I often peruse the major photo card and custom card company sites for inspiration, trend-watching, and to admire the competition in order to sharpen and hone my own skills. There are some beautiful templates made by incredibly talented designers, and I know the norm has become to order from these companies, which also include printing, in order to save time and headaches at the holiday season. It doesn’t hurt that they offer coupons (got one in the mail last week that I used to order custom return address labels for my own cards! See? Hassle free! Cute design, don’t have to print on labels, save the trouble! I get it!) and discounts that save money at this time, too. And there are some really great reasons to order from a major online retailer (but that’s not the point of this post, so I’m not going to list them…)
So, why order from a small, online digital card shop like BeanPress? I believe that there are a few reasons to do so…shall I enumerate? I shall.
1. Complete customization
Traditional photo sites like (dare I name one?) Shutterfly and TinyPrints can offer some customization in your card selection. They tailor your name, photo, and often even offer two or three color choices per design. However, when your order from a shop like mine on Etsy, you can customize almost the ENTIRE process–from photo enhancement (cropping, blemish touch-up, change to black and white) to unlimited color options, from text changes to minor layout edits. The customer and designer work together, and while there are some restraints, the process is much more tailored to your tastes.
2. Home Economics
Purchasing a digital design from an online small business makes the Christmas-card sending process much more affordable than ordering from a major online retailer. With options to email your design or print from home, it really doesn’t get much more financially prudent (unless you hand write a Christmas greeting on a piece of printer paper and send it out….which is what my husband would have me do, given his druthers). Small shops on sites like Etsy often offer printing services whose prices rival major retailers, and if not, you can choose one yourself that works within your budget. Financial control and freedom. I like that at the most expensive (I mean, wonderful) time of the year.
3. A Personal Touch
This might not be the most compelling reason to order from a small digital design shop (hey, I listed it at #3, not #1), but it is nice to work with an individual whose small business is dependent on customer service. Call me old-fashioned, but I like communicating with someone who cares about their work, wants me to be happy with my purchase, and enjoys what they do. That’s how I try to run my little business, and I believe that most others do, as well. I communicate with my clients promptly and in a friendly manner…and I have made some wonderful connections in the short time that I have been operating my shop.
4. Proof and Proof Again
An additional reason that I like digital design is that it offers the chance to proof and re-proof before printing. This also affords the opportunity to re-think a photo, a layout, and wording for a card. With digital cards, the client has the chance to re-proof as much as he or she would like before printing (although with many shops, including BeanPress, an additional fee is incurred after two or three edits, in order to compensate for the designer’s time as changes are made. Come on, that’s only fair if you’ve changed your mind on the photo three times, right?).
5. A “Green” Option
If you prefer to go paperless this year (for environmental or financial reasons), ordering a digital design gives you a budget-friendly option, as well. Simply embed your digital design into an email and send out to your loved ones. Easy, peezy!
Have I convinced you? Any other reasons you can think of to go digital this year? Consider it–if not from BeanPress, please think about supporting another small digital design shop this year. And don’t forget that Saturday, November 30th is American Express’ Small Business Saturday!