How Your Custom Holiday Cards Are Printed

With the holiday season in full swing, we’ve been busy printing custom holiday cards for our clients.  

While custom cards are popular throughout the year (we see a lot of thank you cards and invitations, no matter the season), we get the most questions about printing custom holiday cards. Whether you need help determining the right type of paper to use for your cards or are just curious about what your printing company does to turn your digital file into a physical card, we’ve outlined the process of creating personalized holiday cards:

The Custom Card Printing Process

Once you’ve designed your card’s artwork and have sent it to your printer, your card will begin a four-step journey that takes it from a digital piece of art to a beautiful card you’ll be excited to share with clients and colleagues. 

Step One: Print

The first step of the card creation process is the most obvious: printing!

One of the most important, yet misunderstood, aspects of printing is choosing the right paper to print on. It matters more than you might think! We recommend choosing one of the following three papers for your holiday cards:

  • Matte: Matte paper has a writeable coating, known to be a little more of a dull white. Where matte paper excels is in being more resistant to dirt, moisture and wear than uncoated paper. The material printed on matte paper will look shinier and have a little more contrast. You can write on matte paper, but it isn’t as absorbent as uncoated paper.
  • Uncoated: As the name implies, neither side of uncoated paper has a coating. While the lack of coating results in a finish that isn’t as smooth as coated paper, it is also more absorbent – making it easy to write on.
  • C1S: The C1S paper is gloss coated on one side and uncoated on the inside. This allows for a sleek look on the front and allows for writing on the inside of the card with pen or pencil.

Once you’ve determined what paper type makes most sense for your project, we’ll set up our printing presses to work with your paper and color requirements.

Step Two: Cut

Once your cards have been printed, the printing team will cut your cards to the proper size. If you’ve ever wondered why your printer requests you send your designs to them with bleeds, it’s because we’ll cut into the paper so that you have color all the way to the edge of your card.

Step Three: Score

Scoring is the process of preparing the card to be folded to prevent the paper from cracking when it’s folded by putting a depression where the fold will eventually be. This allows for a clean and accurate fold. Though scoring and folding may be done manually for some projects, we most often use a special finisher to do both at once.

Horizon Folder and CreaserThe Horizon folder and creaser allows us to quickly score and fold large amounts of custom cards.

Step Four: Fold

The final step is to fold your card. The bi-fold is far and away the most common fold for holiday cards. In fact, the second most common fold we see for cards that we custom print is actually no fold!

After your card has been folded, you can write your holiday greetings in your card and send them off.

Need to print custom cards? Give us a call at 312.542.1300 to get started. (Want to create custom cards but don’t have a designer? We can design your cards, too!)


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