How to Design Photo Cards Online with Create

Great news: With nothing more than the photos on your smartphone and the help of Create, you’ve got everything you need to make your own photo cards online.

In this quick beginner-friendly guide to DIY photo cards, you’ll learn:

  • How to map out your card’s design and content
  • What to keep in mind for style, size, paper, and framing
  • How to make a photo card in Create

3 Essentials to Planning Your Photo Card Design

Screenshot of photo card design templates from CreateInspiration and brainstorming are key to DIY photo cards.

Like any artistic endeavor or graphic design project, planning is the most important part of the photo card design process—so don’t give into the temptation to skip it.

Fortunately, it takes just three steps to lay a fantastic foundation for your custom-designed photo card.

1. Find Inspiration

The first step to making photo cards online has nothing to do with graphic design software or even with choosing your own imagery. Instead, it’s all about generating ideas.

Start where every graphic designer starts, by scouring the internet for inspiration! A good jumping-off point is Create’s greeting card template library.

Other inspo-rich sources include Pinterest, Dribbble, Behance, or even a regular old Google image search.

As you explore, take note of your favorite photo card ideas, such as:

  • Layout
  • Dimensions
  • Fonts
  • Photo filters and effects
  • Borders and frames
  • Other graphic details

2. Gather Photos

The focal point of any photo card design is, unsurprisingly, the photography. To make sure your card strikes the right tone—whether that’s over-the-top goofy or sincere and heartfelt—it’s worth taking some time to select the perfect photos.

You could scroll through your phone’s camera reel, check social media for cool shots from friends, or plan to take new photos.

If you’re taking new photos, check out these tips to get the best shot possible for your card:

3. Brainstorm the Content

With some general design ideas and your photography in hand, the last preparation step is to draft the content.

What to say will, of course, depend on the purpose of the card. Is it a birthday card, condolence card, or congratulations card? Is it going to a dear friend or the boss of your boss?

Generally speaking, you’ll likely want to include the following pieces of content in your card:

  • A main headline
  • A brief personal note
  • A salutation and signature
  • Any other relevant details (such as date, time, and location for an event invitation)

Additional pieces of content to consider include a label for your photos to mark the time, date, and place they were taken. This can be a special touch if you’re sharing vintage photos.

4 Essential Design Considerations for DIY Photo Cards

No matter the type of photo card you’re creating or the intended recipient, there are a few basic rules of thumb you can follow to ensure a beautiful result for your photo card design.

1. Theme or Style

Photo card template with slate blue backgroundTorn paper and twine make this photo card template feel rustic.

Giving your photo card a concrete theme and/or specific style will make it both more memorable and more professional-looking.

For instance, you could go with an overt theme like “tropical beach party” or a more subtle style like “minimal neutrals.”

Either way, your theme or style can then drive each of the individual design decisions you make—such as color palette, fonts, and other graphic details.

Tip: Not sure which style to choose or how to make it look cohesive? Starting with a pro-designed greeting card template can help.

2. Dimensions

Woman holding a card in an yellow envelopeImage via Inspiration GP.

By creating your own photo cards online, you get to choose your preferred dimensions. However, if you’re planning to mail your card, you’ll probably want to stick to standard greeting card sizes:

  • Postcard size: 4” x 6” (roughly A6)
  • Folded greeting card sizes: 3.5” x 5” (roughly A1), 4” x 6” (roughly A6), or 5” x 7” (roughly A7) 

When printing your card at home or sharing it online (by email or social media), you can select any dimensions you like. No need to fuss over postage or envelopes.

3. Paper

Paper samples with different colors and texturesImage via gavrila bogdan.

Similar to the dimensions of your card, make your choice of paper with the delivery method in mind. (And, if you’re delivering it online, you can skip this step altogether.)

If you’re planning to send your card by mail, you may want to choose a thicker cardstock that can withstand the wear and tear of the post office. If you’re dropping your card off in person, then a thinner paper should do just fine.

In terms of paper weight and quality, DIY card-making pros often recommend something within the following boundaries:

  • 65 lb cover/175 gsm: Light, cheap, and easy for standard home printers
  • 130 lb cover/350 gsm: Thick, more expensive, and best for professional printers

4. Framing

DIY photocard with wood frame detail and image of couple kissingThis card template has a wood texture to mimic a real frame.

Because photo cards are so personal, they’re often proudly displayed by the recipient—whether that means sticking it on the fridge, setting it out on a bookshelf, or actually framing it. 

If you think the recipient might want to frame your photo card, make it easier by choosing a size that corresponds to standard photo frames in your country. 

For a digital take on framing, you could also add a frame detail to the card design itself. More on how to make a photo card like this next!

How to Make a Photo Card Online in 5 Steps

1. Start with a Template

Birthday photo card template in Create editorCreate’s card template library has tons of awesome designs like this one. 

The quickest way to jump into your photo card design is to choose a greeting card template from Create’s library. You can select any template that catches your eye, knowing that you can customize every aspect.

If you prefer a blank canvas, that’s fair game, too! In that case, start from the Create home page and click Greeting card under the headline Start with a blank canvas.

2. Add Your Text

Screenshot of adding text to photo card design in Create editorNow, write your personal message.

Now it’s time to refer back to the content you brainstormed during the preparation phase. Click Text from the left-hand menu to add your own text. If you started with a template, then simply double-click any existing text box to edit its contents.

Once you’ve inserted your text, play around with the additional text customization options until the words are looking perfect:

  • Try interesting fonts and font pairings.
  • Instead of a solid color, fill your text with an image or texture.
  • Add a shadow or outline for extra emphasis.

3. Upload Your Photos

Screenshot of adding stock imagery to photo card in Create editorAdd your own photos or search Create’s massive stock library.

To add your own photos to your photo card design, click Images and then Upload. You can upload as many photos as you’d like—you can even use the Collage feature to create cool multi-image layouts with just a few clicks.

If you don’t have amazing images or would like something a little more editorial, use the image search bar to choose from millions of stock images.

No matter which images you add, Create offers easy photo edits:

  • Fade & blend to reduce opacity and change color blending.
  • Remove bkgnd to instantly erase the background of any photo.
  • Touch up options such as airbrushing, skin smoothing, and red eye removal.

4. Customize the Design

Screenshot of how to add final touches to photo cards in Create editorAdd those final touches of pizzazz.

To polish up your photo card design, add a few more details that support your card’s theme, style, or message.

For instance, you might:

  • Click Graphics to insert free illustrations and artwork.
  • Click Shapes to insert a rectangle to use as a frame.
  • Use the Drawing tool to add in some hand-drawn details.

5. Download to Send or Share

Screenshot of Create download optionsDownload a file that’s ready to share, or print and send.

Are you sending your photo cards online or printing them and putting them in the mail? Depending on how you’ll send or share your card, you can download the ideal file type. 

Simply click Download and then choose whatever works best for you:

  • Sharing by email or social media: Any file type
  • Printing at home: Any file type
  • Printing professionally: PDF with bleed turned on*

*To add bleed marks to DIY photo cards, click the gear icon in the lower-left of the Create editor. Then toggle on Show bleed marks and expand all background images, colors, and shapes to fill the entire canvas. Then download your PDF.

Now that you know how to make a photo card, you’ve got the perfect way to send any message, announcement, or invitation.

Whose day will you brighten next?

Cover image via BadBrother and Evgeny Karandaev.