Collated Printing: Top 10 Marketing & Design Ideas

Collated Printing. What is it exactly? Simply put, it’s when you have sheet sets in the same size, shape and stock with unique content on each page that are then printed and stacked in a specific sequential order. Efficient and economical, it’s for marketing manuals and annual reports, custom flashcards and playing cards. Check out our top 10 printing possibilities for this trending phenomenon.

Collated printing

120# Coated Matte White Cover with Soft Touch Coating on both sides and 1/4″ rounded corners, 2.75 x 4.75″

Collated playing cards

1. Playing Cards:
For Creative Fun

Illustrator Trenton Miller used Collated Printing to create personalized playing cards. With various designs on each card that needed to be printed in a certain order, it was a perfect project to be collated. For Miller, creating his Extinction deck with designs of fossils on one side and their tracks as suits on the other was “a way to practice my illustration skills while stuck at home.”

In taking advantage of Collated Printing’s coating options, Miller played the perfect hand. “The Soft Touch coating was very pleasant,” he said. “Everyone loves them and is impressed with the print quality.”


Tip: Make your own playing cards with Flat Matte UV coating on both sides for a rich, finished appearance and durability that stands up to years of shuffling.

Collated printing flashcards

C2S 18pt with Soft Touch Coating on both sides and 1/4″ rounded corners, 3.5 x 5″

Custom flashcards

2. Flashcards:
For Learning at All Levels

For Laura Mitchell, founder and creative director of Merimoi Press, Collated Printing meant flashcard printing. Mitchell’s alphabet flashcards feature charming animal designs on one side and the corresponding letter on the other.


Wanting “to provide a simple yet beautiful learning tool for kids,” Mitchell proved just how vital Collated Printing is to creating educational materials. No matter the subject, Mitchell knew “kids and parents appreciate tactile learning tools.”


Tip: Add rounded corners to your custom flashcards for a professional look.

Collated printing note cards

130# Uncoated Smooth White Cover, 5.5 x 4.25″

3. Stationery:
For Personal Connection

Whether for business essentials or personal projects, Collated Printing gives you back a precious resource: time. With her custom note cards, Leslie Ann Jones, owner and designer at Muscadine Press, experienced this first-hand.


“Our boxed sets include eight assorted cards,” Jones said. “I used to order each design separately and spend hours assembling the various sets. Collated Printing makes my life easier!”

Jones knows “a printed piece has lasting power,” and so does her partnership with Smartpress, since “the color is crisp, the stock is beautiful and the service is top notch.”


Tip: Individually shrink wrap bundles of assorted stationery and more for easy retail sale.

Print your own flashcards

80# Coated Matte White Cover, 8.5 x 5″

Collated printing design ideas

4. Manuals:
For Training & Safety

Because Collated Printing produces a stack of various printed pages in the proper order (instead of one stack with all one design and another stack with a different design), it’s perfect for projects that require sequencing for instructions or following a calendar of events.

Collated Printing not only saves you time and frustration, but it also makes it easier to replace outdated content. Ideal for training manuals, employee handbooks and workbooks, Collated Printing makes quick work of adding the latest workplace safety information, educational materials and more.


Tip: Add one, two or three drill holes for easy insertion into binders, whether you’re designing a piano playing guide with finger placements, a planner with goal-setting activities or a how-to manual for a crafting hobby.

Custom collated printing

C2S 18pt, 3 x 3″

5. Discussion Cards:
For Growth & Promotion

Want to create a multi-piece marketing campaign? Turn to Collated Printing like Joe Richardson did. As the lead designer at Messenger International, Richardson and Abby Drown created a set of devotional discussion cards to promote and coincide with minister John Bevere’s book, “X: Multiply Your God-Given Potential.”

“We wanted a coffee table-style card you could share with friends, [and] since these are a sequence of cards, Collated Printing was the perfect solution,” Richardson said. “They perfectly match the coating of the book and of the outer-box.”


Tip: Make your own trivia cards or icebreaker card games with a Soft Touch coating for a velvety-smooth aesthetic. If durability is what you’re after, we recommend a UV coating.

Collated catalog printing

100# Coated Gloss White Text with Corner Stapling, 16.77 x 11.93″

Catalog printing

6. Catalogs:
For Products & Details

For small business owners, saving time is great, but saving money is better. Kyle Anttila, owner and creative director at Lakeside Clothing Co. and Camp 26 Candle Co., considered his budget when contemplating Collated Printing for his custom catalogs.


“[The] format was user-friendly and cost-effective,” Anttila said, which is important since “in the wholesale industry, print catalogs generate more sales revenue than digital alone.”

From catalog printing and annual reports to business forms and documents in informational packets, Collated Printing is a format that pays off.


Tip: Make the most of our online printing services and choose the corner stapling option for preassembled packets.

Devotional cards

100# Coated Gloss White Cover with Flat Matte UV Coating on Both Sides and 1/4″ rounded corners, 3 x 4″

7. Devotional Cards:
For Inspiration & Affirmation

Collated Printing not only lets you connect with clients and employees, but also your faith and self with devotional cards. Create your own for daily inspiration or gift them to others for their own self reflection. Design custom affirmation cards with motivational words on one side and encouraging images on the other.


With Collated Printing, whatever theme you can design, we can print. Add personal photographs or thoughtful prompts, favorite verses, daily intentions or even yoga poses.


Tip: Use our Versions feature to create multiple sets of cards for seasonality, various topics and for specific audiences.

Collated tarot cards

120# Coated Matte White Cover with Flat Matte UV Coating on both sides and 3/8″ rounded corners, 2.75 x 4.75″

Custom oracle cards

8. Oracle & Tarot Cards:
For Introspection

Envisioning new project ideas? That’s exactly what B Schneider did with Collated Printing. As the creator, designer and artist behind Sweet B Design LLC, Schneider’s Magick Moon oracle card deck offers customers “an illuminating nudge and boost of confidence as you do the emotional work needed throughout your journey.”

Captivating with mystical graphics and colors, Schneider’s deck fit right in with the Collated Printing format. Paper quality and the ability to easily add a border, as well as track her job’s progress, were big draws for Schneider: “I love Smartpress’ Activity Log feature. I was able to communicate with customer service quickly.”


Tip: Choose a Flat Matte Gloss UV coating on both sides for a subtle, sophisticated sheen and long-lasting durability.

Custom recipe cards

120# Coated Matte White COver with Flat Matte UV Coating on both sides, 5 x 7″

9. Recipe Cards:
For Advertising Eats

Using Collated Printing for personalized recipe cards is a secret ingredient you want in your marketing strategy. For Mary Heffernan, owner and operator of Five Marys Farms, recipe card printing offered practical promotion that reaches customers via shipments: “They’re great visuals and provide new ways for our customers to prepare their meat.”

It’s a smart business tactic paying off in building engagement and relationships with customers. “Having a tangible product that our customers can hold is so important to us, “ Heffernan said. “We love to see how people use our product to connect with their family.”


Tip: Since ingredients may get splashed upon recipe cards while cooking, add lamination for water-resistance. We do not recommend adding lamination if you’re creating blank cards, however, as pencil and pen do not appear on lamination.

Collated table number cards

100# Felt Weave White Cover, 4.5 x 5.5″

10. Table Number Cards:
For Events, Big & Small

Can you use Collated Printing to enhance a wedding? If you’re artist Kaitie Klingelhutz, your answer is, “I do!” Klingelhutz designed an array of stationery for her wedding, including table number cards.


“[Collated Printing] was the easiest way to print the set of table numbers,” Klingelhutz said. “I didn’t have to make a PDF per number, which would have been 20+ PDFs!”

Choosing an online printer to create table place cards was a nuptial no-brainer for Klingelhutz. “I’ve used Smartpress for a number of years and I’m impressed by the final product every time,” she said. “These were no exception. The color was correct and they were cut perfectly.”


Tip: Choose a cover weight instead of a text weight for a substantial look and feel. We recommend textured or metallic stock for a high-end look on wedding table cards and other stationery for galas and events.



Hint: Take a deep dive into two small business owners’ collated printing:


Piano Technique Design by Heather Baros, a Music Teacher in Draper, Utah
Devotional Cards Design by Pinklomein

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