Adobe Photoshop is one of the most popular programs for creating postcards. Thanks to its array of tools, Photoshop offers users great control and flexibility.
For a total beginner, it can be hard to know what to do, but in this short step-by-step tutorial, I’ll show you how to make a simple postcard, front and back, and how to add graphics and custom text to it.
Disclaimer: Many postcard printers offer free design programs that produce Photoshop grade designs without the learning curve. If you are looking to easily create a quality postcard design without the hassle of Photoshop, we recommend one of these great online printers.
Step 1. Create a new document.
Launch Photoshop and create a new document (File>New). Since I’m creating a standard postcard of 6 inches by 4 inches, you will have to enter these numbers into the width and height fields.
Choose CMYK as your color space and 300 DPI as your resolution.
TIP: There are many postcard size options that are considered standard. If you’re giving your document to a commercial printer, check size specs to confirm they will match.
Step 2. Set the document’s guides.
We need to define a safe area to ensure nothing relevant will be cut off when printing, so add a 0.25 inch margin for each border of the postcard.
Enable Photoshop’s rulers (View>Rulers). Right click on the rulers and set the unit to inches.
Click on the horizontal ruler and drag to set the first guide to 0.25 inches. Repeat and drag to the 5.75 inch mark. Do the same for the vertical guides, setting the first to 0.25 inches and the next to 3.75 inches.
All the elements of the design you don’t want cut off will have to be within the area defined by these guides.
TIP: Several online printers offer free templates that can be used as a base to design your postcard, so if you are using an online printer, I recommend downloading some of these templates because safe area requirements vary from printer to printer.
Step 3. Add the artwork.
Photos, illustrations, textures and other graphics will all work nicely. Open the image file of your choice. If you have any adjustments to make to your own artwork, it’s better to do it while it’s still in a separate document.
When the image is ready, use the selection tool to drag the image over the postcard document. Use the transform tool to scale the image up or down or rotate it until it fits.
TIP: Choose only high-quality images so your postcard will look flawless once printed.
Step 4. Enter your text.
Select the text tool from the toolbar and position it on the postcard before entering your message or slogan. Take the time to pick fonts and colors that complement your artwork.
From the control panel, set the most appropriate size and anti-aliasing method to make the characters look as crisp and tidy as possible.
Adjust letter spacing (Window>Character) if necessary. Modify the layer style of your text by changing its blend mode and adding drop shadow, glows and other effects to give it a nice touch.
Step 5. The back view
Create a new document with the same specifications used earlier for the front. Grab the line tool, draw a straight vertical line shorter than the postcard’s height and place it slightly off center. Set the line weight to be one or two pixels and the color of the line to black.
To create the address lines, draw another line shorter than the first but horizontally. Select the horizontal path and hold alt while dragging to duplicate it. Hold the shift key as well to keep it aligned with the first line.
Repeat the same process two more times for the third and fourth address lines.
This is a preview of the finished postcard:
You really can do it yourself!
If you want to surprise your friends and acquaintances with a personalized postcard, it’s time to start making your own. As you can see, it’s not as hard as it may have seemed. Hey, that kinda rhymed.
Edited in Photoshop CS5.