Playing with iPhoto printing is one of my favorite past times. This time, I went ahead with Apple’s postcard offerings, hoping to finally find a reasonably priced, acceptable quality post card provider. I found it - but there are some things to keep in mind.
Ordering iPhoto postcards is as simple as ordering a book. In fact, it is even simpler: drop a picture in the right place, select a theme, pick a color and you’re done. If you want to get fancy, you can even type some text to pre-fill your cards, making them very suited to mass announcements — but please, no pink or light blue for weddings or babies, it’s just… well…
In my minimalist craze, I went with iPhoto’s “Picture Card” theme, and decided to make it a bona fide postcard, complete with the stamp and addressing area - the other option being to use the entire back of the card as a writing area and throw it in an envelope.
Drag, drop, cut and paste, my cards were done and ordered in a few minutes. They just arrived this morning in a white and green envelope, just bruised and torn enough to show it has traveled. The post office was kind enough to add a foot print on the label, indicating someone had firmly stepped on the thing with Reebok soles at some point during its journey to home. The cards themselves, however, arrived just fine, as the envelope is quite rigid and thick.
Inside were awaiting a few surprises:
- Cards are wrapped in the chic plastic pouch that wraps books and booklets. While these make books a joy to distribute, postcards are, by essence, meant to be posted, meaning the intended recipient will never see that plastic layer. It struck me as a waste of time, money and a little outrage to the environment but maybe I’m overlooking something obvious here.
- My cards were of the “throw in a box” kind, with the addressing area printed directly on the back. This does not prevent them from arriving with not just one but two white envelopes each. Again, my forehead is about to bleed from intense scratching.
- The envelopes have a very cute embossed Apple on the back, making them rather stylish. Also, since overly cheap paper cannot reasonably be embossed, they are of good quality, nicely white and pleasant to the touch. Unfortunately, the effect is diminished by the low quality glue band that you’re supposed to moisten to seal them.
- I went crazy with fonts on the cards, picking three different fonts, neither of which was a Mac OS X default, just for the kick of seeing how they would get printed. The PDF generation luckily went just fine and my cards arrived displaying the right fonts, in the right way. Go Kodak!
- The picture quality of the cards is quite nice. Resolution could be a tad higher and colors are slightly dull but this is iPhoto, after all, not Taschen publishing.
- The cards themselves are rigid, easy to write on with a ballpoint pen and perfectly cut. My only regret is their semi-shiny finish that is neither glossy not matte enough for my peculiar taste.
All in all, except for a couple inexplicable quirks, the iPhoto cards convinced me. Will I use them for weddings or any occasion requiring unparalleled elegance? Most certainly not. Promotional items, thank you notes and casual lunch invitations however have found a new home.