Having your own postcards professionally printed - OK for RRs and tags?

Hello!

I’m an overthinker, so TL;DR: What do you think about sending and receiving self-designed postcards that are professionally printed (in this case, at moo.com)?

I’m relatively new to postcrossing, and have been very excited about RR and tag swaps on the forum, but am aware that I’m not familiar with certain expectations or written/unwritten rules here. I have ideas for postcards I’m really excited about, but can’t find to purchase, so I’ve been printing my own at moo.com - mostly from my own drawings, but also some from high resolution public domain images or creative commons with appropriate attribution.

I’m aware a lot of postcrossers don’t like ‘handmade’ cards for whatever reason - totally fine. The RRs I’ve joined have mostly seemed to say no handmade (or sometimes ‘self-printed’) postcards unless requested in profile - so while I enjoy making what I think of ‘handmade’ (usually watercolor) cards myself, I don’t send them to anyone unless specifically requested in their profile or in a specific RR for those cards.

I was under the impression that people not wanting handmade or self-printed cards were largely a concern with the quality of the physical postcard itself, but that cards printed professionally from moo were not considered handmade. The moo cards I’ve ordered are a thick cardstock and the image side is coated for protection. This is why I’ve been printing them at moo - they cost me more than many other postcards I’ve been buying, but I really love sending out postcards I’m excited about, I designed or picked out the pictures for, and I think other people will love based on their preferences. Some of the ‘professional’ postcards I’ve purchased seem lesser quality to me personally - either thinner cardstock, not coated on the image side for protection, or also coated on the writing side which makes it hard for me to write on without smearing, or not available in 4x6 cards (which I personally prefer to fit in our album).

Where is the line for you, personally? If I started selling them on etsy and people ordered them, would they stop counting as handmade, self-published, etc.? When people say professionally published - do they mean not even cards ordered on etsy? That’s where I get my LouPaper cards, which people here seem to love.

One of the RRs I joined recently specifically requested only professionally-published cards, so I contacted them to check if my self-designed but printed at moo cards were OK. They said they thought some people would be disappointed with those cards, and I had no other cards that fit the theme, so I un-joined the RR before addresses had been handed out. I’ve joined another RR of theirs but addresses have already been handed out so I plan to buy specific postcards for people who I don’t have purchased cards that fit their preferences - no problem.

I’m totally fine with RR hosts having whatever rules and preferences they want - am not upset about not joining this specific RR. I am concerned about whether or not this is a general issue - if people in RRs and tags don’t want what I think of as ‘self-designed, professionally-printed’ cards, I’ll probably just stop printing them as I don’t want people to be generally disappointed receiving them. I know you can’t please everyone and people aren’t going to love all their postcards no matter what - but if it’s a general unspoken rule on the forums that these cards are less desirable, I’m not trying to be difficult.

Would you send cards that are self-designed but printed at moo.com? Would you be disappointed to receive these cards? No offense taken either way - there is no right or wrong answer. I am not looking for an echo chamber for people to agree with me, I am looking for your actual (respectfully worded) opinions and trying to decide if I should keep getting cards printed.

Thanks!

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Some of the store bought or internet cards I have ordered are lower quality than the professionally printed cards people have printed themselves.

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My answer is yes.
I send my own photos that are professionally printed, on the main site, in tags and in RRs.

I can’t speak for all the RRs, but the one I regularly take part in (and host!) is the Stamp Story one - and the stamp is the main character in that RR, hence professionally printed cards are cool :sunglasses:

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If people dont like it they usually write it on their profile.

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This question has been covered extensively. But since you are asking for honest opinions, I will give you mine.

I dislike self-printed, member designing and having postcards professionally printed, etc. My issue isn’t so much with the quality which is often very good. The big problem is that many of these cards are of a generic nature. I once acquired a lot of viewcards via auction. I only realized after I got therm they were Zazzle stuff. Total junk. Couldn’t trade them, couldn’t sell them, I ended up giving them away to a friend.

The other issue is: “why reinvent the wheel?” There are hundreds of thousands of postcards available for purchase. Why do you suppose someone will go to your shop (if you open one) to buy postcards with common stock designs? I’ve had my online store listed here on Postcrossing for almost two years. I cannot recall one sale. Not one. I do a modest postcard business on another platform, but it has taken me a long time to build that business. My customers purchase high quality viewcards from companies that have commercially printed viewcards for decades. My most popular sellers are Lighthouses, Maps, Stadiums, Bridges and so on.

It’s commendable what you wish to do. One last thought. You’ve mentioned what excites you in terms of subjects that you may wish to have printed. Just adjust that a bit and try to find out what excites others in terms of subjects they might like. That means an investment in time. But without it, some major disappointments might follow. Best wishes on your endeavor.

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I think professionally printed cards that you’ve designed yourself are totally fine in all contexts. Of course, some people might choose generic or boring or ugly pictures to have printed, but that’s also true of professional companies and some people also buy and send generic or boring or ugly cards so I don’t personally think it’s possible to generalise and write off an entire category of cards for that reason.

I’d say that if you feel proud of what you’ve made, you know it’s of good quality, and it is something you would have felt satisfied buying, go for it. For me, I think the real problem comes when people choose to only send out cards they’ve had printed even when it doesn’t align with people’s interests — I do think you need to still make a reasonable effort to connect with individuals and not send the same thing to everyone, but I’m sure that’s what most of us do.

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