Usually, we do a holiday newsletter, for which I am the designer, editor, and printer. This year, Betty suggested that I take one of my composite photographs and put it on the front of a more conventional card. I was flattered. It wasn’t easy to find a picture appropriate to a greeting card – most of this series is pretty edgy – but I picked out an acceptable one. I looked at the custom cards that we’d been receiving, and was not impressed with the quality of any of them. I went to the Modern Postcard website. As I reported here previously, I really like their quality. Unfortunately, the minimum order is 250; we’d have to throw half of them away.
So I decided to print the cards myself. I found what turned out to be some very nice scored paper at the Red River Paper website. It’s glossy on one side, looking a lot like the Epson Premium Photo Paper Glossy; the other side is uncoated. They say it works well with both pigmented and dye-based inks; I can attest that the results are excellent with the pigment-based inks in the Epson 3880. The scoring is well done; it’s easy to fold the cards in half.
I fired up InDesign, and laid out the card. I was bored with all of the script fonts that I had so I took advantage of the instant gratification of the Internet and downloaded two new ones. What’s happened to font technology in the last 10 years is truly amazing. One of the fonts that I downloaded that I finally decided not to use because it was too ornate, is called Champion Script Pro. It is immensely rich, with over 4000 glyphs, plus incredible ornaments, flourishes and embellishments. It’s a hoot to watch it change the glyphs to beautifully connect the characters as you type.
Laying out the card was a cinch, even if using InDesign for a project like this is kind of like trying to kill a fly with a hammer. Printing the glossy side on the Epson 3800 was also easy. However when I went to print the inside of the card I ran into paper feed difficulties. Paper handling has always been the Achilles heel of the 3000-series printers, so I wasn’t too surprised, but that didn’t make me like it any better. I looked closely at the paper; it turns out that the first pass through the printer had introduced a slight curl. I bent the paper back against the curl, and that helped some. Then I took the stack of paper, put a few books on top of it, and left it overnight. The next morning it fed better, but it still wouldn’t feed right with more than 20 sheets at a time in the input hopper.
The experience, together with my previous difficulties feeding large sheets of paper through the 3880, made me think about getting a 4000-series printer. The 4900, just introduced, has the advantage of the new wider-gamut ink set, and probably has the excellent paper handling qualities of previous 4000-series printers. Epson says it’s a lot quieter, which is nice, since noise was a problem with the old printers in this class. The big drawback for me: the smallest sheet-fed media is 8 by 10. I use five by seven a lot; it’s a nice size to give to models, potential customers, and the drivers that I work with. I don’t want to give up the space required to have both a 3880 and a 4900. I suppose I could get a small printer for the five by sevens, but I think what I’ll do for the time being is just live with the 3880.