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Author Topic: QSL card design  (Read 7236 times)
AC8HF
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Posts: 74




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« on: September 05, 2010, 08:10:54 AM »

I'm planning to design my own QSL cards, and have most of the "front" (photo portion) worked out--it's a nice photo my wife took of the pond in our backyard.  I don't want to clutter it with too much text, though.  Right now, it's got my call sign, name, and location, all in the bottom-right corner.  I started to put the QSO information (call sign, date/time, freq, RST, and mode) in the upper-right corner, but I'm afraid things are going to get cluttered fast.

So--having not received but one QSL card with which to compare, I come to ask questions!

- Is it acceptable to put the QSO information on the back of the card, basically where a "normal" message would go on a traditional (non-QSL) postcard?
- If so, should I put the vertical line down the middle, and put my return address in the corner, again like a traditional?

The sample card I have has all the info on one side; I think it comes from CheapQSL.com's print shop (which, I should mention, does a pretty good job--the card is perfectly nice!).  The reverse has the mailing info.

So, can I keep with the traditional postcard format, or do people prefer their QSL cards to have all the relevant info on one side?

--Carl
AC8HF
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K7KBN
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« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 09:27:44 AM »

My personal preference: put everything on one side, with the other side completely blank. At the top of my own QSL card I have my call in big red letters and my mailing address in a smaller black font.  Vertically down the left side, I have "K7KBN" spelled out with international signal flags and pennants, like on a Navy ship.

In the middle and down to the bottom, I have a set of blanks for the QSO information, a brief description of the rig, a blank where I can write "PSE" or "TNX" for QSLing, a 73, and my name.

I got 3000 of these, in black, red, yellow and blue, several years ago - before home computers and near-professional grade home printers.  A local printer's apprentice took the job on as a project, so all I had to pay for was the material.  $45 was the take-it-home price. 

Today, with the limitless resources that a digital camera and a computer have to offer, I've seen some excellent homebrew QSLs, but I've also seen some where the designer just plain overdid it and the resulting card is a lot more confusing than I, personally, care to look at for very long.
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73
Pat K7KBN
CWO4 USNR Ret.
AC8HF
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Posts: 74




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« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2010, 11:07:37 AM »

Well, I ended up printing out a single sheet of four QSL cards with a two-sided design/format.  For those who are interested in the photo (obverse) side of the card, you can see it at http://www.qrz.com/db/AC8HF

The back is like a "traditional" postcard, with a vertical line separating the mailing portion from the portion containing the QSO information, in a little table.

Sadly I neglected to color-correct for the postcard medium, and so the colors are a bit more dull than I'd like--but I'm fairly happy with the result.  I think they'll work fine, or at least until I decide to do something different!
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AB2T
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Posts: 246




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« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2010, 06:35:17 PM »

BTW very nice card Carl.

The university club station I operated for a few years (VE3UOT, University of Toronto) had a card that looked like a "traditional" QSL card with all the information on the front.  The back was an advertisement for the university club building where the station was located.  Self-promotion, perhaps, and somewhat gratuitous.  Why would a DX station care about the club facilities of a VE station?  Yet, that's another way to cram more info on a card.

73, Jordan 
« Last Edit: September 06, 2010, 06:37:39 PM by Jordan » Logged
W5DQ
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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2010, 09:56:04 AM »

Carl,

If you haven't already taken the plunge and gotten your QSL cards ordered/made, I would highly recommend you look to Gennady UX5UO for your cards. Having designed cards for myself and others as well as ordered from several vendors, I can safely say that Gennady's work is top notch and even though he is in the Ukraine (Europe), his prices are very competetive with anything stateside or other places. His response time is almost immediate via email and he can provide assistance and suggestions to improve the layout of your design if you request. His website is "http://www.ux5uoqsl.com/". The cost of 1000 cards is the same or cheaper than most stateside 200 count orders if you take the mulitple of the 200 order costs into consideration. I know personally I will go nowhere else but to Gennady for my QSLcards.

Take a look - you won't be sorry.

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
AC8HF
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Posts: 74




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« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2010, 10:07:44 AM »

Gene:

I already bought the postcard stock and printed out a few (just four, but still).  I wouldn't say I've committed to this, but I've always preferred to make my own "stuff" when I can.  Plus, my degree is in graphic information technology, so it's a good chance for me to practice!

--Carl
AC8HF
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W0FM
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Posts: 2042




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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2010, 02:54:52 PM »

Hi Carl,

Nice design on the card.  Remember, if you are putting a photo and callsign on the front of a card and the QSO information on the back, ALWAYS print your callsign again on the back side with the QSO info.  That's so the QSL Manager (or receiving ham) doesn't have to flip the card over and over to check the data.  Simple, but appreciated on the other end.

73,

Terry, WØFM
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W7ETA
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Posts: 2528




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« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2010, 05:28:41 AM »

Amen.

Take pity on the QSL managers.  Your call sign and all of the info on one side.

Since I work contest stations and DXpedetions, I have space on my cards for 16 Qs.

73
Bob
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2228




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« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2010, 02:03:53 PM »

Quote
ALWAYS print your callsign again on the back side with the QSO info.
Oh yeah, Great advice.

I like your card Carl, very nice photo, you have talent.

Don't take it personally (it's only my opinion)
nut I think it would look a bit nicer with
just the callsign on the front. But hey that's just me.
Then of course call, name address on the
back, and standard boxes for QSO info.

Oh yeah. Over the box for QSO Date,
be sure you put in the format that you
want. Either  DD/MM/YY or MM/DD/YY.
Europens and most hams use Date-Month-Year,
but some  American hams use the non world standard
Month-Day-Year.
73,, Ken  AD6KA/5R8GQ
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KD8IZZ
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Posts: 274




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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2010, 08:32:29 AM »

I have also printed out my own cards and put all the information on the front side.
Check out my qrz page please. I get kudos on my design which I did with a little photoshop and a lot of powerpoint.
However, I only manage to print out 3 per page. How do you get 4? I use sicsors to cut the cards out of cardstock.
-KD8IZZ Ray
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AC8HF
Member

Posts: 74




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« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2010, 05:44:25 AM »

I have also printed out my own cards and put all the information on the front side.
Check out my qrz page please. I get kudos on my design which I did with a little photoshop and a lot of powerpoint.
However, I only manage to print out 3 per page. How do you get 4? I use sicsors to cut the cards out of cardstock.
-KD8IZZ Ray

Ray--your QSL cards look nice!  Well done.

To get four on a page, I used Avery postcard stock (I don't recall the product number, but Staples and Office Max sell it).  Each sheet holds four postcards edge-to-edge, with no "waste" paper.  I then used Adobe InDesign with appropriate gutters, since my printer doesn't do edge-printing very well.  After putting in a bunch of guides, it was a simple matter of making the design once, then copying it three times.

--Carl
AC8HF
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W7IBI
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Posts: 54




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« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2010, 09:42:34 AM »

Why not click on the "Reviews" to the left, and go to "QSL" listing. Look at some of the sites of providers of cards and see what their samples look like?
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AC8HF
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Posts: 74




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« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2010, 10:20:54 AM »

Why not click on the "Reviews" to the left, and go to "QSL" listing. Look at some of the sites of providers of cards and see what their samples look like?

Why not?  'Cause I went this route, that's why. Smiley

I actually did look at CheapQSL.com and looked over their designs.  I didn't like them.  And having received only one QSL card, I wanted direct input--not generic reviews.
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W7IBI
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Posts: 54




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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2010, 01:42:58 PM »


Why not?  'Cause I went this route, that's why. Smiley

I actually did look at CheapQSL.com and looked over their designs.  I didn't like them.  And having received only one QSL card, I wanted direct input--not generic reviews.
[/quote]

I wasn't suggesting you use any of the printers, just use their samples as a visual reference for design possibilities and type styles.
Good luck with your search and choice. 
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N0AZZ
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Posts: 241




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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2010, 06:25:49 AM »

You will spend twice as much if not more trying to print them yourself in ink and paper as ordering from the fellow in Russia if you use full color cards.

IMHO on the front of card the photo and call sign and entity should show not covering much of a nice photo. Them on the back list all the information on the contacts leaving room for at least 3 QSO's
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