Help & Support
We are here to help.
Here is a list of our most commonly asked questions. Click the subject below to expand helpful information on each topic. Can’t find your question? We are available through chat, email or by phone to assist you.
A: Each order includes placement of 1 full color image and headline on the frontside and a grayscale logo on the backside. We will also typeset the following text counts:
- Standard, up to 50 words
- Deluxe, up to 100 words
- Sumo Size, up to 150 words
- Double on corresponding folded and tri-fold products
Of course, we will also perform a thorough quality check of your digital files and notify you of any issues before your job is printed.
Q: What does 4/1 and 4/4 mean?
A: The term 4/1 refers to the use of our four color printing process: cyan, magenta, yellow and black on the front of our cards and only black ink on the back. The 4/4 printing is four color process on both the front and back of the card.
Q: What kind of paper stock do you use?
Modern’s primary stock is the PEFC certified 14pt Premium Card Stock, heavy-duty paper designed to withstand the rigors of mailing. Other stocks that are available by request include our 14pt Recycled Card Stock and 100lb Premium Text.
Q: What kind of press do you use?
A: We use a Komori Lithrone sheet-fed press.
Q: What kind of inks do you use?
A: We finish all of our color products with a non-toxic aqueous gloss coating on the color side(s). We also offer a matte coating by request.
Q: What line screen do you print with?
A: We print with a 240 line screen (lines per inch) on color sides, 175 line screen on the backside of 4/1 cards.
Q: Can I request custom (spot) inks?
A: No. We print using the 4-color process, meaning that all of our products are printed with Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks. We do not use any inks other than CMYK.
Q: What kinds of finish (coating) can I get?
A: We finish all of our color products with a non-toxic aqueous gloss coating on the color side(s). We also offer a matte coating by request.
Q: What type of coating do you use on your postcards?
A: While the cardstock has a natural semi-gloss, we also use a water-based “Aqueous” coating on any side that gets printed with color. The aqueous coating enhances the brilliance of our cards and provides added durability. This coating is biodegradable and more environmentally friendly than other types such as Ultraviolet.
Q: Do you offer any creative services?
A: Although the base price includes placement of 3 images/logos and typesetting, we also offer creative services. The minimum is $100/hour and turnaround times differ. If you are interested in this service, please contact a Direct Marketing Specialist for details: 800.959.8365.
Q: Can you score and fold my cards?
A: Yes. Conventional products such as the greeting card double and triple products include the score and fold as part of the base printing price. For our custom products we can score and fold your order for you at the rate of $10 per 1000 ($10 minimum) per fold. In some cases, due to limitations of our bindery process, we can score your card, but not complete the fold (Please note that we cannot score AND fold a Standard Postcard – less than 5″ x 7″). You will be informed if your order falls into this category.
Q: What is the required bleed?
A: Our bleed is 1/16″ (.0625″) along each edge, or, a total 1/8″ (.125″) to each overall dimension (i.e. 4.25″ + .125″ = 4.375″). Unlike most printers, we require that you build your files to BLEED SIZE, rather than trim size. This is due to the nature of our production process. Please note that our bleed of 1/16″ is half of what most printers usually request (1/8″), but due to the nature of our production process, it is exactly what we need. Files not built correctly may delay your order, or may add costs.
Q: What if my cards don’t bleed?
A: Whether your cards contain colors that will bleed off of the trimmed edge or not, we require ALL files to be built to the full bleed dimension specified for each trim size. We automatically trim 1/16″ (.0625″) off of each edge, which will result in the desired trim size. Files not built correctly may delay your order, or may add costs.
Q: Can I print on a custom size?
A: Yes. We can trim to sizes as small as 2″ x 3.5″. Our online order system is currently set-up to accept orders for regular/conventional products only. To order a custom size, please contact a Direct Marketing Specialist for details: 800.959.8365 x2500.
Q: How do I prepare press-ready files for custom trim products?
A: Simply add .125″ to each dimension of your custom trim digital layout to arrive at the required bleed size. Example: a 5″ x 7″ would have a bleed size of 5.125″ x 7.125″. Please note that all other digital file requirements still apply to custom trims.
Q: How do I set up a Business Reply Mailer?
A: The U.S. Postal Service has information and templates available to help you set up your Business Reply Mailer (BRM). More Info
Q: What bindery services do you offer?
A: We have the following bindery capabilities:
- Custom Trim – We can trim down one size to another. We can also trim out a maximum of 2 pieces from any product. They must be equal in size. Please contact our Direct Marketing Specialists for more information 800.959.8365 x2500.
- Scoring Only
- Fold and Score (up to 2 folds per card)
- Perforation (Up to 2 perforations, and they can be cross-directional, but must run entire length of card. Also, can do one score and one perforation combo)
Q: Do you print in full color on the backside?
A: Yes. In addition to 4/1 printing (color front, B/W back) we offer 4/4 (full-color front and back) for all products.
Q: Where do I find a list of additional custom options?
A: If you have questions regarding a custom order, please contact a Direct Marketing Specialist for details: 800.959.8365 x2500.
- Have our graphic artist construct your postcard layout with your materials and instructions
- Submit complete press-ready digital files
- Submit photos, slides, transparencies, camera ready art
- Use a FREE image from our Photo Gallery
- Use files from a previous job (job# required)
- Use our optional Mailing and List Services
- Purchase a Mailing List
- Upload your digital files instantly to your job folder
- Our system is secure, easy, and powerful. You will be guided through the ordering process with helpful links to more detailed information
If you have any questions about this system or how to use it, please call Customer Care at 800.959.8365 x6205.
Q: I did not receive my Layout Proof, but I see you are waiting for my Final Approval. How can I view my layout proof and approve my order?
A: There are 2 ways to view your Final Approval. You can Login to My Account (please register if you have not done so already) then click on Active jobs. Once you find your job, you can view your Approval. You may also call the Production Team or the Customer Care Group at 800.959.8365 x6205 to have them resend the Approval to you via email. Please be sure to check your junk mail folders as they might have been mistakenly placed in there as well.
Q: Can I receive a written quote?
A: You can request a verbal or written quote by calling a Direct Marketing Specialist at: 800.959.8365 x2500.
Q: What is the step-by-step ordering process?
A: For a job on a 4-business day production timeline, you would submit your materials by 12:00 p.m. PT. A layout would be sent back to you for approvals by noon on the following business day. With your approval received by 3:00 p.m. that same day, your order will be produced and shipped out on the fourth business day, or mailed on the 6th business day. Folded products will require an additional day.
Q: Do you have a checklist of materials needed to submit an order?
A: For the details on required materials and specifications, go to the Preparing Materials section of our website. Whether you build your layout, or we build it for you, all the information you need will be right at your fingertips.
Q: How do I track the status of my order?
A: If your order is being shipped, you can access this information by logging into My Account. You will also receive an e-mail confirmation with the tracking number. If you placed your order through our online ordering system, simply use the User ID and Password you created at that time. If you do not have a login, please Register. You can also call Customer Care at 800.959.8365 x6205 and we’ll be more than happy to assist you.
Q: Can I reprint an order?
A: You can request a reprint (either with or without changes) if the job you wish to use has been printed within the past two calendar years. Our job volume does not allow our archives to store jobs beyond this time period. To view previous jobs you’ve printed, login to My Account.
Q: Will I receive some type of proof before my order is printed?
A: If your files were submitted before 12:00 p.m. PT, you will receive a layout for final approval by 12:00 p.m. on the next business day. If your files were submitted after 12:00 p.m. PT, you will receive this layout on the second business day. Color proofs add an additional day since these need to be shipped. The day you receive an e-mailed final approval is the day the color proof ships out.
Q: I have a duplicate order and need to cancel one. How can I do that?
A: Please contact Customer Care at 800.959.8365 x6205 as soon as possible to avoid cancellation fees. We will ensure that your duplicate is properly removed.
Q: I don’t understand the waiver question on my Final Approval.
A: If you do not understand the waiver questions on your approval, please contact your Production Team or the Customer Care Group at 800.959.8365 x6205 for assistance.
Organize & Prepare
Q: How do I ensure that the color of the printed product is what I am expecting? Is there a way to match what I see on the screen to what I will get from the printer?
A: No printer can guarantee an exact color match, however there are some options to help you get the best color possible. You may request a color proof, download our press profiles (for use with Adobe Photoshop) or request a Color Reference Guide. See our Color Quality page for more information.
Q: Will the color on my cards look the same as it does on my computer monitor?
A: There is no way to guarantee an exact color match, however there are some options to help you get the best color possible. You may:
- Request a color proof. This will add one day to your total turnaround time and $55 to your order total.This fee is waived for order quantities of over 5,000. Certain products will warrant a free color proof if the quantity being ordered is 3000 or more. Please note that your quoted production time will not begin until we receive approval of your color proof.
- Download our press profiles (for use with Adobe Photoshop).
- Request a free Color Kit, which will help you adjust your monitor and convert your files via color management. See our Color Quality page for more information.
- Send in a color sample, and we will review the color on the digital file. If necessary, we can edit the file for a fee of $35.
Q: What type of files should I send?
A: We have the ability to accept a variety of file types from numerous applications. For specifics, please review our Preparing Materials section.
Q: What’s the difference between “We Build Your Layout” and “Design It Yourself?”
A: “We Build Your Layout” means that we are assembling your layout design using the materials and instructions you provide. Our skilled graphic artists will design the layout the way you want it!
“Design It Yourself” means that you are working with (or you are) a graphic designer and are submitting supported file formats from one of these applications: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe PageMaker, QuarkXPress, or Macromedia FreeHand.
Q: Do I still need to prepare my materials even though you are assembling my layout?
A: Yes. All materials (whether physical or digital) require some sort of preparation or at least an understanding of how they will be used by us to build your layout.
Q: I’m lost! Which option is right for me?
A: Are you a professional graphic designer preparing industry-standard graphic file formats for us to print? If so, you’re in “Design It Yourself” and should get your information there.
Are you a non-designer and would like our experts to create a pleasing design using your raw materials and ideas? Then you’re in “We Build Your Layout.”
Q: How do I collect fonts for output?
A: Typically your fonts are located in the Fonts folder inside the System Folder in Mac OS 9, in several Fonts Folders in Mac OS X (Hard Drive / Users / Library / Fonts is one such location), or in the Fonts folder inside the Windows Folder (or the WINNT folder) in Windows. Programs like Quark and InDesign have options to collect all necessary files, including fonts for output.
Different kinds of fonts:
Type 1 Fonts – require 2 pieces, a screen font and a printer font (also known as a postscript font). Type 1 fonts require that both pieces be active in the System for any typeface to print correctly.
True Type or Open Type Fonts – require only the single font file.
Q: Do you accept MS Word Documents?
A: Yes, we do accept these as mockups that our graphic artists follow when building your layout for you. We cannot print directly from Word documents because components such as text flow, fonts, and color may vary computer to computer (what you see on your computer in Word may differ quite a bit form what we see on our screens). Also, Word documents do not produce prepress-ready PDF files. Our experts will copy / paste text from your Word document into a professional graphic design application, like Adobe InDesign, and will do their best to match your layout as it appears in Word. If you want very specific placement of text, you have a couple of options:
- Send us a laser print that shows exactly what you’re expecting or
- Work with a graphic designer using one of the professional design applications we support.
Q: Should I prepare my materials before I order?
A: It is always best to prepare your materials prior to placing an order. We’ve found that it’s best to work with us in this order:
- Gather information about our products and services
- Decide what product you would like to order
- Prepare your materials for that product
- Order and submit your materials
It is OK to do this after as well, but we cannot proceed with your order until we have all necessary materials. To ensure the best turnaround time, it is always best to have prepared your materials prior to ordering so that you can submit them at the end of the order process.
Q: I’m not preparing the layout/graphics, but I’m placing the order. What information should I pass along to my graphic designer?
A: Please have them download our Templates and read our Instructions carefully. By following our guides, your graphic designer will be able to create a pleasing layout with less potential problems that typically delay orders. If color is a concern, have them calibrate their monitors to approximate our press output by requesting our Color Management Kit.
Q: What if the materials I submit do not meet your specifications?
A: If your materials do not exactly meet our specifications, but the infraction is relatively minor, we may simply ask you to waive or acknowledge before proceeding. (Example: Your digital images are slightly low resolution at 250 PPI.) We will, however, put a waiver if image falls below 200dpi. If we are missing materials and they are prepared in such as way that they are extremely low quality or unusable, we will ask that you resubmit them to meet our specifications. (Example: Your faxed mockup is completely unreadable by our graphic artists – we will ask you to resubmit a version we can read so that we can build your layout correctly.) Be aware that any additional resubmittals after the first occurrence will be $25 and will delay your turnaround time.
Q: I’m preparing my own layout/graphics and I want the best scan possible. Do you provide scanning services on purely digital orders?
A: Yes. Please mail your photograph, slide or transparency to our address with your job number on it. After we scan this using our state-of-the-art drum-scanning equipment, our graphic artists will place your image(s) into the digital layouts you provided. It is a good idea to create image boxes with low resolution for-position-only images in your digital layout and mark the graphic as “FPO”. Our experts will swap the FPOs for our high quality scanned images.
Q: What file types do you accept and would you prefer to receive?
A: If Modern Postcard is going to assemble your layout, please send your high resolution images in any of the acceptable file formats below:
For Photoshop: .jpg, .tiff., .psd, .pdf, .eps
For Illustrator: .ai, .eps
For InDesign: .indd
For Quark: .qxd, .qxp
*We also accept PDF’s made from the programs listed above.
We can accept Word files .doc and Power Point .ppt for mock-up purposes but we cannot print directly from such files. Additional fees for Modern Postcard assembly may apply.
A: If, for example, you want to move to layout approval tomorrow, your deadline to submit materials is before 12:00 p.m., Pacific Time – today. For more details, please see our Turnaround Time Page.
Q: What Production Time Options do you offer?
A: We offer the following production time options:
- Next Business Day EXPRESS (after an 11:00 am PT approval)
- 2 Business Days (after a 3:00 pm PT approval)
- 3 Business Days (after a 3:00 pm PT approval)
- 4 Business Days (after a 3:00 pm PT approval)
Your production time begins only after we have received your final approval with no further changes or revisions.
Please note that the excluding the 4 business production time (which in included in your base price) does have additional charges involved. In addition arrival time for ALL orders is NOON, 12:00 p.m. PT. Please refer to our pricing calculator for a pricing estimate.
Q: Can I upgrade the production time on my order once it is in process?
A: Absolutely. Once the Final Approval is received, you will have the option to upgrade. Or you can call our Customer Care Group at and upgrade your order with one of our representatives. This service is available until your cards go to press.
Note: Upgrading a 4, 3 or 2 Business day order to an Express 1 day will only be effective if the service is requested and the order approved before 11:00am PST.
Q: When does my production time actually begin?
A: Your production time will begin AFTER we receive your response to your final approval and no further changes are required. For example, if you approve your order before 3:00 PM PT on a Monday for a 4, 3, or 2 business day production time, Tuesday will be considered DAY 1 of your production time.
Q: Can I have my order shipped any faster?
A: We offer a variety of shipping service levels including UPS Next Day Air, UPS 2nd Day Air and UPS Ground.
Q: How do you ship my cards?
A: We ship using UPS. To make other arrangements, please call our Customer Care Group at 800.959.8365 x6205.
Q: Time isn’t important, can I save money by shipping via ground?
A: Yes, please visit our pricing calculator to obtain a shipping quote using any of our available shipping options.
Q: May I use my own shipping account?
A: Yes, you may supply us with your own UPS, Fed Ex or DHL account number. You will need to CLEARLY indicate the level of service you wish your cards shipped at (next day, two-day, ground etc.).
Note: Tracking numbers can be provided, however, Modern Postcard will not be liable for late or undelivered cards.
Q: How do I ensure a fast production time?
A: Timeliness on your part is necessary to ensure a fast production time – It is essential that you respond to any requests or approvals we send you as soon as possible to ensure that your order is not delayed. Also be sure to label any materials, emails, or other communication with your job number. This makes it easier to identify orders and speed them through production.
Q: What happens if I don’t approve my Final Approval?
A: If changes are requested or new files are submitted, please allow up one business day from receipt of changes or new files to send you a revised approval. Your first resubmission of files and/or changes is included in the base price. Please be aware that a fee of $25.00 will be applied for any additional changes or new files received .
(Times are US Pacific)
List Ordering FAQ
A: First, identify the geographic region that you would like to target. The following are the available geographic targets as well as some guidelines for selecting:
STATE – Select this option if you want to target people from a particular state (e.g., anyone who lives in the state of Hawaii)
COUNTY – Select this option if you want to target people from a particular county within a certain state (e.g., anyone who lives in Norfolk County, MA)
CITY – Select this option if you want to target people from a particular city. A city is defined as an aggregate of zip codes identifying an urban area (e.g., anyone who lives in Oakland, CA)
ZIP CODE – Select this option if you want to target people who share a particular zip code (e.g., anyone with 74820 as their zip code) SELECT FROM A LIST will allow you to narrow down your choice of zip codes by first specifying a state, and then selecting from the zip codes of that state. TYPE IN will allow you to enter in zip codes that have been pre-determined by you.
SCF – Select this option if you want to target people who share the same first three digits of their zip code (e.g., 76008 and 76043 have the same SCF) TYPE IN will allow you to enter in SCF’s which have been pre-determined by you.
Q: What are carrier routes?
A: Carrier routes are boundaries set by the USPS to show the delivery boundaries of a postal carrier.
Q: How do I select the demographics?
A: After you define your geography, the next step is to identify the type of consumers you would like to contact. The Targeting Criteria screen provides several demographic variables from which to choose including income, age, and marital status. The more criteria you select, the more precise your list will be.
Q: Should I add phone numbers to my list?
A: It depends on your goal. Phone numbers are great if you have a sales or telemarketing staff equipped to make follow up calls. However, phone numbers will cost and additional per name, and you’ll need to plan for the activity. After-mail calls can be a very effective technique, but it does require both planning and resources. Example: if you have 10 outbound telesales reps, and they can make 50 calls per day, you can follow up a 10,000 card mailing in 4 weeks.
Q: Help! My available count is too low!
A: If your list count is lower than you expected, you may want to expand your geography and/or broaden your list criteria. For example, suppose you plan to target married couples with middle incomes in the San Diego market, defined by zip codes in that area. One option is to add neighboring zip codes. Another option is to change the geographic area to cover the entire San Diego metropolitan area. If you prefer to broaden your list criteria, you could include additional income levels to increase your available count.
Q: Help! My available count is too high!
A: There are two ways to shrink your list. The first is random selection: Suppose you plan on mailing 8,000 prospects this month, but the list selection process yielded 15,000 prospects. By entering in 8,000 in the Desired Order Size box on the Your Order screen, you will get 8,000 prospects randomly selected from the original 15,000. The other way to decrease a list count is to further narrow down your geographic area and/or your selection criteria.
Q: Can I order just a portion of the entire list?
A: Yes. Simply enter your desired order quantity in the ‘Desired Order Size’ box, and a list of this size will be randomly selected from the entire available count.
- Processing of a single list
- US Postage – first class or bulk rate
- CASS certification to ensure lowest postage rates
- Inkjet addressing using state-of-the-art equipment
- Postal presorting groups cards for faster processing
- USPS on-site verification
Q: Where do I send my mailing list?
A: There are 2 ways to send in your list. You may upload your list along with your files at the Submit Materials section of the website, or you may send your list on a disk. Please remember to reference your job number in the subject line.
A: Modern Postcard offers the following shipping options via UPS:
- UPS Next Day Air (normally delivers by 10:30 am. Please see UPS for commit times in your zip code)
- UPS 2nd Day Air (delivery by the end of the 2nd business day)
- UPS Ground (days in transit depend on delivery zip code)
Changes are often made to improve our services, so be sure to ask your Direct Marketing Specialist about our most current shipping methods. Please refer to our pricing calculator for a shipping estimate.
Q: How can I track my package?
A: Once your cards have been shipped, you will be given a UPS tracking number via email to track your package on the UPS web site.
Q: What do these UPS terms mean? (Missed Package, Adverse Weather, etc.)
A: UPS Missed Package means that your cards were not put on the proper delivery vehicle. Usually this means delivery will be delayed by at least one business day. Adverse weather means that weather conditions beyond UPS control has caused a temporary delay. For details and solutions to these and other issues, please contact our Shiptrack Department at 800.959.8365 x6205.
Q: I have to make an address correction on an order. How do I change the address?
A: If you need to change your address before it is shipped, please contact the Direct Marketing Specialist that is producing your card. Our Customer Care Group is also equipped to take your information. If you need changes after the cards have been shipped, please contact our Shiptrack Department at 800.959.8365 x6205.
Q: What if I will not be present when my package is delivered?
A: For your protection, UPS requires that you are available to receive and sign for your package. If the delivery address is a business a signature will be required for the package. If the delivery address is a residential address, a signed note can be left explaining that the package can be left without a signature. Please be sure to make proper arrangements to have someone available to sign for the order on the date of delivery to avoid delays.
The package may then be left at the driver’s discretion if the following conditions apply:
- It will be safe from weather conditions
- It will not be visible from the street
If the package is requested to be left without a signature, the requestor waives their rights to file a claim due to theft or damage to the package.
Q: Do you offer international shipping?
A: Yes, we can ship your cards to an address outside of the United States. Please call our Customer Care Group at 800.959.8365 x6205 for more details.
A: We hold and store your files up to 2 years from the time you placed your original order. If you need to reprint a job older than 2 years, you may have to submit new files and materials.
Q: What are your reprint prices?
A: For reprint orders without any changes, the reprint pricing is $35 off the base print price of your order.
Q: What if I have changes to the frontside?
A: Any change to the frontside of the card is not considered a reprint and will be charged regular costs.
Q: What if I have changes to the backside?
A: If you have any changes to the backside text, please send a mock-up or instructions of the requested changes. You will receive a $10 discount instead of the full $35. If you have digital press-ready files, please submit a new digital press-ready file for the backside. Call for more information.
Note: Files are archived for 2 years as a courtesy, and on rare occasions, we are unable to restore for printing. MP cannot be held liable for not being able to restore a previously printed file.
Submit / Upload
Q: I received a message stating my files are corrupt, what does that mean?
A: This message indicates that the files we received on our ftp site were corrupted in some manner, and are now unusable. All files transferred across the web are susceptible to corruption. To solve this issue, try uncompressing your files and re-uploading them to us. You may also contact your Production Team or the Customer Care Group for further assistance at 800-959-8635 x6205.
Q: Do you have specific uploading guidelines?
A: Yes, they can be found at our Uploading Guidelines page.
Q: Where do I submit my materials?
A: If you are submitting physical materials, please include your job number and mail them to:
1675 Faraday Avenue
Carlsbad CA 92008
If you are submitting digital materials (graphics files, digital mockups, or mailing lists), please compress and upload them via the following link.
Q: How do I (re)submit files?
A: You may (re)submit files through our website. For online orders, you will be prompted to upload your files at the end of the ordering process. If you already have a job number and need to submit new files, or replacement files for an existing order, click on the Submit Materials button located in the top, right corner of the website.
Note: You MUST have a job number to upload files.
Q: While uploading files, the window timed out. What should I do?
A: If the window times out, please wait a few minutes and try again. It is also recommended that you ensure that you have session cookies enabled in your browser. If you continue receiving this error message, please contact our Customer Care Group at 800.959.8365 x6205.
Q: Can I email my files to you?
A: The best way to send files to Modern Postcard is to upload your files through our website. Once you have placed an order, you can send files to us at any time by clicking on the Submit Materials button located in the top, right corner of the website. If you have any problems, please contact our Customer Care Group at 800.959.8365 x6205 for further assistance.
Q: I pressed the “Upload Link” and nothing happened. What’s going on?
A: This usually occurs when pop-up blocking software is running in your browser and stops our upload window from opening. Please allow pop-up windows on our site. If you can’t allow our site by itself, you may need to temporarily disable the pop-up blocker while uploading.
Q: Do I have to compress my files?
A: No, however file compression has many benefits. Compression allows you to send multiple files at one time. It also makes your files smaller so that it takes less time to upload and helps maintain the integrity of your files. While we would encourage you to compress your files, if you do not have the necessary software (e.g. WinZip for the PC, or Stuffit for the Mac), you can still send us files that have not been compressed.
Q: I see my uploaded files in the folder, but it says there are 0 KB. What does this mean?
A: If an uploaded file shows a size of 0 KB, it usually indicates that there was a problem during your upload. The file name arrived, but your data did not. Files showing as 0 KB may be due to Mac’s hidden metadata files being viewed on a PC. Consider compressing your files before uploading.