Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Making Your Own Business Cards on a Budget

My business cards, printed via moo.com
Recently, a facebook friend who is starting her own business asked me if I could recommend a free online program that would allow her to design a business card for her to print at home. The first thing I said was, "Don't print your business card at home". Why? Because it will look like you printed your business card at home, and you want to look as professional as possible.

Now, I am in no way trying to talk someone with an interest/talent in crafts or design OUT of silk screening, letterpressing or creating a card on a nontraditional/unique medium themselves, especially if that look goes well with the "feel" of your business. BUT - for the majority of small business owners, your printer and paper will not be able match the quality of a commercial printer. About 5 years ago, I made this mistake myself. I designed my business card, bought a pack of perforated business card paper at an office supply store and thought I would save some money by printing at home. Every time I exchanged business cards, I was keenly aware that the other person's card was much nicer quality than mine, which was NOT the way to impress them with my graphic design business.

If you left your business card on a table filled with other business cards, how would it hold up? Would the feel/look of the paper and the overall design say "This person is taking their business seriously" or "This person is trying to cut corners"? 

So how can you design a high quality card that looks great AND doesn't cost a ton of money? Browse the "Premade" section of any online business card printing company and you can reap the benefits of a professionally designed card for FREE, only paying for the card printing costs. This option works even better if you can personalize the design with your logo and business colors. The LAST thing you want is a design that looks great, but doesn't match your website or other promotional materials - again, you want to look like a professional.

A word of caution about using a premade design - whatever design you choose, someone else out there is using it too, and you may cross paths in real life. While checking out the premade health/wellness section of a major card printing company, I recognized 2 of the designs from the business card table at my yoga studio. Again, think about if you left your card on a table with other business cards, would you want your company to be accidentally mistaken for another one, or do you want to be as unique as possible?

And if you want to go the custom-designed business card route, know that I am always here for you :)
OR I highly recommend checking out the wonderful, affordable, LOCAL Philly area design services from my friends at $5 Fridays.

And Finally
AWESOME BUSINESS CARD DEAL: if you need to print your own business cards for the first time or restock, here is a sweet deal from Vista Print - Get 250 Premium Business Cards with FREE SHIPPING for just $10 - (wow -the pack of crappy perforated business card paper I bought cost more than that!) Just use coupon code: ACE at checkout.

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