Use a Trading Cards Template to Minimize Printing Errors
Custom trading cards are filling up our printing cue, and we love seeing all the creative ideas come to life! Still, we've noticed that a lot of custom trading card orders come from people without design or commercial printing experience. You don't need to be a pro to make your own awesome cards, but the tips below will help you cover the basics so you don't have to waste money on reprint.
Designing Trading Card Printing Tips for Non-designers
Use the Right Design Software Program
It's entirely possible to create trading cards without expensive software. You can search online for helpful free tools, especially if you don't plan on reselling the cards for money. Nevertheless, your life will be easier if you have access to Photoshop, Illustrator, or even MS Paint. We don't recommend Paint or PowerPoint for that matter; you will get much better results with Adobe products. The choice between Photoshop and Illustrator is somewhat a matter of preference for graphic artists. As a general rule, create photo based cards in Photoshop and character cards in Illustrator. For example, printing trading cards for your baseball team is probably a Photoshop project because you'll use high resolution JPEGs as a big part of the design. To make your own trading card game with complex graphics and a plotline, Illustrator would be a better choice.
Create Contrast for Readability
Contrast is one of the finer points of print design that really separates the field from web based graphics. The contrast principle comes up in web design, but the emphasis tends to be more about spacing and size as opposed to color. On printed trading cards, we see mostly gothic fantasy themes with black backgrounds and decorative script fonts. Black or otherwise dark colored background as fine so long as you balance out the design with light colored text. You might not want to use white writing, but once you see your trading cards in print, you'll understand the importance of color contrast. You can use black text over a dark background, but consider adding a white stroke or an outer glow around it to make the words stand out more.
Download Our Free Trading Cards Template
Our templates are for 2.5 x 3.5 horizontal and vertical cards. Please note that these are blank mock ups, not actual designs. We leave the graphics up to you, and our trading card templates serve as a guide to show you the bleed areas, trim line, and safe zones. The templates are already formatted for print, which means they're in CMYK color mode at 300 dpi. Using a prepress template for Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. reduces the chances of mistakes, such as getting a border when you wanted the artwork to extend all the way to the edge of the card.