Best Practices for Printing our Party Printables? The answer to this question is that it really depends on how you plan to print them or your paper preference. If you are planning to print with a local copy service such as Office Max or Staples, you would need a PDF file (although they technically DO have the capability to use a JPEG/PNG file - more on that later). If you are the type of person that prefers to upload a file to your local photo lab(Walgreens/WalMart) and pick up photo prints in a store within a couple of hours, then the JPEG/PNG file format is going to be what you need. If you have a favorite online photo company such as Prints of Love or Shutterfly and want to print with them to receive your cards in the mail, you should go with a JPEG/PNG. More and more people are printing at home as well, in which case, the file type you need depends on the paper you are printing on.
Another question we receive is what is OUR recommendation or our favorite way to print? The quick, short answer to this is cardstock. But cardstock in itself does not automatically guarantee beautiful cards. Where and how you are printing on the cardstock will greatly affect how the color comes out and your final result, as well as the quality and weight of the cardstock you are using. Cardstock comes in variety of options such as smooth uncoated, glossy or recycled cardstock and many more.
Printing yourself though can at times be a faster and more cost-effective option, depending on your timeframe and quantity needed. We completely understand this. Which brings us back to our recommendations for printing yourself....
To help you decide what's best for you and your own needs, we have created this quick reference list to help you choose the file type that's right for you. If you still are not sure, feel free to email us anytime with questions before ordering firstname.lastname@example.org
For this recommendation list - we are starting with your Preferred Location of Printing:
LOCAL PHOTO LAB
Printing at a photo lab for photo prints in a 5x7 or 4x6 size:
You need a 5x7 or 4x6 JPEG/PNG File
Examples of photo labs for photo prints where you can pick-up in store are Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, Target and Costco.
LOCAL COPY SHOP (such as Office Max, Office Depot, Kinkos or Staples)
Printing with a local copy shop, getting color copies:
You need the PDF file
These types of copy shop print services prefer a PDF file. They can print on their standard cardstock, then trim them down for you along with edges with their cutting machines as well. They can print multiple designs on a page.
ONLINE PHOTO/PRINTING COMPANY (such as Prints of Love, Snapfish, Shutterfly, or Walmart)
Printing with an online photo company for photo prints OR cardstock cards to be mailed to you with envelopes:
You need a JPEG
You can upload your file through their website and order printed cards with envelopes to be mailed to you.
designLEE Studio has Partnered with Prints of Love, a high quality, Eco-Friendly, printing company that will plant a tree in YOUR name or business name, for every order you make! They also offer huge discounts all the time and super fast delivery!
PRINT AT HOME
You can print all of your invitations at home! Printing at home on cardstock/photo paper and cutting them out yourself: You can find high quality cardstock at any printing supplies company.
You need the PDF file.
Printing at home on pre-cut 4x6 or 5x7 cardstock or photo paper:
You need a JPEG or PDF (a SINGLE PDF only, NOT PDF file with 2 set up on the page, since you are printing to cardstock or photo paper that is already cut to size).
What's the best paper to use for printing?
We are also asked regularly from our DIY customers what type of paper we recommend if printing at home. If you are looking for paper to purchase in an office supply store to print on, you should look for a heavy weight (we like a minimum of 100 lb. but some 76/80 lb options available in stores are a nice weight, too) and photo-quality brand. HP, Avery and Neenah all offer nice quality cardstock and/or photo paper that can be found at many office supply stores. Be sure to pay attention to the printer type that's indicated on the packaging - inkjet or laser - and choose whichever type of printer you have. You would not want to print on laser paper with an inkjet printer. You should also look for the finish you prefer - matte or glossy. This usually applies to photo paper only as most cardstock paper in office supply stores usually have a matte finish.
If you are printing with a local copy shop service, they have paper choices for you behind the counter and you would not have to purchase a pack of paper yourself, unless there is a specific type of paper you are wanting that the copy shop does not offer behind the counter. They can show you their standard cardstock (also referred to "cover weight" "cover stock" or just "cover") and you can choose which weight and finish you like the best. You might even get away with asking for 1 printed sample 😊
If you are having photo prints made, you usually can choose either glossy or matte, depending on whether you are picking up in the store or having them mailed to your house. Matte vs. glossy is usually a personal preference. Photo prints tend to look more like a "photo" than a more formal invitation and they can easily leave marks and fingerprints or produce a glare in certain types of light. Many people love the high gloss shine and vibrant colors that come with glossy prints, so this is really up to what you like and prefer.
What about envelopes?
Last but not least, going with the digital, printable file option requires that you purchase your envelopes yourself separately. Some photo labs offer envelopes when they see that your prints are invitations or announcements and you can also inquire when picking up your prints if they carry them. If they do not, you can find envelopes at any office supply store, craft store or many color envelope options at envelopes.com. 5x7 invitations and cards require an A7 envelope, which is slightly larger than a 5x7. For 4x6 designs, you should look for 4x6 photo envelopes which are slightly larger than a 4x6.
A few more things to keep in mind...
These are the basics to know about printing yourself instead of having professionally printed invitations & cards made. One thing to note is that there are a lot of factors that come into play when printing yourself so the outcome is not always the same from one printing company or vendor to the next. For example, your monitor shows colors one way, your home inkjet or laser printer may print them another way, and a copy shop or photo lab may produce a slightly different result, too. This has to do with color settings on your computer, the program you are using, your printer, the print vendor's color settings, their machine or equipment's servicing needs, the customer service experience and more. For this reason, we do not have recommendations of specific print vendors, just suggestions and examples, simply because level of service and quality can vary from location to location. designLEE Studio recommends to always do a test print first of just one card, to verify that you like how it's coming out before you print your full quantity. Most vendors and companies locally, will allow you to print just one to test it first.
We hope this simple guide aided you in your quest for having the best quality party printables for any occasion! As always, designLEE Studio is here to help! Drop us a line and we’ll be sure to answer your question(s) promptly.
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