low up-front and point-of-purchase costs, bought one cartridge at a time
  • Easy to find refills in any store -- even Walgreens!
Ink Printer CON:
  • Lasts for limited number of pages, usually just a few dozen at most.
  • Does not generally look as good or as accurate as laser prints, in terms of color/print quality
  • Splotchy compared to laser, because liquid spreads before it dries
  • Ink carts dries up within short amount of time, or can change into a syrup/congeal
  • Ink evaporates after long amount of time
  • Many use the tri-color cartridge, which drives up your replacement costs (if only one color is low, you still have to trash the entire tank for a new one)
  • Black is not true black, but a dark gray charcoal color
Laser Printer PRO:
  • Toner has even, accurate color quality
  • Laser is accurate to the pixel (reproduce as dots per inch, DPI), due to laser fusion of "ink" (toner) to paper
  • Toner lasts for hundreds (minimum) or thousands (typical) of prints
  • Toner does not dry up, evaporate or clog print heads (syrup/congeal), even after many months or years
  • Toner is sold in separate carts, not "tri-color" carts, so you never waste money throwing away good toner
  • Laser has long-term cost benefits compared to inkjets
  • Black is pure absolute coal black
Laser Printer CON:
  • Higher cost at point of purchase, so higher upfront cost
  • Not as good as high-end professional inkjets, for photographic prints
  • Toner must generally bought online from one of the many online stores that carry toner supplies. (Amazon, for example.) Few B&M retail stores carry toner, especially color cartridges.

... but if you don't have that upfront spending money, it's understandable.
I just felt the need to clarify that laser printers are NOT more costly than ink.

Thanks! :)

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