How-to-Use-iNaturalist Postcards

A lot of the feedback I’m hearing about how to get more people using iNaturalist from the iNat World Tour discussions is that there’s demand for clear, translated, getting started materials and tutorials.

I’m doing some good-old-fashioned outreach at the Lepidoptera Society Meeting at the moment. And thought I’d trial making and distributing a new round of How-to-Use-iNaturalist Postcards.

I’m hoping to kick off a discussion here about:

  1. how to improve the content on these cards?
  2. how to get them translated?
  3. how to go about getting your hands on some?
  4. what other formats of materials (other than postcards) should we make?

How to improve the content on these cards?
I made 2 sets of cards. The first are smaller (ie 4 to a standard 8.5x11 piece of paper) and the second are larger. Each has a front and a back. I decided to focus on 3 steps on the website: a. signing up, b. uploading observations, c. identifying observations since these are, in my opinion, the core actions on iNaturalist.

Here’s the 5.5x4.25 front:

And the 5.5x4.25 back:

I’ve posted the images (in PNG format) and the raw vector files (in Adobe Illustrator format) here:
PNG files
5.5x4.25 front
5.5x4.25 back
8.5x5.5 front
8.5x5.5 back

Adobe Illustrator files
5.5x4.25 front
5.5x4.25 back
8.5x5.5 front
8.5x5.5 back

Any feedback on the content on these cards would be much appreciated.

How to get them translated?
If we were to add this text to Crowdin or TranslateWiki (the services we use to translate the rest of the site) would people be willing to translate them? Another approach would be for people to download the Adobe Illustrator files, translate them, and share the translated versions back here. Does anyone have a preferred ‘illustrator’ like application? Adobe illustrator is nice but pricy. Inkscape is a nice free application.

How to go about getting your hands on some?
One option is for people to use these files to print their own. I printed this batch out using the FedEx print online tool and then picked them up at a nearby FedEx a few hours later.

  1. Click on ‘Marketing Materials’
  2. Then click ‘Postcards’
  3. Drag in the ‘front’ PNG
  4. Click Files/Slides and ‘Add another File’ for the ‘back’
  5. If you dragged in the 5.5x4.25 files, click ‘Prints Per Page’ and click 4

Using the default Paper (Gloss cover 100lbs), the 5.5x4.25 cards cost 75 cents per card (the 8.5x5.5 cards are of course twice as much). I think price varies with quantity and it definitely differs if you choose different Paper.

Are there better ways we could distribute/fund making these cards available than the steps described above?

What other formats of materials (other than postcards) should we make?
This postcard is about Signing up, Uploading observations, and Identifying observations on the web. What other cards would we need to complement these? The same for iOS and the same for Android? Anything else? Are we missing anything else, like making a stronger case for why using iNat is important?

What other mediums should we try making materials for?
Slide decks?
Video Tutorials? (beyond whats here)
Online Getting Started docs? (beyond whats here)


My opinion, from a novice point of view. If I looked at the back of that card, I would get the feeling I need to be someone of a nature expert to do this.
On the front of the card, once you tell people the website location, I think pretty much anyone knows how to register for a site.

My suggestion would be to use the front of the card to explain a little. “Anyone can do it”, “iNat’s computer recognition will help you identify your observations” etc. It would make the back of the card less intimidating, because I do think the back of the card is helpful.

BTW, if you don’t have a FedEx handy, UPS offers much of the same services.


Thats a good point about the novice point of view.

I should mention that for that card I had the LepSociety type audience in mind who (and not meaning to stereotype) may be skewed towards people who have lots of photos on their desktop, lots of identification expertise but maybe have trouble with using the internet. Sort of in line with this Recruiting more identifiers thread or otherwise on-boarding scientists/naturalists who don’t use iNat.

I agree that cards aimed at novices would/should be structured different and that would be a good card too. But I do have to say I’m less worried about novices partially because the Seek app is really geared towards onboarding novices and hopefully ramping them up to iNaturalist (though it remains to be seen how successful that pathway is)


Looks great! My initial thought is that it might be nice to have an alternative post card to this one that just describes how to use the app on your phone. At our nature preserves, most of our visitors have smart phones with them but do not bring cameras, so it would be helpful to have something simple that they can take with them to help them figure it out as they go (as opposed to a just a poster at the entrance). We also work with a lot of teenagers and preach the awesomeness of iNat (including the social aspect of it), but they almost exclusively use smart phones so it would also be great to have something to hand to them in addition to telling them about the app and/or walking them through using it.

I think the current format would be helpful for groups like your LepSociety, or for us, the Audubon Society and/or our avid photographers who probably have years of awesome photos that would be great additions to iNat.


As a follow on after the basics, cards that show something similar to the information from the old critter calendar would be great.

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Can you elaborate on what information from the critter calendar would be most useful, and how?

Awesome feature
When are we going to do stickers
And auto Decals ???
I’ve turned a lot of people full time
And part time (aka visitors)
Here in the Sacramento Mtns
Of New Mexico in to fellow INaters
And every one keeps asking about swag
And sticker


I was thinking about the basics of identifying certain iconic taxa that people will likely observe and have some easy identifying feature. I enjoyed learning things like this and I think other may also.

For example:
Daisy (Asteraceae)
Most species have flowers look like adisc with petals around it.
The name Aster means star …

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I like the cards. I would not mind at all getting involved in translating the cards from English to Spanish. Regarding “Illustrator-like” applications, I have used Inkspace. I guess that the GIMP could also be used.

There’s a bit of a disconnect between the front of the card, which depicts the observer and identifier as different people, and the back, which implies that the observer will fill in the ID. Some kind of bridge would be helpful. “Know the ID? fill it in here. Don’t know it? Let iNaturalist help” or something.


It’s definitely more limited, but if all that needs to be done is swap text and maybe shift things around a bit, a format like Google Slides is convenient as anyone can access it, save a copy, and modify without any extra software to download. And should make sure the fonts used are universally available/already “installed” (Whitney-Book and Whitney-Semibold were not on my computer).

From browsing social media responses and talking to people who come to workshops, Seek is treated more like a substitute than an onboarding process toward iNaturalist, so if the goal is promoting iNaturalist to novices, I don’t think (the current iteration of) Seek is the way to go.

  • Add in the iNat bird logo?
  • I think the front should be a bit showier and simpler, more like the iNaturalist homepage or brochure (but definitely less ink intensive than the brochure).
  • On the front, either remove the graphic for signing up, or simplify by just showing the sign up page (not the log-in page, which confuses things)
  • On the back, “Coment” -->“Comment”

On the back, I find with the instructions each spread across 2 columns and the numbers in orange circles a bit busy and difficult to follow, my eyes jumping around a lot. If the example graphic is large and clear enough to read the taxon/species place, the save button, etc, I don’t think you need to additionally display the circles next to them.

What’s “basi”? Might be nice to use a widely recognizable example species and also skip out on trying to explain placeholders.

I would make it as simple as possible.


Hi Scott:
Those materials that you are doing seem very good to me. I would like to use them in my presentations and workshops but I would have to translate them and / or edit them. This is possible?
On the other hand, if Conabio wanted to make changes in navigation in to improve navigation for new users, is this possible? Would it affect inaturalist? Can be done? If we had a proposal and a possible funding, would it be feasible?
I’m waiting for the answers.


see here for swag conversation:

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i’m a little confused about what problem(s) these postcards solve (or are attempting to solve). i can understand the need for general marketing materials to get people excited about the platform and point them to the website or app, but that’s not what this is (and that kind of material already seems to exist).

are there people who are reluctant to sign up without knowing what the upload and identify screens generally look like? (if that’s the problem, i guess these postcards do solve that problem.)

are there people who don’t know that tutorials exist? (if so, maybe just point people to those in a welcome e-mail when they sign up?)

are there just people who need a lot of handholding in general? (i’m not sure postcards will solve that problem.)

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Hi @loarie I found these postcards really useful. I’m starting to promote the use of iNaturalist in Uruguay and would like to translate them to Spanish and get them distributed through social networks to introduce the platform (as images actually). Is it ok? (I’m using inkscape, I could open the ai files but I believe the fonts get modified). I would also like to help translate the Getting started guide, but that’s for another post.

I’m new to the forum, so maybe there are other materials that I might be missing for this purpose? I would appreciate any reference to this. Many thanks!

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For printing, iNat could upload designs to sites like Zazzle or CafePress or similar print-on-demand services. Gooten has much better prices but they don’t have a pre-existing marketplace so the web design team would need to add pages where people could order products. This would also integrate into the desire for iNat merchandise like t shirts, hats, totes, etc.

In terms of the design, one thing I’ve been surprised to hear from new users is that the identify feature is very intimidating and they don’t realize that they can use a higher level taxon if they don’t know the species. Or they think it’s rude to add a generic id to someone else’s observation. Or they don’t know that adding a better id can help get the observation in front of an expert. It’s not always about knowing the exact species so using the word “species” on the identification instructions might dissuade new users from trying to use it.


Yes, it is fine to translate them @flo_grattarola. Please do! It would also be great to translate the getting started guide.

@jdjohnson that’s a good suggestion to offer an easy way for people to order how-to postcards like that for their own events/distribution. We’ll keep that in mind when we hopefully have iNat merch for sale.


I have been playing with these a little and came up with a slightly rearranged version. These are quarter sheet (US letter size) cards that are meant to be folded in half so they fit in a pocket easily. I also moved the logos around and added the iNat bird.

Four card spreads are available here as a pdf, just print on letter size paper at actual size and flip on the short edge:



Hi Loarie

So I just dicovered these adobe illustrator files. A few days ago had posted to ask about things like this being available for translation. (to Hindi) Some how i missed this link or did not see it.

However I made the same in Hindi (using graphics copied from the pdf i got)

These are linked here for your reference

Now that I have the AI files I will re work the text etc to be almost the same. (and higher quality)

I am using inkscape - so not sure i can import AI to inkscape - will let you know how it goes



Hi there
Can our non profit environmental charity use these postcards in a virtual webinar to promote bioblitzes in our area?