A little while ago, almost two months now, I decided to look into the Card Print Program over at DriveThruCards a little more in detail. I read their FAQs and Tutorials, downloaded some Software and in the end tried to create a few experimental cards of my own. Of course, things turned out to be a little more tricky than initially anticipated. Designing for professional print is an entirely new experience compared to creating PDFs for viewing on a screen or printing at home.
The FAQ compiled by the team of the OneBookShelf sites highlights the most tricky parts. For one you have t odesign in CMYK color space. Something I was not initially used to. As it turns out the free software I tend to use is not quite up to the task of working with CMYK images, not without 3rd party plugins and anyway. And even then its capabilities are limited. Of course I didn't feel like spending hundreds of € on professional software I probably wouldn't make much use of either. I managed to work around this issue by writing myself my own RGB to CMYK converter software using ICC profiles. One obstacle cleared!
What in the end stopped me from publishing any cards of my own was something that seems much more trivial at first glance. For print you have to create a PDF document complying to some important standards. Color space used is one of them. Others include things like format, bleed, etc. The tutorials provided helped me clear most of these hurdles. Except for one. Exporting the file in PDF X 1a format. At the time I tried the free layout software (Scribus) didn't support this export option in its stable release. As far as I know it still doesn't.
Once this changes though, I might just have to check back and try again. Until then I decided to release some of the graphics created for this little experiment as stockart collections. You can have a look at it here and here. As a little extra I'll show you two experimental card designs I did as well:
Intelligences - Experimental Cards