Last week, I decided it was finally time to buy some marketing materials. I had postcards on my mind for some times so that’s what I bought. VistaPrint gave me the option to upload my own designs for both the front and back and I did. To start off, I ordered 50 oversized (216 x 139 mm) postcards for it to be kind of a test run. I also chose the Colour Reverse Side option. In the end, the total was $25.43 CAD shipped.

Ordering Process

Upon arriving at VistaPrint.ca, you are kind of bombarded with the sheer quantity of product they offer. Anything from business cards and marketing materials to clothing and magnets can be purchased on that site. You have five choices for the postcards; Standard, Small, Medium, Oversized and Jumbo (which is close in size to a regular sheet of paper). After choosing how you want to decide the design, choosing a vertical or horizontal card and size, you land into the Upload Your Image page. They have design guidelines there that you should definitely follow. One nice touch is that they accept vector .ai files meaning there is no chance to get pixelation on the print. After going through the basic “design creator”, you get a nice little preview of what your postcard will resemble. Finally, the option page comes up. There, you are free to select any quantity you want (no less than 50) and the paper stock you’d like (Glossy Stock, 350g/m2 Premium Glossy or Recycled Matte). I chose the basic Glossy Stock.

Then, this page comes up:

A bummer.

Although it pretty much says you can’t continue, if you go to the homepage and then to your cart, the checkout will continue like normal. You can choose between 3 shipping options; the cheaper of which cost $7.99 CAD and takes about 10 business days to land on your door (in my case, I received the package after 7 business days and I am in Quebec, Canada). You enter your shipping and billing info and Voilà!, it’s done.

Overall, I’m not overly impressed by the ordering process. It’s not complicated or anything, it just isn’t impressive. Also, seconds after you complete your order, they offer you those cheap car dealer type promotions (you can buy the same thing you just purchased for a very discounted price or make some cheap pens for a dollar a pop). Furthermore, VistaPrint seem the be constantly running promotions on their product (in fact, I never saw the postcards at full price and I got mine 35% off). So, if the merchandise you desire is full price, I suggest you to wait.

Shipping

As said earlier, the postcards came 7 days after the ordered was placed. Take note that I ordered on the 31st of December so there may be some statutory holidays where nobody worked either at VistaPrint or CanadaPost. Speaking of postage, it arrived in a nice thin brown cardboard “box” with a design that protect the merchandise. It worked. I got them in top shape condition. Another aspect of the shipping merchandise I liked was that it seemed to me that VistaPrint tried to minimize its ecological impact by using recyclable product (cardboard). The only not-so-good-for-the-environment part was the shrink wrap they were place in, but that’s necessary.

Product Quality

What I immediately noticed was how thin the postcards were, and that’s not a good thing. They are bigger than normal, yes, but very flexible and lightweight. One weights 4 grams, which would mean the paper weight is about 133g/m2. I would DEFINITELY go for the 350g/m2 Premium Glossy option. One concern I had about 5 seconds after opening the box is that the image printed on the mat side whereas the side you write on is glossy. That  makes it nearly impossible to write on. I contacted the company about this and they sent me another pack for free, no question asked (that awesome). Also, the printing quality kind of...sucks. Yes, they were dirt cheap but things like the fact that you can see dots almost from a feet away is not amazing. I got to say, the slight gradient on the background of this commercial product image printed quite nicely. Please note that I’m no expert at printing so take my judgment for what it’s worth. Finally, I’d say that lines are sharp and that nothing was cropped off. The online preview compositionally matched to physical product

All in all, that was my experience with VistaPrint. If you have any experiences with this company or another printer, please share it in the comments.

Cheers,

Tristan