Published Nov 18, 2009

I have this dream, a very, very hopeless dream. My dream is that someday I will be able to print greeting cards on my very own color printer, featuring the photos that I took my own self. OK, so I have small dreams. The point is, I’d pay to live this particular dream. And that worked for parasailing, so I don’t know why greeting cards would be more difficult.

One option is to just buy a bunch of nicely-printed cards. The photo host I use, Smugmug,, offers some real nice ones, but I have to buy a bunch, and most of the time I just need one, for a birthday card or whatever, and then I want to try to pick just the perfect picture for that card. So I make my own. Now, I have Photoshop and Illustrator and InDesign and, worst of all, I actually know how to use all of them. I even have the occasional clever thought,1 so I might could come up with a card design. But it takes much longer to put a nice card together than I would really like to spend on it, so I usually end up bored of the process and come up with something kind of half-assy.

What I’d really like is a simple program with a couple of dozen designs that I can just drop my photos into, then print something out on my color printer. Easy, right? Except I’ve tried a good half dozen greeting card-printing programs and have found the following problems to exist pretty much all at once in every single one:

  • Doesn’t actually print anything but full-page
  • Card designs worse than your average free MySpace page theme circa 2006
  • Can’t rotate, crop, or otherwise fit your pictures
  • Can’t add text
  • Card designs only allow you to use one photo, or seven photos, or some fixed number, but there’s always only one fixed number in the whole program and you’re just stuck with it, pity if you didn’t want five photos on your card
  • All help and manual text in Engrish

    I can’t imagine this would be a difficult program to make, compared to some that are out there, and the upsell possibility of additional card designs is massive. Won’t somebody please take my money?

Until then, I’m stuck paying a vendor a chunk of money for a bunch of cards when I really only need one. There’s only one reason why this should be: somebody’s paying the indie developers off. Must be them all are getting a cut of the big online print-on-demand greeting card industry. They’re around every corner, those printers.

1 Let’s not get overly optimistic here — Ed.


I had decent success making a card just by creating something in Word, and printing it on some cardstock. I did the printing at my local copy shop (Copy America! [1]), both b/c I had to be there anyways to buy cardstock, and because they had a big straight-through printer, whereas mine would wrapped it around rollers a couple times, which I figured probably would not be good for it).

[1] Note that the exclamation point on the end is an important part of the name. They are very excited about both copying, and America, and especially about copying America.

P.S.: It seems like the SUP tag is not supported for commenters. :-(

I’m testing the footnoting in comments now… The style is [number] in text and fnnumber. in the footnote, so I would say that this1 has a footnote numbered one, if it works.

1 Let’s see!

Clearly, everything about that worked except nothing was changed in size.

I love Movable Type, except for the fact that the whole commenting part of the megillah uses entirely different tags than the rest of the content-generating end of the software. So, I don’t know how to troubleshoot this.