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Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline

Overview – How To Properly Save Images For Postalytics Using Adobe Tools

While Postalytics requires that direct mail templates get finalized and proofed in our online editor, we also makes it really easy to build direct mail postcards offline in tools such as those from Adobe®.

Download Adobe® Template Zip File

Jump to the section of the article describing how to output from:

Adobe Photoshop®

Adobe Illustrator®

Adobe InDesign®

Designers who are comfortable using these tools can build in their preferred environment, upload the files into Postalytics and still take advantage of the most modern, connected and trackable way to generate direct mail campaigns.

Often, designers who build direct mail postcards offline will use the unique personalization and tracking tools that the Direct Mail Editor can overlay on postcards. These options can be layered on within minutes of uploading the offline built images. When combined with the unique Smart Send and Triggered Drip campaigns, offline created postcards can truly become part of a digital marketing infrastructure.

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline With Image Files (JPG or PNG)

Often, designers are accustomed to using Adobe tools to generate PDF’s for review by decision makers, print partners and others. With Postalytics, designers only need to generate image files using offline tools. We recommend saving your design as a JPG or PNG file at 300 dpi, with the exact bleed dimensions specified below. JPG is probably your best bet, as PNG files sizes can get very large. Our maximum allowable file size if 5MB per image.

Use PNG for images that require transparency, like a logo. Background images should be saved in JPG format.

Why output direct mail templates as image files rather than PDF’s? Because Postalytics templates are stored as HTML! Your image will be loaded into a web based editor for final production and proofing. There are several advantages to building direct mail templates and saving them as HTML – personalization, copying and editing become a breeze!

The image files you generate are uploaded into Postalytics where personalization and tracking elements are layered on. Postalytics will generate the final high resolution PDF Proof  (see the article on Proofing your template).

Download Adobe® Template Zip File

Postcard Guidelines

These Adobe templates show specific guidelines for designers who wish to build direct mail postcards offline to upload to Postalytics. Maintaining your artwork within the guidelines will ensure a simple and easy upload process. The templates also include a postcard design example to provide inspiration and show how to maintain your artwork within the guidelines.

The template sizes are available in 4×6, 6×9, and 6×11 in both portrait and landscape layouts.

Landscape Layout:

  • 4″ x 6″ (Landscape)   120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
  • 6″ x 9″ (Landscape)   120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
  • 6″ x 11″ (Landscape)   120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated

Front Portrait Layout: 

  • 4″ x 6″ (Front Portrait)   120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
  • 6″ x 9″ (Front Portrait)    120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
  • 6″ x 11″ (Front Portrait)    120# (14PT) gloss cover, UV coated
*NOTE: Only the front side of the postcard is a portrait layout. The back maintains a landscape layout.

Read our guide to direct mail postcard and letter sizes.

Template Options

Download Adobe® Template Zip File

Adobe Photoshop® (Recommended)
Adobe Illustrator®
Adobe InDesign®

Template Guidelines (Landscape Layout)
Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Postcard Front Layout - LandscapeBuild Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Postcard Back Format - Landscape

Template Guidelines (Front Portrait Layout)

Only the front side of the postcard has a portrait layout. The backside maintains a landscape layout.

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Postcard Front Layout - Portrait

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Postcard Back Layout

Safe Margin, Trim & Bleed

Safe Margin

Keep all text within this boundary to ensure it does not get cut off during printing.

Trim Line

The actual size of the postcard after it has been cut by the printer.

Bleed – the exact dimensions of your background images

The area that extends beyond the trim line, thus being the overall document size.

The Bleed is the exact dimension of all background images in Postalytics. It is the portion of your design that you extend past the Trim or “cut” lines of a printed piece. This is done to ensure that you don’t end up with white lines on your mailpiece due to slight variances in the printing process.


All background images or artwork that you want to upload into Postalytics in the “Build Offline” uploader must be the exact dimensions of the bleed areas listed below. 

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Safe Margin Trim Line and Bleed

Want to learn more about bleed, trim and safe areas in print ads? Here’s a good article.

Dimensions (Landscape Layout)

Key

H  =  Height          W  =  Width          in  =  inches          px  =  pixels

4” x 6” Postcard (Landscape Layout)

Guides
H x W (in)
H x W (px)
Bleed (background image requirement)4.25” x 6.25” 1275 x 1875
Trim (estimated cut)4” x 6” 1200 x 1800
Safe Margin 3.875” x 5.875”1162.5 x 1762.5

6” x 9” Postcard (Landscape Layout)

Guides
H x W (in)
H x W (px)
Bleed (background image requirement)6.25” x 9.25” 1875 x 2775
Trim6” x 9”1800 x 2700
Safe Margin5.875” x 8.875”1762.5 x 2662.5

6” x 11” Postcard (Landscape Layout)

Guides
H x W (in)
H x W (px)
Bleed (background image requirement)6.25” x 11.25” 1875 x 3375
Trim6” x 11”1800 x 3300
Safe Margin5.875” x 10.875”1762.5 x 3262.5

Dimensions (Front Portrait Layout)

Only the front side of the postcard is a portrait layout, the backside maintains a landscape layout, therefore the dimensions listed below are for the front side of the postcard only. Please follow the landscape dimensions for the back of the postcard.

Key

H  =  Height          W  =  Width          in  =  inches          px  =  pixels

4” x 6” Postcard (Front Portrait Layout)

Guides
H x W (in)
H x W (px)
Bleed (background image requirement)6.25” x 4.25”1875 x 1275
Trim6” x 4”1800 x 1200
Safe Margin5.875” x 3.875”1762.5 x 1162.5

6” x 9” Postcard (Front Portrait Layout)

Guides
H x W (in)
H x W (px)
Bleed (background image requirement)9.25” x 6.25”2775 x 1875
Trim9” x 6”2700 x 1800
Safe Margin8.875” x 5.875”2662.5 x 1762.5

6” x 11” Postcard (Front Portrait Layout)

Guides
H x W (in)
H x W (px)
Bleed (background image requirement)11.25” x 6.25”3375 x 1875
Trim11” x 6”3300 x 1800
Safe Margin10.875” x 5.875”3262.5 x 1762.5

Design Example: Front (Landscape Layout)

The front of the postcard provides an open canvas to design. Reach your audience with bold images, personalization and clear messaging.

Adding Personalization With Variable Data & Variable Logic

Design the look and placement of variable data and variable logic but when saving and exporting document you must leave variable content areas blank; variable data and variable logic will be added online in Postalytics postcard editor.

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Postcard Front Personalization

What is Variable Data?

Information derived from a contact list that populates designated content areas in emails, landing pages, and direct mail to personalize the viewer experience.

What is Variable Logic?

Content that differs between viewers based on their unique information in a contact list. Variable logic makes designs more personalized, efficient, and readable.

Design Example: Back (Landscape Layout)

The back of the postcard includes the address and postage area.  Keep this area blank and design your postcard around it. Get your audience more engaged by adding variable data, variable logic, and a Personalized URL(pURL).  

Adding a Personalized URL (pURL)

Design the look and placement of the pURL but when saving and exporting document you must leave pURL areas blank; the pURL will be added online in Postalytics postcard editor.

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Postcard Back pURL

What is a pURL?

A Personalized URL or link is a unique tracking ULR that Postalytics generates for each mailpiece. the pURL identifies each mail recipient, the piece of mail and campaign they came from, and then directs a contact to a unique web landing page generated specifically for that individual. A pURL allows you to create unique marketing messages for each person on your contact list.

Design Example: Front (Front Portrait Layout)

The front of the postcard provides an open canvas to design. Reach your audience with captivating messaging.
Please keep note that only the front of the postcard is a portrait layout, the backside maintains a landscape layout.

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Postcard Front Design Tips - Portrait

Design Example: Back (Front Portrait Layout)

The back of the postcard includes the address and postage area. Keep this area blank and design your postcard around it. Get your audience more engaged by adding variable data, variable logic, and a Personalized URL(pURL). This is the backside to the portrait postcard layout.
Only the front of the postcard is a portrait layout, the backside maintains a landscape layout.

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Postcard Back Design Tips

Saving & Exporting

To ensure an easy upload and print process, follow the saving and exporting guidelines. The process varies between Adobe Photoshop®, InDesign®, and Illustrator® so follow accordingly.

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Photoshop Layers PanelAdobe Photoshop® (Recommended)

Want to build an Adobe Photoshop® postcard? It’s easy!

When saving and exporting your front and back postcard in Photoshop®, it is very important to turn off or delete the Specs, Guides, and Design Example layers.

Turn off Layers

In the layers panel, click the eyeball to turn OFF each layer (Specs, Guides, and Design Example).

Delete Layers

In the layers panel, click the lock to unlock layers, (Specs, Guides, and Design Example), then click each layer to highlight and drag to the trash can in the right-hand corner.

Variable Content

Leave areas that will contain variable content (variable data, variable logic, pURL) blank. You will add variable content in the Postalytics editor.

Resolution

Your file needs to be 300 dpi for best print quality. To check your resolution, Select Image>Image Size. The Image Size dialogue box will open. Next to Resolution should be 300 pixels/inch.

Exporting as JPEG (Recommended)

  1. Convert CMYK to RGB for creative
  2. Select File > Export > Export As…
  3. Dialogue Box Opens
  4. Format select JPG
  5. Quality select 100%
  6. Color Space options select “Convert to sRGB ” and “Embed Color Profile”
  7. Click Export All
  8. Name your file and save

Exporting as PNG 

  1. Convert CMYK to RGB for creative
  2. Select File > Export > Export As…
  3. Dialogue Box Opens
  4. Format select PNG
  5. Color Space options select “Convert to sRGB ” and “Embed Color Profile”
  6. Click Export All
  7. Name your file and save
*NOTE: You can also export JPGs in CMYK color mode, but make sure the color space options stated above are selected.

*NOTE: Export each Photoshop® page individually to create separate front and back postcard files to upload.

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - InDesign Layers Panel

Adobe InDesign®

There are a few key suggestions for building an Adobe InDesign® postcard front and back for Postalytics.

When saving and exporting your front and back postcard in InDesign® it is very important to turn off or delete the Specs, Guides, and Design Example layers.

Turn off Layers

In the layers panel, click the eyeball to turn OFF each layer (Specs, Guides, and Design Example).

Delete Layers

In the layers panel, click the lock to unlock layers, (Specs, Guides, and Design Example), then click each layer to highlight and drag to the trash can in the right-hand corner.

Variable Content

Leave areas that will contain variable content (variable data, variable logic, pURL) blank. You will add variable content in the Postalytics editor.

Converting Text to Outlines

When fonts can’t be embedded in exported files, prevent upload errors by converting all text to outlines. Highlight all text, Select Type > Create Outlines.

Resolution

Any image you place into InDesign® needs to be 300 dpi. In the export process you will also export your file in 300 dpi.

Exporting as JPG (Recommended)

    1. Convert CMYK to RGB for creative
    2. Select File > Export > Export As…
    3. Dialogue Box Opens
    4. Name your file
    5. select JPEG for “Save as type”
    6. click save
    7. A new dialogue box opens
    8. Under “Image” set Quality to High
    9. Under “Image” set Format Method to Baseline
    10. Under “Image” set Resolution to 300
    11. Under “Image” set Color Space to RGB
    12. Under “Options” select Embed Color Profile
    13. Under “Options” select Simulate Overprint
    14. Click Export

Exporting as PNG

    1. Convert CMYK to RGB for creative
    2. Select File > Export > Export As…
    3. Dialogue Box Opens
    4. Name your file
    5. select PNG for “Save as type”
    6. click save
    7. A new dialogue box opens
    8. Under “Image” set Quality to High
    9. Under “Image” set Resolution to 300
    10. Under “Image” set Color Space to RGB
    11. Under “Options” select Simulate Overprint
    12. Click Export
*NOTE: You can also export JPEGs in CMYK color mode, however double check the color when proofing to make sure they match. If the colors differ, please print from the proofed PDF to check if the print color is accurate. If it is not you may need to adjust your CMYK values to match RGB color value representation.
*NOTE: Export each InDesign®page individually to create separate front and back postcard files to upload.

Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline - Illustrator Layers Panel

Adobe Illustrator®

Follow similar rules when creating an Adobe Illustrator®postcard front and back.

When saving and exporting your front and back postcard in Illustrator® it is very important to turn off or delete the Specs, Guides, and Design Example layers.

Turn off Layers

In the layers panel, click the eyeball to turn OFF each layer (Specs, Guides, and Design Example).

Delete Layers

In the layers panel, click the lock to unlock layers, (Specs, Guides, and Design Example), then click each layer to highlight and drag to the trash can in the right-hand corner.

Variable Content

Leave areas that will contain variable content (variable data, variable logic, pURL) blank. You will add variable content in the Postalytics editor.

Converting Text to Outlines

When fonts can’t be embedded in exported files, prevent upload errors by converting all text to outlines. Highlight all text, Select Type >Create Outlines.

Resolution

Any image you place into Illustrator®needs to be 300 dpi. In the export process you will also export your file in 300 dpi.

Exporting as JPEG (Recommended)

    1. Convert CMYK to RGB for creative
    2. Select File > Export > Export As…
    3. Dialogue Box Opens
    4. Name your file
    5. Check Use Artboards
    6. select JPEG for “Save as type”
    7. click save
    8. A new dialogue box opens
    9. Under Image set Color Model to RGB
    10. Under Image set Quality to 10 and Maximum
    11. Under “Options” set Compression Method to Baseline (standard)
    12. Under “Options” set Resolution to Screen 72ppi
    13. Select Embed ICC Profile
    14. Click OK

Exporting as PNG

    1. Convert CMYK to RGB for creative
    2. Select File > Export > Export As…
    3. Dialogue Box Opens
    4. Name your file
    5. Check Use Artboards
    6. select PNG for “Save as type”
    7. click save
    8. A new dialogue box opens
    9. Under “Options” set Resolution to Screen 72ppi
    10. Click OK
*NOTE: You can also export JPEGs in CMYK color mode.

*NOTE: Export each Illustrator®artboard individually to create separate front and back postcard files to upload.

Get Help—Build Direct Mail Postcards Offline

It is easy to build direct mail postcards offline and still get the powerful campaign management, CRM integration, tracking and personalization tools from Postalytics. If you have any questions, or if you want to discuss your campaign or creative strategies with our experts:

Contact Postalytics!

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