For anyone thinking about designing a deck of playing cards, it is crucial to think about where printing their custom tuck cases. Maybe your idea is to go with a standard case made by the cards printer, which is definitely not a bad option. But stepping up the game is definitely a great way to put on paper better ideas that allow the project to stand out. Here is my personal experience on how to get a custom tuck case printed.
How “custom” can a tuck case be?
Printing techniques and possibilities are always changing, and every now and then a project pops up that does something completely new. Some techniques, however, can up the game by being relatively cheap and easy to do.
- Foiling. Foiling the tuck is a great way to give it a luxurious look. It is not for all decks, but it can change completely the way the whole project looks.
- Embossing. With foiling, it is frequently the first option given to a creator. Embossing creates depth, and a correct use of depth in a deck can make it multidimensional and much more interesting.
- Other printing techniques. Foiling and embossing are the easiest way to take a tuck case to the next level. Many other techniques exist: custom paper and inks, other materials, 3d-printed cases. All these are less standard, more expensive, and it is generally something for the more experienced designer.
Printing custom tuck cases option 1: Go with the printer.
The first option is to print the tuck with the card printer. If you are thinking of a plain CMYK tuck, look no further: they are good at doing it. It is cheaper and much easier, as you don’t need to assemble the tuck case, and skipping an additional step is always advisable so to reduce the risk that someone makes a mistake.
The issue with card printers is that the prices for a premium tuck case are extremely high. Imagine that just adding foiling to the tuck cases through USPCC is as expensive as having the tuck printed with foiling and embossing from a third party. Why card printers don’t care about reducing their prices, I honestly don’t know – but definitely something to keep in mind.
The one card printer that offers affordable foiling and embossing options is NPCC. I worked with them in the past (even though with a plain tuck case), and they offer quality tuck cases – definitely a good option to check out.
Printing custom tuck cases option 2: Go to a third party
Adding a layer in between increases the likelihood of delays and issues. However, if you want foiling and or embossing, and even more so if you are looking to more complex printing techniques, third party printers are your best bet. Printing a custom tuck case with foiling and embossing will cost between $2.000 and $3.000, including assembly. Here are the one I know:
Gambler’s Warehouse (most convenient)
GW is always the first one to contact. They are mostly known for fulfilling projects, which means that they are experienced in packing and you can use them as a one-stop shop: they can take care of everything.
GW tends to be slightly more expensive when it comes to manufacturing, but since they take care of everything, it is often the most economically sensitive call to make.
Clove St Press (good prices, good quality)
Clove St Press is a very solid option, and has worked on many successful projects. They tend to be slightly cheaper than GW, but don’t take care of fulfilling, which effectively adds a layer and raises costs.
Oath Playing Cards (stunning quality, no MOQ)
Lotrek is well known for producing unbelievable tuck cases for its own projects. On top of that, he works with other designers. The great thing about going with them is the lack of MOQ: you will very often see them for very limited print runs (below 500 units). I never worked with them, but I did ask for a quote and never heard back. I really hope we will be able to work with them in the future.
Printing custom tuck cases: conclusion
Printing custom tuck cases for your Kickstarter project is a complex decision to make. It is important to get many quotes so to choose the best option in your specific case. The big conclusion I drew to myself is the following: work with the playing cards printer if the tuck case is plain CMYK, and definitely talk to third parties if you want something more.