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An advertising postcard is a postcard used for advertising purposes (as opposed to tourism and greeting postcards).
Because the postcard begins as a blank sheet of card, the options for what may be advertised are endless. Postcards are used
in advertising as an alternative to or complementary addition to other print advertising such as catalogs, letters, leaflets
and flyers. Advertising postcards may be mailed or distributed by other means.
An advertising postcard that is sent in the mail directly to the recipient. An organization may send advertising postcards to
their current customers, prospective customers, and/or names and addresses to which they want to target their advertisements.
Direct mail advertising postcards offer an advantage over other direct marketing mail pieces, such as letters, because the
recipient can see the message without having to open the piece of mail. However, they suffer disadvantages also. Because of
their relatively small size, they cannot carry much content, and as their contents cannot be hidden from view, they are not
viable where privacy or security are concerns.
Many traditional businesses use direct mail advertising postcards. Common examples include:
Realtors - advertising new listings (example: Real Estate Postcards)
Political campaigns - getting the message out
Doctors / Dentists - appointment reminders
Others - lawn care, oil change, movie rentals, coupons, etc.
Though postcards have traditionally always been rectangular in shape, certain postal authorities, such as Canadaís Canada Post
Corporation, do allow certain non-rectangular shaped cards to be mailed. This has given rise to new marketing concepts such
as round postcards or cards specifically die cut to match the theme of a particular campaign.
An advertising postcard which may also known as a freecard or an adcard is a postcard which is designed and used to advertise
or raise awareness of a company, service or cause. Some of these postcards have insufficient space to include a postal address
and a message on the reverse side.
Generally found more often in venues frequented by the younger people (age 18-35), advertising postcards can be found in, nightclubs,
restaurants, bars, cinemas, art galleries, museums, theatres, hotels, retail sites, universities and high schools.
Patrons can take them for free, and the success of the medium relies clever or discreet advertising slogans, attractive or ingenious
images and production on good quality card stock with a traditional postcard back. One of the marketing concepts is that the cards
are so attractive that people want to pick them up, save, show, or post them to a friend and say "have you seen this?". They can become
print viral marketing.
A characterising feature of the cards is that they carry the publisher/distributorís name and logo. The postcard displays usually have
between 10 to 20 slots, and cards are changed on a regular basis so there is a continuing supply of new material.
A postcard or post card is a rectangular piece of thick paper or thin cardboard intended for writing and mailing without an envelope.
In some places, it is possible to send them for a lower fee than for a letter. Stamp collectors distinguish between postcards
(which require a stamp) and postal cards (which have the postage pre-printed on them). While a postcard is usually printed by
a private company, individual or organization, a postal card is issued by the relevant postal authority. The United States Postal
Service defines a postcard as: rectangular, at least 31/2 inches (88.9 mm) high ◊ 5 inches (127 mm) long ◊ 0.007 inches (0.178 mm)
thick and no more than 41/4 inches (108 mm) high ◊ 6 inches (152.4 mm) long ◊ 0.016 inches (0.406 mm) thick. However, some postcards
have deviated from this (for example, shaped postcards).
BRITISH SEASIDE POSTCARDS
In 1894, British publishers were given permission by the Royal Mail to manufacture and distribute picture postcards, which could be
sent through the post. The first UK postcards were produced by printing firm Stewarts of Edinburgh and early postcards were pictures
of famous landmarks, scenic views, photographs or drawings of celebrities and so on. With steam locomotives providing fast and
affordable travel, the seaside became a popular tourist destination, and generated its own souvenir-industry: the picture postcard was,
and is, an essential staple of this industry.
In the early 1930s, cartoon-style saucy postcards became widespread, and at the peak of their popularity the sale of saucy postcards
reached a massive 16 million a year. They were often bawdy in nature, making use of innuendo and double entendres and traditionally
featured stereotypical characters such as vicars, large ladies and put-upon husbands, in the same vein as the Carry On films. In the
early 1950s, the newly elected Conservative government were concerned at the apparent deterioration of morals in Britain and decided
on a crackdown on these postcards. The main target on their hit list was the renowned postcard artist Donald McGill. In the more liberal
1960s, the saucy postcard was revived and became to be considered, by some[who?], as an art form. This helped its popularity and once
again they became an institution. However, during the 1970s and 1980s, the quality of the artwork and humour started to deteriorate and,
with changing attitudes towards the cards' content, the demise of the saucy postcard occurred. Original postcards are now highly sought
after, and rare examples can command high prices at auction. The best-known saucy seaside postcards were created by a publishing company
called Bamforths, based in the town of Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, England. Despite the decline in popularity of postcards that are
overtly 'saucy', postcards continue to be a significant economic and cultural aspect of British seaside tourism. Sold by newsagents and
street vendors, as well as by specialist souvenir shops, modern seaside postcards often feature multiple depictions of the resort in
unusually favourable weather conditions. John Hinde, the British photographer, used saturated colour and meticulously planned his
photographs, which made his postcards of the later twentieth century become collected and admired as kitsch. Such cards are also respected
as important documents of social history, and have been influential on the work of Martin Parr.