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Designing Your Card

We're going to take the easy route in designing a card, by using a predefined template in a commercial DTP program. Serif's PagePlus is a widely used page design application and all the recent versions have included templates for cards; we're using version X3. The simplest size of card is A5, or folded A4, which requires no trimming and can be slid into a standard C5 envelope, readily available from stores like Staples, by mail order or online.

If you have bought a pre-folded blank card for this project, you'll need to adjust the size of the template in the program, but the same design basics apply. Start up PagePlus and select Create, Start New Publication and then Folded, Greetings Cards in the Templates list. Choose ‘Card' if you want a conventional design that opens right to left, or ‘Tent Card', if you want one that opens up from the bottom. We're using a standard Card design.

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Page Plus is clever enough to open a publication for the card, showing the pages of the finished card, rather than the sheet it will be printed on. The first page is therefore the front of the card, pages two and three are the inside left and right and page four is the back of the card. You can see the layout of the pages in the Pages browser on the right of the editing screen and can move between them by double-clicking the page you want to work on.

The first page of a Christmas card will typically contain the main image and a suitable message, like Happy Christmas, Peace on Earth or Season's Greetings...whatever you feel is appropriate. So, what are you going to use as the main image?

Be cautious about using a photograph as the basis of your card. While it may be easy to come up with a suitable photo, it may not be easy to get a good print of it on plain card. Many printers are only really geared to print photos on photo paper, where their inks these days can give better output than traditional silver halide photos.

On plain card, the colours will be dull and can make your card look insipid and amateurish. You can print an overlay on photo paper and cut and paste it onto each card, but that's a lot of extra work. When we say ‘cut and paste', we mean cut and double-sided tape or cut and sticky roller, by the way.

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