Okay, you’ve decided you need a business card, but where do you get them, who designs it, and how much are they going to cost?
Before you hop online and order 500 cards shipped overnight, stop and think.
Now work backward from that. If you know your situation, you can figure out what you want this card to do. Don’t be like the tool in this video, who’s bragging about his die-cut, foil stamped, $4.00 per copy “I’m better than you are” cards. Instead, think about the details the card must include that are vital to your purpose for it.
Depending on your purpose, you may need a card with a lot of information, such as multiple emails, physical addresses, your position within the company, or even a photograph. What makes sense for one business may not for another. For example, doctors still fax prescriptions to pharmacies, so including their fax number is important. Whereas you might view a fax machine as a relic from another age because it has nothing to do with your work. So consider the purpose of your card and the information it needs to include.
A quick Internet search will reveal many card makers competing for your business. Vistaprint lets you upload your own design, or customize one of their templates, and you can get 500 cards for $9.99. Gotprint gives you a third option, where their designers will take your information, design your card, and charge you $8.50 for 500. Zazzle provides templates based on the type of business, with 11 paper types to choose from, and prices starting at $21.95 for 100 cards. Staples has a template-based service of 250 cards at $8.99, and you can pick up your cards in the store.
There are many options out there, and prices are generally in the pennies per card range. Also, don’t forget your local printers. Why not support a local business and establish a working relationship for your other printing needs in the future?
When it comes to designing a card, the options are overwhelming. What weight of paper, color or monochrome, matte or glossy, one sided- or two-sided, metallic, foil, raised print, embossed? Then you can get into different shapes, different sizes, and even non-paper materials. It’s easy to go crazy.
It comes back to purpose. If you’re an artist or a graphic designer, you may want a colorful, memorable card that really stands out. However, for many businesses your main goal is the information on the card, so clarity is more important. If you’re not sure, keep it simple. Remember, if they can’t read it, the card is worthless.
Here’s a card from Zazzle, designed by J32. It contains a lot of information, but it’s easy to read, looks professional, and gets the job done. It’s the type of card you get from a guy who sells ink cartridges, and hey, everyone needs ink cartridges.
This card, designed by Maura Reed, is more artistic, and the contact information is moved to the back. Yet for a creative profession like photography, this card makes sense.
If you’re going for something particularly memorable, you may want a card that’s custom designed and uses special textures and fonts. Here’s a card for the Cinq Partners design firm, designed by Steve Wilson, Steph Doyle, and Nikita Prokhorov.
Ever have someone hand you a card where they scratched out their old email or former employer and scribbled in new info? How easy was that card to read? How professional did it seem? Even worse is a shiny, foil card with your name misspelled. Proof your cards, get the contact info correct, and keep them up to date.
Don’t let options and design obsession paralyze you. While it’s a reflection of your personal style, a card is ultimately a business tool. Keep in mind what you want the card to accomplish, and don’t order 10,000 copies…because some of that information will most certainly change.
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