There is so much in the way of card making software these days, as well as many CD’s and DVD’s it’s hard to know where to begin. They are all designed for different things and come in varying levels of difficulty – some perfect for beginners, some much more advanced. If you can get to grips with them though they can be a vital aid and tool in creating some of the most memorable cards to date.
We’ll take a look at some of the best card making software available, from the free to paid, which is best for beginners or technophobes, and what they are designed to do. We will also look at our favourite CD and DVD ROMs and what they are best for. So, let’s begin our journey into card making technology!
Types of Card Software
Card making software gives you the chance to create your own greetings cards on your computer. Most software will cater for every ocassion you might be thinking of, and being able to design and customise your own card for them is an essential tool for any crafter. With that in mind you will want to choose a card making programme that includes templates and options for all those events you might be designing cards for. Most software packages come with templates for the most common ocassions – birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, sympathy, thank you notes and more. You may also want to look for some that come with generic or blank templates that will allow you to get creative and make your own designs. The customising options gives you freedom to really experiment and let your imagination run free. Use your own photos you’ve taken or the thousands of images and graphics that come as part of the programme.
Your software will likely come with a set of instructions, both built into the programme and as a user manual. Thankfully with the improvement in technology these applications have become extremely simple to use and pick up the basics of. This means you shouldn’t have to worry even if you aren’t the most confident on the computer.
You may find that the more advanced pieces of software have even more options available to you. For example some will enable you to create your own envelopes or stationery, calendars, and even party supplies! The options are almost endless.
Photo Editing and Text Tools
Having the option to add photos and images then edit them is, in our mind, essential to card software. We also believe that being able to add your own text, choose a font, and then manipulate that text is imperative as well. Both of these are fairly standard in card making software but we thought it worth mentioning.
Many will come with a decent range of prepackaged photos that you will be able to use in your cards. Alternatively you’ll be able to import in your own photos and then edit and manipulate them as you wish. You should be able to crop, flip and rotate them. The more advanced software we will look at further below also allows you to remove flaws, add filters, change colours and really mess with them if you want!
We can’t imagine any of the card making software out there would come without the ability to print your cards but just in case make sure. You may want to consider the capabilities of your own printer as that will play a major role in the quality of the cards you print off. Especially if you think there’s a chance you will be printing a lot of cards.
Help and Support
Having a well known company behind you for support after you’ve bought your software may play a role in your consideration. Knowing you’ve got somewhere to go and ask for advice and help if you run into problems is good peace of mind. Most software itself will come with a user manual, it’s own inbuilt help section and probably an FAQ. If the company offers tutorials then even better. Nowadays though you can find tutorials all over the internet and YouTube so it’s not as much of a necessity.
This isn’t essential but is a nice added featured if you can get it. Lots of software has built in abilities to share your cards the instant you finish them. Uploading directly to social media such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube is often available, and some programme’s will even have features such as eCards and mass emailing. If you are sending an online or eCard then some applications include sound and voice recorders to add to your card. You might even want to record a jungle!
Our Favourite Software
Don’t be fooled by the name, this is a brilliant bit of FREE software. It’s powerful and has an incredible range of features and options built in as standard. It’s a very close rival to the professionally used and expensive Adobe Photoshop, so you know you’ve got a quality bit of software. Did we mention it’s FREE! You can use Gimp to edit photos, apply effects, create cards and images, add text, make your own logos and much more.
There is a slight drawback. It will require some time using it get acquainted with everything it can do and how to do it. We don’t want to say it’s not for beginners because we were beginners before trying it! But there are definitely less complicated or involved applications. However as it’s free we’d urge everyone to give it a chance and see how they get on with it.
Probably the biggest and most well known name in the greetings card world, Hallmark have created their own card making software and claim it’s the number one. It boasts the usual range of templates and prepackaged images but it also has some features most others don’t. Not surprisingly these features focus in the message writing side of things, and so the software can help you with what to say in your card and the correct etiquette. As well as that their are built in video tutorials and even an eCard creator.
Buy Hallmark Card Studio Deluxe
A great option for anyone who feels using the other choices a bit daunting. It’s drag-and-drop system makes it extremely easy to use. It comes with all the usual features – thousands of photos to use, a project maker, templates etc. You can even create other crafty items like birthday banners and celebrations.
Buy PrintMaster Platinum
Offers the greatest number of templates, although you can certainly disregard those and opt for the design-your-own approach to card making. You also get an abundance of text and photo editing tools so you can design the perfect greeting card, as well as numerous other projects such as tote bags and business cards.
Buy Print Artist Platinum
Another good choice if you’re worried about the software being too complex. It’s simple to use and has a good range of features comparable to the other option.
Buy Print Artist Gold
There are many more card making applications out there and these are just a few of the most well known. Some offer 30 days free trial before buying so you can get a taster of what they can do. This will give you the chance to see if they suit you. We believe they are a valuable tool in a card makers arsenal. With a little bit of time invested in them you will reap the rewards and be creating exceptional cards in no time.
Types of Card CD ROMs & DVD ROMS
Card making CD and DVD ROMs give you some very special and useful extra options in your card making. They don’t need too much in the way of technology – a computer, printer, paper to print onto and the CD/DVD itself. Many are designed with the less computer literate in mind. They are very easy to use and once you’ve inserted the CD you can often just follow the on screen instructions. They frequently come with a whole range of designs, patterns, embellishment designs, sentiments, different papers and much more. You will have the chance to personalise and edit these lovely designs, print them out and then use them in your card making. And best of all you can reuse them again and again as they are stored on your CD or DVD!
Our Favourite CD ROMS & DVD ROMS
Pollyanna Pickering is one the world’s most famous wildlife artists and has created a range of CD/DVD’s of beautiful artwork for you to use in your cards. Perfect for use as toppers, decoupage, paper and more. The images featured on the DVD’s print out in the highest quality.
Her DVD’s come with many design sets that include the likes of toppers, backing papers, line art drawings, text editable inserts, post boxes and much more.
If you’re a wildlife lover or just want to include some animals in your cards then Pollyanna Pickering is for you!
Joanna Sheen CD and DVD ROMs are perfect for anyone who only has very limited knowledge of computers. All you have to do is pop your CD in the CD drive and let the menu come up. It’ll do all the work for you. You then just follow the menu for what you want to do.
Joanna Sheens range of DVD’S have everything you could want. You will have to buy more than one to get everything you want as they come seperately – images, decoupage, toppers etc. But they’re good value and high quality.
Debbi Moore’s range of CD’s and DVD’s are great for beginners. They have brilliant easy to follow tutorials for beginners card making g as well as the usual selection of card images.
You also get excellent technical support having the opportunity to email direct with your CD issues.
These are only a few of the huge amount of CD’s and DVD ROMs available. There are so many it can be difficult to know where to begin so hopefully this will have given you a starting point.
All the different software and CDs/dvds we’ve looked at have varying capabilities. They will allow you to do different things, you just need to find what suits you. Be it photo management, image editing or something else. Perhaps begin with some of the free options and then once you’re more confident then move onto the expensive choices.