Inkit in Use

How to Build a Postcard in Inkit’s Template Builder

March 15, 2017
Autor
Michael McCarthy

One of the most intimidating things about sending a direct mail postcard campaign is creating the postcard itself.
Most printers will make you work with one of their designers, which can be very expensive. And that is on top of the cost to print your postcards, which usually require a minimum of at least 500 pieces. Many require a much larger order.
If a printer does offer an in-app builder, it’s hard to use, confusing, and doesn’t let you choose your own options. Plus, you can’t hold a physical proof of the print job in your hand before you send hundreds, or thousands, of postcards to your customers. So, you have no idea if your postcards are properly aligned, or if an image is out of place.
With Inkit, you can build your own postcard in our drag-and-drop postcard template, using your own images and layout. It takes significantly less time than dealing with a designer, and you can see the results right away.
You can even mail yourself a single postcard as a “proof,” to make sure you’re happy with the layout and design. (Yes, you can print and mail a single postcard with Inkit.)
Here’s how it works:

Make Your Images the Right Size and Resolution

The first thing you should know about mailing any direct mail postcard; every image you use needs to be saved at 300 dpi. This is the resolution of your image. Most images on the internet are around 72 dpi or 150 dpi.
The higher the resolution for an image, the better that image will print. Our printers require that all images be 300 dpi. No more, no less.
If you’re using a background image on your postcard, it should be a little bit larger than the size of the postcard you want to mail.
If you’re mailing a 4” X 6” postcard, your image dimensions should be at least 4.25” X 6.25”.
If you’re mailing a 6” X 11” postcard, your image dimensions should be at least 6.25” X 11.25”.
This extra space allows for “bleed” which printers need when they cut your postcard to size.
If you’ve never resized an image before, it’s pretty easy to do. You’ll need a photo editing program or app like Photoshop or Pixelmator. This doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. It just needs to let you adjust the size and resolution of your image.
Here are some basic instructions on how to resize your images:

  • Open your image in your photo editing program.
  • Click on “Image” (or its equivalent) in the navigation bar.
  • Click on “Image Size” in the dropdown menu.
  • Use the pop up box to resize your image.
  • Change the size measurement from Pixels to Inches, just to make it easier to adjust the size to your specifications.
  • Change the resolution to 300
  • Save your image.

Now that you’ve resized your images, it’s time to…

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Build Your Postcard in the Drag-and-Drop Template Builder

Once you’ve saved your postcard, go to your Inkit Dashboard and click on “Templates.”
Click on the red “Create a new template” button in the upper right corner of the screen, just below your user name.
Enter a name for your postcard template.
It’s a good idea to use a naming convention that’s easy for you to remember, so you can keep your postcards separated. For instance, if you use the same basic postcard template over and over, you’ll want to name each of your templates with a special offer and a date, like this:

  • ABC Company Postcard April Special 4-17

Click on the red “Create & Build” button.
You are now in the drag-and-drop template builder.
You will see the “front” of the postcard as a blank area with 3 sets of dashed lines.
The innermost red line is the size of your postcard. Any information you want printed must be inside this line.
The orange line is the “bleed” line. That is the margin our printers use to cut your postcards once they’re printed.
The outer grey line is the edge of the template builder canvas. Your background picture and postcard design shouldn’t go beyond this line.

Add a background to your postcard

You can use one of the stock photos loaded into your Inkit account, or you can add an image of your own:

  • Click on “Template Background” in the left-hand navigation.
  • Click on the grey “Select an Image” box.
  • If you want to use one of our stock images
  • Click on the blue “Select Image” button.
  • Select your image from your computer or cloud storage folder.
  • Click on “Upload Image.”

Your image will be uploaded into your Inkit account.
Once the image of your choice is available, click on the image and it will appear in the canvas area, filling the screen.

Add text to your postcard

Click on the + button at the top left of the canvas area, right next to the left-hand navigation.
Click on the Text widget button.

Drag your text box to position it on your postcard. You can also increase or decrease the size of your text box by putting your pointer over the grey arrows at the bottom right corner of the box.

Click on the blue “show text editor” button at the bottom right corner of the screen.
This will pull up a standard text editor toward the bottom of the screen. You can change fonts, size, color, bold, italics and underline in the editor.

Add a box to your postcard

Click on the + button at the top left of the canvas area, right next to the left-hand navigation.
Click on the Box widget button.

Your box will automatically appear black.
You can change the color and opacity of your box by clicking on it, then using the Element Styling editor on the left-hand navigation. You can change the size of your box the same way you did with your text box.

Edit the back side of your postcard

Click on the Change Sides button, just below the + button.

You will now see the other side of your postcard
You’ll see a large red area that says, “Ink Free Area – Anything inside this area will not print.” This is where the printer will add your subscribers’ addresses, and the post office will add their bar codes. It will be white on your printed postcard.
Just like the front of the postcard, you can add a background image or color.
To add a color, click on “Template Background.
Use the color picker for the Back Side Image (below the controls for the Front Side Image) in the left-hand navigation.
You can add text and boxes, just like you did to the front of your postcard.

Add an image to the back of your postcard

Click on the Image widget.

Move your image to the correct position on your postcard.
Resize the image box, just like you did for the text box.
Click on your image box.
Use the Element Styling editor in the left-hand navigation to choose your image:

  • Click on Select Image.
  • If you want to upload an image, follow the same steps that you used earlier.
  • Click on the image you want to add.
  • Resize and reposition your image as needed.

You can add text and boxes to the back side of your postcard as well.
Once your postcard is complete, click “SAVE” in the upper right corner of the screen.

Preview Your Postcard

If you’d like to see what your postcard will look like, click “PREVIEW.” A pop-up box will appear next to your browser window, with a preview of your postcard. If you block pop-ups with your browser, you may get an error message. Allow pop-ups from Inkit and you’ll be able to see the preview.

You will see the side of the postcard you’re working on in the preview image. If you want to see the other side, you’ll need to “flip” the postcard with the Change Sides button and hit the PREVIEW button again.
What you see in the Preview image is what will be sent to the printer. If anything is misaligned, it will show up in the Preview image. Make any adjustments to each side of your postcard and click “SAVE.”

Time to Print Your Postcard!

Congratulations! Your postcard is now complete. All you have to do is upload your mailing list and create a campaign so you can send your postcard directly to our printers.
Please check and double check your list(s) your postcard template and your return address before hitting the “Send” button on your campaign.
As soon as you click on that button, your postcard files are delivered to one of our printers and your print job goes straight to the press. You cannot stop the process once it has started.
Your postcards will be delivered to the post office as soon as they’re printed. If your print order is submitted before 1:00 pm Eastern time, your postcards will arrive at the post office that day. If your order is received after 1:00 pm, your postcards will be delivered the next day.
Once your direct mail order is in the hands of the post office, your postcards should be in your customers’ mailboxes within 4 to 6 days.

Get Your Postcard Design Right Every Time

Download our Postcard Builder Checklist so you have every step in the process right in front of you when you’re ready to build your postcard with the Inkit drag-and-drop postcard template builder. Click on the button below to get your copy of the checklist.

Ready to captivate your customers?

Let us show you how automating direct mail can increase your offline conversions.
Schedule a Demo