Saturday, April 24, 2010

Got Invites?

I decided to make my own invitations for Kyle's graduation party, which will be here before we know it. I used Picnic's collage feature to make the invite, which I love. Here's the almost-finished product:

This is a non-compensated review that I'm writing simply to save headaches for anyone trying to print things on-line.

The problems arose when I set out to print. First, I went to Vistaprints to find out what size I needed to make my custom invite in order to have it fit in some type of envelope. (As you can see, it's square.) I found the page easy to navigate and easy on the eyes. I was happy to see that they offered on-line chat help, as well as an 800-number. However, neither of these were available when I needed the help (on the weekend.) It seems like an odd time of the year to be unavailable (what with graduations, Mother's Day, etc. right around the corner). I was disappointed.

From there, I went to Kinkos. No luck; I couldn't figure out how to print my square invitation.

After that, I went to Jostens, where I got the idea to add a little to the left side to make it a 5 x 7. I tried very hard to use their options for personalizing their templates, but I couldn't figure it out.

Picnik also has postcard printing options, 4 x 6 and 5 x 7 only. They use QOOP.  I wasn't sure I liked the 5 x 7 option, so I went back to Picnik for help. Didn't see Customer Service option, but did find a forum. Too bad the forum didn't answer my question. What I want to know is, Why does Picnik have you make square collages that can only be printed as 5 x 7's?

Once I re-sized my invite to 5 x 7 and added the year, I went back to QOOP to print. While looking around, I clicked on the FAQ section and found this:

Top 11 Questions:
  • When I placed my order I selected next day shipping. Why haven't I received my order yet?
  • How do I cancel my order?
  • I only received part of my order. Where is the rest of it?
  • I received my order but it is damaged. What do I do?
  • Can I return my order?
  • I received somebody else's order. How do I get my order?
  • My photos did not turn out the way I expected; some of the images have the heads cut off, and some have white bars on the sides or tops of the images. How do I fix this?
  • What is the 4 x D photo print size?
  • How do I order photo prints or other products from your site?
  • How much does shipping cost?
  • My pictures came out blurry or really chunky looking (pixelated), but they looked fine when I viewed them on the computer. What went wrong?
Really? These are the common questions? That just didn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling, so I changed my mind. As time began running out, though, I decided to order from Qoop. They were kind enough to give me a discount (which I asked for via email), and I paid $18 for 15 cards, including shipping.  Here's the result:

(sorry-scanner is giving me trouble...still working on i)

As you can see, they cropped my invitation too much, cutting off parts of the numbers and taking space from the top and bottom.[Please note that the postcard quality is very good, and it's the scanner, not Qoop, that made the faded spots in this photo. For the cropping issue alone (don't they have human beings look at them before sending them out?), I'm disappointed and have sent an email to them to see what they will do about it.

Tonight, I had some time to kill, and decided to see what my local OfficeMax could do for me. The guy at the printing counter (Ben) was terrific; polite, respectful, and very helpful. Turns out he could print my invites two to a sheet for just 69 cents each. I asked him if my print was the wrong size or something, and he confirmed that it was a little bit too big, but in a couple of clicks of the mouse, he had I nice proof ready for me. He printed out one copy for my approval, and we decided that the paper was a little too thin. Ten minutes later, I had twenty beautiful invitations on very nice card stock. They look terrific!


I also bought a package of nice envelopes (12 for $2.99) for the invites I'll need to mail.

Ben told me that there are some nice on-line resources for making and printing invitations like mine. Paint.net and for printing, Winkflash.

So, to sum it all up, after all the time I spent trying to figure this all out on-line, I could have saved it all by just going to my friendly neighborhood OfficeMax. It was worth it to save you the trouble :)

16 comments:

  1. Wow, it sounds like a lot of drama to get them, but I'm glad it worked out. I did my sons invites as well - they are so DARN expensive! But I did hand stamped ones, so maybe they were a little hokey, but they were very unique.

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  2. SOMETIMES the brick and mortars are just the right choice. Sometimes.

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  3. That kind of project is always so costly and time-consuming, but you love your boy so much you will do it anyway, so that he gets celebrated.

    So, got any plans on Monday?? :)

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  4. I think the end result was worth all the work! They look great.

    You did good, kid!

    Have a great weekend!

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  5. It is sometimes best to go into town and get with some inperson help. It just doesn't always work with the time of day that you are working on a project.
    The final results you got were terrific!

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  6. You're so right, Anonymous! I was working on this at 12am some nights!

    Thanks, Prairiemaid :)

    Kazzy, I'm working on Monday. Hey-That reminds me--I should bring a birthday treat. I never have before (I believe I shouldn't work on my bday :) Maybe some homemade caramel corn?!

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  7. Mrs. 4444, thanks for visiting me and leaving the nice comments. I tried to email you with my email address but it won't go through. Something about default mail client not properly installed??

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  8. Thank you so much. I have to get my head out of the sand and deal with the fact that my daughter's graduating. Thanks for saving me some grief.

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  9. They look great and I find I always end up back at my friendly Office Max as well.

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  10. We have ordered business cards from Vista Prints to hand out to try to get people interested in buying hubby's CD and the cards came early and I emailed back and forth over a couple things. Your description of all the things you went through and then found it would have been easier to go to Office Max is welcome advice. I will check out Office Max. Your invitation is really nice, great layout and photos. This is a special occasion in your family.

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  11. Gotta agree. I've been making invites and programs for club installations for several years and I always take my work to Office Max. It's easy and cheap (just like me?)

    Are you able to get a refund for the first batch?

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  12. Awesome invite. You should send a link of this post to the Office Max folks. They'd be happy to know you were pleased with the experience.

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  13. Wow, your as persistent as someone else I know! Heeehehe! What a pain ya'll went through but you ended up with a marvelous invitation. Kudos to you and Office Max!!!

    Have a wonderful week!

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  14. Wow, that sounded complicated. They look great. Good work.

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  15. A+ for effort!!! They look great!

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