my full process for designing and selling prints and cards online

Processes are hard to come up, especially at the beginning of business. I always found myself wondering - okay but what's their process? Maybe they're doing it better?

I'm letting you in behind the the scenes to see what my full process is for print and card design to get it ready to sell online! 

Full process for designing and selling prints and cards online

1. Find a quote!

Pretty straight forward, right? Or maybe not. Here's the thing we need to keep in mind when using words that aren't our own: copyright. 

In general, my rule of thumb is to use works within the "public domain" AKA they are free for anyone to use and recreate and profit from.

So, what's in the public domain (in the US according to

  • Works published in the US before 1923

  • Works published with a copyright notice from 1923-1963 without renewal

  • Works published without a copyright notice from 1923-1977

  • Works published without copyright notice from 1978-1989 and without subsequent registration within 5 years

  • Works published after 1977 don't fall into the public domain until 70 years after the creator's death

What are MY general rules before making a print/card out of a quote?

  • Can this be attributed to someone? Some sayings can't because they're so common or basic (like "you're a babe"), but in general assume there should be attribution and make sure to credit it.

  • Is the author still alive? If yes, I will not recreate the piece without consent from the author.* If no, I use it.

*Okay, I have one card that says "I only love my bed and my mama" which is a Drake reference and not completely legal. Drake has enough money, he'll be okay. Haha. 

Where do I find quotes?

I read books and search through Pinterest! When I find a quote I like, I add it to a growing spreadsheet of quotes and google the quote to check if it is something I could make into a print according to copyright laws.

The words I'll be using today for a card design: "The world needs what you got."

2. Create the design on my iPad Pro.

Before I had my iPad, I would do the calligraphy on paper, scan the item, and go through every stroke to clean it up on Photoshop. It was A LOT of work and made scaling pieces up to larger sizes difficult.

Now, I've had my iPad Pro since February 2017 and it has revolutionized my print design process. It's so much easier to explore layouts, adjust small pieces, and keep the design clean and crisp from the start. I can also do all my designs at large sizes so that they are high quality no matter what size I make the final printed files!

Here's what I do: 

  1. Create an 11x14 file in Procreate (the best design app).

  2. Play around with messy layouts until I land on one I like, and choose a brush style. Procreate comes with a bunch of options and I've also bought some created by calligraphers who make them for Procreate - my faves are from Saffron Avenue and Molly Jacques.

  3. Create the final piece and send it via AirDrop to my MacBook!

Here's an example design that I just made:

My print and card design process - Jennifer Bianca Calligraphy


3. Make the printable files.

I then take my design into Photoshop and create 5x7, 8x10, and 11x14 PDF's of the print design, or the full greeting card file (including notes on the back of the fold). That way when I go in to print them, I just choose the size I need and all my sizing and spacing will be just right.

BONUS: I also then take the 5x7 and 8x10 print files into Illustrator and export them as PDF's with cut marks. I do this because I offer all my prints as printable packages as well (for people to download the files and print themselves), and like to include cut marks so people can easily cut them down to the correct size from their printer. 

My print and card design process - Jennifer Bianca Calligraphy

4. Create the product photos.

I talked about this in depth last week, but I use stock photos for all my card and print photos. Read all about this process and why I do this here!

My print and card design process - Jennifer Bianca Calligraphy

5. Create quote graphics of the prints

Through the years, I've discovered that quote graphics perform better on social media than product photos. I have a graphic template that I go in and put all my designs into and save in multiple colours to add to places like Pinterest and Instagram as advertisement.

My print and card design process - Jennifer Bianca Calligraphy

6. Create listing on Etsy.

I use Etsy for my online selling platform, and you can read about why I sell on Etsy here!

My print and card design process - Jennifer Bianca Calligraphy

7. Schedule all products photos to post on Pinterest.

I'm alllll about getting my work circulating on Pinterest because it's a HUGE traffic generator. I use Tailwind to schedule my Pinterest posts and I upload all my product photos (linking to my Etsy shop) and all the quote graphics (linking to my website) to Tailwind to post to Pinterest!

There you have my full process from design development to getting my prints and cards online to sell! Hope it was helpful for you as you discover your own process.