A few days ago, I started working on the announcement postcards for the Hartnell show. I’ve had good luck with Modern Postcard in the past, so I decided to use them again. When I took a look at their website, I found that things have changed for the better. There are a number of available options that didn’t exist a few years ago, and they also provide many more services such as envelope printing and mailing.
I picked something they call Tri-fold Deluxe. When folded, it’s about 8 ½ by 5 ½ inches, and when spread out, it’s about 16 inches wide or long, depending on the orientation you select. I decided to send the announcements in envelopes, which gave me more freedom in formatting. I guess that means that they aren’t really postcards anymore, but I still think of them that way.
The next decision was whether to hire somebody to design the postcard, or to do it myself. The cost of the design would probably be about twice as much as the cost of all the postcards, so I decided to save some money and do the work myself. Modern Postcard has InDesign templates on their website, and I downloaded them. There quite nice. All of the graphics and comments are in a separate layer, so you can turn them on what you’re getting everything lined up, and then turn them off to print. While I was at it, I downloaded an ICC profile for their printer, and installed it so I could use it for the CMYK conversion.
Since the average picture in the Nighthawks series is about twice as wide as it is tall, I chose what Modern Postcard calls the vertical orientation. This means that the folds run horizontally, with a folded postcard wider than it is tall, but taller than it is wide when laid flat.
The plan of my design is as follows: a full-bleed photograph from the series on the front of the postcard, and the basics of the announcement on the back. When you open the card by picking up the bottom edge, you see another full-bleed photograph on the still folded bottom part of the tri-fold. When you pull that down, there are three full-width photographs in the middle of the page, one between the folds, one just above the upper fold, and one just below the lower fold. There’s an artist’s statement at the very top, and the details of the show at the extreme bottom.
In my first attempt, all the text was black against a white background. It wasn’t very exciting, so I went with a medium green background for the text on the outside of the card. I picked the color the same way I pick background colors on my website: by going into an adjacent photograph with the eyedropper and sampling a color. That seems to work a lot better for me than fiddling around with Pantone swatches.
I printed out a sample, folded it to make sure that I had the orientations right, and uploaded it to Modern.