Comp Card Printing

Information on Modeling, Comp Cards, and Printing

Category: Comp Cards

The Origin of Zed Cards – The 1980s and 1990’s

Decades ago, sed cards were not affordable to print, and design tools were limited. Most new models lacked the cash to order zed cards, so they started out with a simple 8×10, monochrome glossy photograph with a thick white border. Vital stats were attached to the reverse side in plain text.

I can still remember those days of you’re, printing dozens of copies of the identical boring shot. Time and time again. These 8×10 pictures from the photographer were also relatively expensive, and this got in the way of the model mailing them out. Models usually sent them to agencies who were probably going to offer them work, or to casting agents who were likely to use them. Models definitely missed out on a bunch of assignments due to the fact that they couldn’t afford to pass out these headshots to enough people.

Later in her career, a model would become more successful and bring in more moola. This would allow the model to order a B&W zed card created by an comp card print offset printer. Only the most profitable models in The big city could afford full color. Offset printing necessitates a lot of cash up front, but the cost became more reasonable if a group of hundreds or thousands of zed cards was done at once. At this point, a model would have plenty of cards to hand out – and the model could easily afford to give a card out to anyone who could be at all interested in talking to the model. The sed cards were even inexpensive enough to use the post office to send to directors around the region, enlarging a model’s reach.

The zed cards of old were a certain way because of the technology and costs involved with printing. This meant a single picture on the front and a handful of pictures, each a quarter of a page, on the back of the card. Space was also kept open on the other side of the sed card to include details for the model and contact information.

Printing technology prevented the images on the back of the sed card from overlapping in any way, and you couldn’t use any fancy backgrounds or layouts. All zed cards were thus printed on a white background, with thick white borders. These borders also enabled the printing press to grip the zed card as it went through the printing process. They couldn’t stretch the image to the edge, the way modern cards and designs do. Even though printing technology has come a long way, the sed cards we use today are still based pretty firmly on this traditional design, which was born of necessity.

If you’re looking for a modern comp card InDesign template, check out Rockin’ Photogs. They’ve got a couple free templates that you can download and work with.

How Much Should Comp Cards Cost?

Sample comp card.Modeling is a business, and as with any other business you need to make an investment to see a return. If you hope for your modeling career to take off, either you or your agency is going to have to invest some money in a few things – like a portfolio and a set of comp cards.

Assuming you’re footing the bill for these cards, how much should they cost? How much should you expect to pay?

This depends a little bit on how you go about getting them done. You could find a graphic designer to handle the whole job, from design to print. You could find a designer to generate some print-ready files for you, and then print them at your own print shop. Or, you could go the DIY yourself route, design your own cards with a comp card template, and send them off to a printer.

For an all in one solution, you can expect to pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $60-80 for a set of 50 cards and $85 to $125 for a set of 100 cards. Larger sets of 250 or 500 typically come with a hefty discount, and you’ll pay a lower per-unit price if you make a larger up front order. You probably won’t find a price under $60/50 or $85/100, so if you find a good vendor at that price point go for it. If you see an advertised price much higher than that, keep looking around. You want to make a good investment, but you also don’t want to get ripped off.

Another possibility is that you could find a graphic designer to put together a set of print ready files, and then you could search for your own printing solution. These prices could vary widely, depending on who you find to do the design work. An established designer would probably charge somewhere in the neighborood of $35 to $70 to put the files togther. If you find someone eager to build up a portfolio, you might find a cheaper price ($10 to $25). While this seems cheaper, keep in mind that you’ll still need to pay a printer to put the files to the press.

The price to print the cards is going to depend on how many units you order. The fewer the cards, the higher the price. You want to look for a company that advertises themselves as a short run or digital printer. If you order a small set (50 cards), you should expect to pay $35 to $45. A set of 100 cards should be around $55 to $65. If you order larger orders of 250 or 500, you’ll save a lot of money, so it pays to order more up front.

No matter how you dice it, though, it’s going to cost you around $40 to $50 at a bare minimum to get a set of cards done. Depending on the size of your order, the complexity of your design, and the quality of designer that you find, that price could go up a little bit from there.

Check here for more information about comp card printing.