To cut a long story short, for the last year or two there has been a print-on-demand game manufacturer based in the UK, Ivory Graphics, and I have been meaning to try them out for some time. Well, I have just done that, just using their card printing service to get a few sets of my 9-card "The Yolk's on You" made. I figured that if it all went wrong, it wouldn't cost me an enormous amount. The cards have just arrived, so here are some thoughts on the service...
First off, the service is reasonably quick. I ordered my deck of 54 cards on a Friday evening, and they were delivered on Saturday the following week -- though as nobody was in to receive the signed-for package, I had to wait a few more days before one of us (my wonderful wife, as it happens) was able to go to the post office to pick it up.
I was worried about how the colours would come out, as (slightly technical bit coming up...) their print process requires submitted files to use a CMYK colour space, whereas the tools available to me mostly use the RGB colour space, and I have no idea what the result of getting this wrong would be. After a little searching online I found a Linux command line incantation that, allegedly, allowed me to translate my PDF files to the correct colour space, so I used that, submitted the converted files, and hoped for the best.
One way or another, things turned out fine and the colours looked just as I wanted them, with a slightly glossy finish, and really clear and crisp edges. The only things wrong with the printed images were entirely due to the quality of the files I sent, so no complaints there.
The cards themselves are reasonably stiff and will be just fine to play with, though if you hold them up to the light you can see what is on the other side pretty clearly. In most playing situations this won't be a problem.
Price-wise, the cards cost £8.45 for the 54 card deck (pricing starts at 20 cards and you pay a per-card price beyond that), which isn't cheap, but seems reasonable for P-o-D. The shipping, at a fiver, was a little pricey, though I don't know how that scales for bigger orders.
So, overall I'm happy with these cards. The service also offers boxes, tokens, boards, rulebooks, and all sorts of other components, so you can in principle get them to make up a full boxed game for you, as long as your requirements aren't exotic, and you can even sell your complete games direct from their website. I'm not sure if I'll be making use of that of those options, but I may well go for the card printing again from time to time.