Vistaprint Photo Card Review: Good Prices, Low Quality

Vistaprint's postcard creation software is limited and frustrating, and its print quality is disappointing.

Our Verdict

Vistaprint's postcard creation software is limited and frustrating, and its print quality is disappointing.

For

  • Large and varied libraries of postcard templates and clip art
  • Easy-to-use software
  • Low prices

Against

  • Disappointing print and photo quality
  • Templates have fixed placeholders that can't be deleted or moved
  • Clumsy text entry

Vistaprint is one of the most popular photo-printing sites. The number of photo products it offers is mind-boggling, and its many discount coupons, can make prices  quite reasonable. However, our experience with its postcard project software was frustrating, and the low quality of the printed card quite disappointing.

Specs

Import photos from:  Facebook, Instagram and your device
Templates & layouts: Large library of templates with fixed placeholders
Backgrounds: Limited library of solid colors, though clip art rectangles can also be used
Clip art: Large, varied searchable library of attractive clip art
Text:  Customizable but clumsy text controls

Creating Your Card

While Vistaprint's postcard project software is rather easy to use, it is also quite limiting and uneven in functionality. Vistaprint has a very large library of generally attractive postcard templates with fully editable text; however, image and logo placeholders and backgrounds are fixed, and colors are restricted to what the template specifies. Or you can use a blank canvas, which can bypass some of the problems inherent in the templates.

You can drag-and-drop photos and clip art directly onto the postcard. But adding text is clumsy. All added elements can be interactively moved and resized, but not rotated. Although the clip-art library is large and varied, you can't browse it; you have to search using a keyword.

MORE: The Best Photo Card Services

Initially, it appears that the only background options are a small collection of solid colors. But the clip-art library includes a good selection of both illustrated and photographic rectangular images.

When you're finished designing your postcard and want to order it, you have to click through screen after irritating screen offering other products and additional options.

The Printed Card

Our Vistaprint party invitation postcard was dark and  contrast-y. Clarity was good, due in part to the high contrast.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The photo had poor shadow detail and suppressed highlights: a brown wood cabinet in the back of the photo looked nearly black.

Credit: Tom's Guide

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

However, the type was clean, with crisp well-formed edges. And, even right out of the box (literally), the cardstock was already showing scratches.

Price & Options

Vistaprint's prices are among the least expensive. Our 4.21 x 5.47-inch double-sided full-color postcard cost 30 cents each for 50 cards. A pack of 100 double-sided 4 x 6-inch cards also costs 30 cents per card. That's nearly on a par with GotPrint, which charges 26.4 cents each for 100 6 x 4-inch cards. And it's much better than Mixbook ($1.15 per card for an order of 100).

The larger the quantity, the less the per-piece cost. For instance, for 1,000 cards,Vistaprint charges 11 cents each. Selecting a black-and-white back rather than full-color reduces the price further. In addition, Vistaprint has frequent coupon codes. Unlike Mixbook and some other card services, which include envelopes for free, Vistaprint charges $3 for 50 blank envelopes; printed ones are $28 for 50.

If you create your own postcard using a blank canvas, only three sizes are available: 5.47 x 4.21, 8.52 x 5.47 and 11 x 6.  If you upload your design or use their postcard templates, you can choose from five sizes, which includes 6 x 4, 7 x 5, 8.52 x 5.47 and 11 x 6. (All sizes are in inches.)

Vistaprint has one of the largest collections of photo products available. If you can imagine putting a photo on it, Vistaprint probably offers it. That includes such as items as calendars, gift tags, a variety of clothing and bags, business cards, flyers, pillows, puzzles, prints and posters.

Bottom Line

Despite the low prices, we can't recommend using Vistaprint to create your postcards. For great prices combined with a good quality postcard, use GotPrint. For truly creative, personalized, high-quality postcards, use Mixbook. For simplicity and quick creation, use Apple Photo.