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What are Composite Postcards

Example of Composite Postcards

Lately, we’ve been having some heart to heart discussions on the types of postcards, and how wonderful they are. And so today, still in that same spirit of “postcarding”, if that even makes any sense, we will be looking at another popular type of postcards.; the one most people commonly refer to as composites postcards. So as usual, we’ll get to analyze what this form of postcard is, its history, and its format, who needs it, how it is being used and so on. And without any further ado, let’s get on with it.

What is Composites Postcard?


Composite – This is a photograph with two separate images printed on the same photo paper.

Basically, a composite postcard is a marketing tool for actors, most especially models. They serve as the latest and most efficient of a model’s portfolio, which is often being used as a business postcard. In other words, a Composite postcard is what agencies use to submit a prospective model to clients for work. Sometimes today, they do it digitally, but it is a collection of pictures that they’re going to show to clients to say, hey, we think this is the girl/guy that you should hire for the job. So generally, a composite postcard generally is an eight and a half by five and a half size card, which is half the size of a sheet of paper.  It’s a thick cardstock and it is basically a model business card. On the front, you are going to have your headshot with your name underneath. On the back, you will have four photos you want to show some range of personality. And in those four pictures, you want to have different looks, different hairstyles and so on.

Then on the bottom of the composite postcard, you’ve got your measurements, your height, your bust, waist, hips, dress size, shoe size, eye color, and hair color. Then the little extra space at the bottom is so that agencies have room to add a sticker with their contact information. However, never put your email address or your phone number on your composite card, as agencies won’t be able to use it. Below is a complete rundown of its format.


A composites postcard typically contains a minimum of two pages – a cover page with a full-size portrait and a second page with a selection of representative shots from the portfolio. It lists the model’s basic stats – typically height, weight, three sizes (bust, waist, hips) for women, suit or chest size and waist and inseam sizes for men, plus shoe size, eye, and hair color, nationality, and contact information. It is printed on both sides of an 8.5″ x 5.5″ [4] piece of postcard stock (12 pt stock) (US) or A5 on postcard weight (350/400 g/m2 stock in metric countries) which is between 300 and 450 μm thick depending on the postcard stock or quality chosen (Europe, Asia).


Peter Marlowe in London invented models composites in 1965, then printed on paper to A4 format. The style was then changed in 1972 to the A5 postcard style, for filing purposes, and a few other companies started publishing postcards for the model industry under different trade names since Peter Marlowe had registered the trademark “Model Composite” in Europe and the USA.

Amongst these was Sebastian Sed who traded under the name Sed postcards, which are sometimes mispronounced as Z (“Zed”) or Set Postcards. The publishing house of Marlowe Press stopped trading in 1990 and the words “models composites” and “composites postcards” became generic within the model industry. Composites postcard databases and creation tools have moved online in recent years.

How Composites Postcards Are Used

Composites Postcards have been around for many years as an essential marketing tool for a model, and are likely to retain this standing because they are an inexpensive way to effectively and professionally showcase a model’s ability. Composite postcards are used on three major levels – they are used by models, agents and the agent’s client

How Composites Postcards are produced       

Currently, models have many different options of creating composites postcards. They can ask their photographer or create their own on their computers using image editing or graphics software. In addition, with technology’s increasingly strong influence in the digital market, many printing companies have looked to the internet to facilitate the ordering process. Composites postcard printing prices can vary depending on the number of pictures used on the postcard, the type of paper stock used, and the general printing quality. Different layout styles are available or can be created.

Who are Composites Postcards for?

Composite postcards are essential for business people. They’re an inexpensive and effective way to make a good first impression, to professionally showcase your abilities, and to share your contact information with agencies, scouts, clients, photographers, and other industry professionals. So, any model that is serious about their career, whether it’s commercial, fashion, plus-size, or any other type of modeling, needs to have composite postcards! Keep in mind that if you plan on doing multiple kinds of modeling (like commercial and parts modeling; for example), you’ll need to have a separate composites postcard for each type.

Should You Go for Online Composites postcard or a Printed Composites postcard?

These days, many models use a combination of digital and physical composite postcards. They’re basically the same, but with one obvious difference: One you email and the other you snail mail or hand out.

However, if you are just starting out then an online composite postcard is the way to go. The beauty of an online composite postcard is that you can quickly swap out photos yourself rather than having to reprint hundreds of postcards at the printing company. Online composites postcards are the most inexpensive choice for new models that are often changing their photos in the beginning. Once you become a little more established, then you can invest in printed postcards.


All composites postcards, whether they’re online or not, act like mini-portfolios and are a quick and easy way for agencies, scouts, and clients to see what you’re all about as a model, and shows them that you’re serious about a future in modeling. It’s good to have both kinds on hand just in case the recipient prefers one type over the other.


The unique thing about these postcards is that, no two composites postcards are identical. Nevertheless, the industry-standard layout includes one large photo (your best one!) and four smaller photos, with your name, details, and contact information at the bottom. Online composites postcards are simply an eye-catching image that contains all of these elements, typically with the large photo on the left and the four smaller ones stacked on the right. Physical composites postcards are typically double-sided (one large photo on the front, smaller photos on the back) and printed on an 8.5″ x 5.5″ piece of glossy cardstock.

In a nutshell, composites postcards are the gateway to landing you the perfect job in the modeling industry. So, if you want to appear professional, take your time to ensure that your composites postcard comes out perfectly.

Vintage Postcard Value Calculator - How Much is Postcard Worth

Type of PostcardAverage $$ Hi - LoNumber of PostcardsEbay Link to Postcards
Over 4 Million Postcards
3 - D Postcards$ 9.00$185 / .502988Postcards
Applique Postcards$14.00$ 29 / 2.73212Postcards
Art Deco Postcards$ 25.00$ 117 / 14.956,972Postcards
Art Nouveau Postcards$ 45.00$ 199 / 14.955,754Postcards
Artist Signed Postcards$ 85$ 622 / 50.0066,038Postcards
Bas Relief Postcards$ 9$ 45 / .99318Postcards
Big Letter Postcards$ 4.00$ 12 / 3.001449Postcards
Composites Postcards$ 3.00$ 17.99 / 1.46219Postcards
Court Cards Postcards$ 3.00$ 79 / 2.001,384Postcards
Divided Back Postcards$ 15.00$ 47 / 7.9514,773Postcards
Django Fontina Postcards000Postcards
Embossed Postcards$ 130.00$ 1600/ *0.0075,239Postcards
Hand Tinted Postcards$ 30$ 371 / 10.484,080Postcards
Hand Painted Postcards$ 18.75$ 750 / 4.581,791Postcards
Hold to Light Postcards$ 29.95$ 1,102.78 / 15.001,337Postcards
Kaleidoscope Postcards$ 33.99$ 59.00 / 1.7533Postcards
Large Letter Postcards$ 13.50$ 102.48 / 8.9917,746Postcards
Maximum Cards Postcards$ 13.77$ 33.88 / 2.00344Postcards
Midget Cards Postcards$ 9.99$ 49.99 / 3.83485Postcards
Novelty Postcards$ 19.99$ 213.48 / 1.334,409Postcards
Oilette Postcards$ 10.00$ 49.95 / 6.993,115Postcards
Postcardese Postcards$ 140.00$ 8,000 / 95.003,946,624Postcards
QSL Cards Postcards$ 7.99$ 51.17 / 6.022,417Postcards
RPPC / Real Photo Postcards49.89$ 2,025 / 4.99282,245Postcards
Topographical Postcards$ 2.99$ 13.50 / 1.27131Postcards
Undivided back Postcards$ 2.19$ 254.01 / .739,077Postcards
Vignette Postcards$ 11.15$ 231.59 / 1.991,261Postcards
Write - away Postcards$ 10.51$ 37.49 / 1.99175Postcards