Blinded by Avery

Trying to get Avery’s Pre-Cut Business Cards to work with Illustrator and my new printer made me want to scrape out my eyeballs with some kind of hydraulic dental tool covered with fire ants. In other words, it didn’t go well.

I spent something like four hours and probably 15 sheets micro-managing, millimeter by literal millimeter, the location of every fucking line on the page.  I had tried the “print on 8.5″ x 11″ cardstock and then cut out the card” method already, but the 90-weight cardstock I got not only was too flimsy, but it didn’t hold inkjet ink worth a flip.  The fence on the straight cutter I own was no longer 90 degrees to the paper anymore, despite being solid aluminum embedded in the frame, and is also fairly dull.  So I went back to OfficeMax to get some pre-cut cards.  I only wanted 200 to start with, but they had this awesome, half-price clearance deal on 1000, so I grabbed those instead.  Instead of being thick, clean-edged, and easy to use as the packaging claims, they are thin, impossible to break clean edged while the ink is even remotely still wet, and living hell to use easily with something other than Microsoft Word or their proprietary software.  I wanted to use Illustrator, which *would* have been easy if Avery had chosen to put the cards directly in the center of the page, where it would make fucking *sense* to put them.  Did they do that?  Fuck no!  The cards are centered neither vertically or horizontally.  And is there a simple diagram somewhere telling me how far the margins are from the sides of the page?  I guess that would make things too *easy*.  Add to this the fact that my new HP printer doesn’t cover the *entire* page even with edge-to-edge printing, plus the fact that the margin measurements have to be reversed on the opposite side of the paper to line up with the front correctly, and you’re talking about a bed covered with almost-but-not-quite failures and shitloads of wasted ink.

I *am* aware that for larger runs I can do the print-and-cut thing at Kinkos, or order cards online.  I’m in a position, however, where I’ll be making small, custom runs of cards for the foreseeable future, and I want to hold my design in my hand and run it by other people before I order 1000 cards.

At the end of the day, I did manage to find a system that worked.  Once I get all the kinks worked out, I’ll post a little tutorial on here for those stuck in the same bullshit situation as me trying to get these fuckers to work with Illustrator.

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6 Responses to Blinded by Avery

  1. Zen Doe says:

    Love your writing style! The first paragraph had me laughing so hard. Been there!!!

  2. Gail says:

    Even when I only needed 100 cards, I found it MUCH easier to go through Vistaprint and just end up with more than I needed, that whole print at home thing is such a giant pain in the butt, and the cards never seem to come out as nice. Good luck with it!

    • Scott Mauer says:

      Thanks for that info! One thing I will be doing is printing cards with unique IDs on every single one. There may be a printing service that will do that for me, but I haven’t found it yet. I may actually do “limited run” cards to encourage people to collect them over time. I will definitely need mass printing, though.

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