Postcards are the ideal printed marketing material for many types of businesses. No matter what you want to market, a postcard campaign is an inexpensive way to advertise your products or services to a local audience but the postcard must be designed in a dynamic way if it's going to get any attention.
Before you begin designing your postcard, consider the two types of print processes: digital and offset. Although digital print technology can produce prints of a decent quality, you should use a print company that offers offset (CMYK) printing for the best results. Both of these processes will require high quality (300 dpi) design files and are likely to require CMYK (rather than RGB) files in JPG, PDF, TIFF, AI, PSD or other digital design file format.
Print companies that specialize in offset printing use cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks in individual print passes to produce crisp and colorful prints. The colors on your postcard are made by combining these four colors - producing a high volume of prints by repeating this process very quickly on special print equipment. All major design software supports a CMYK display mode and is compatible with this method of printing. Just make sure you design and save (or export) your files in this color mode. It should also be noted that all major programs use RGB display mode as a default setting, so be sure to change your color mode to CMYK before designing for print.
Print companies can convert RGB files to CMYK format for you, but it may alter your color palette. Designing the postcard in CMYK from the start of your project is the best way to ensure you end up with a product that is most suitable for print.
If in Doubt, Order a Proof
Professional print designers spend hours tweaking their monitors and computer settings to display color as accurately as possible. Even the best color management systems will still have a margin of error because computer screens display in red, green and blue light (RGB) rather than cyan and magenta (CMYK). Always order a proof of your CMYK design and check it for color consistency before committing to a full print run of postcards.