Hi! I’m going to give a brief tutorial of my recommendations for printing at Stanford. Note that this is based off the printing services at Stanford as of Spring 2023 (hopefully Cardinal Print doesn’t change!).
As you look through these instructions, remember cards can be other sizes than a standard playing deck. See BGG
Method 1: Purchase to print
- Print a Poster | Student Technology Services | Lathrop Learning Hub: Very, very expensive ): can run you up to $55 or more.
- Print Shop Services at The UPS Store Palo Alto, CA located at 2625 Middlefield Rd: Pretty affordable depending on your size but requires a bike ride or drive
Method 2: Printing on Stanford printers (CHEAP). For reference, I spent max $1-2 to print.
- I would recommend designing your game board on Figma to make it easier to slice and cut your board (see left).
- Make sure you’re exporting this game board at a very large size. I would recommend exporting your game board at 2-3x the size of your actual board as a SVG or PNG.
- Then, create multiple standard copy paper sized artboards – as many as you need for the size of the game. For example, I made my game board the width of 2 papers and the height of 3 papers.
- Drag in the SVG/PNG that you exported. Place it into your game boards and align them perfectly so that they line up when all the artboards are together.
- Upload each page directly to the Cardinal Print Center to print. I recommend you do NOT use the universal print driver, print directly from a device, or email to print as those methods often accidentally cut off the page.
- Make sure you’re double checking for quality and doing a test print of a page to give you a chance to adjust the color / clarity. If the printout is blurry, that means you need to export your game board at a larger size and follow steps 2-4 again.
- Tape your pages together into one big board!
- An optional last step is pasting your game board onto a large piece of cardboard. If you’re looking for cardboard, I just usually go to the package center and rummage for a nice box or go to the Product Realization Lab / d.School to get some materials.
I’ve made a Figma template that works really well with these instructions for making cards: https://www.figma.com/community/file/1232816775003913422
A really fast way to prototype card games is to use Excel to create your cards, and then use Word mailing directory function to import data from an excel spreadsheet. Then you just print then out and put inside a card sleeve protector from a random card you don’t use anymore.
A good idea too, is to use Google Docs Spreadsheet and edit your card with your friends, then you can download the file as an excel spreadsheet and follow the same steps.
Another tip is to use a 2 columns page layout and create your card using simple tables in directory layout, you will save time, ink and paper this way. more
Check out the custom card template generator.
Places like the d.school or the Lathrop Learning Hub have lamination that you can use! You may need to reach out to these locations to see what services they offer.
Printing on Stanford printers
Standard copy paper: Vertical printing
I don’t recommend this method as much because I get fewer cards per page. It’s easier to print, but MUCH more annoying to cut out…
- Design the front and backs of your cards.
- Print double sided on Stanford printers.
- Painfully cut out your cards…
Standard copy paper: Horizontal Cards
- Design your cards to print on a standard copy paper. I usually break up a piece of copy paper into 6-8 cards and design on a site like Figma to make it easy to export. . Make sure you’re also formatting the back of the cards.
- Then, export your cards as PDFs. If you’re using Figma, you’ll need to use Adobe Acrobat or a similar tool to combine your files together and order them each front of the card page followed by the appropriate back of the card page.
- After, you’ll need to rotate only the BACK pages of your cards by 180 degrees. This works for me on my local Stanford printer, but I recommend doing a test print in double-sided, black and white only with a few pages of your PDF to make sure this works.
- Upload each page directly to the Cardinal Print Center to print. I recommend you do NOT use the universal print driver, print directly from a device, or email to print as those methods often accidentally cut off the page. Below is an example of what your PDF pages should look like. Notice how every front page is followed by a back page rotated by 180 degrees.
Cardstock is a little trickier because the Stanford printers don’t handle cardstock very well. You’d have to manually print all one side of all your cards, and then manually feed in the back side to print. I would just do a test in B&W on standard copy paper. Then, when you know you’ve got it, print all the front cards, place them into the paper tray in the right orientation, and then print all the back sides. Upload each page directly to the Cardinal Print Center to print. I recommend you do NOT use the universal print driver, print directly from a device, or email to print as those methods often accidentally cut off the page.