Business Cards – How to Get it Right the First Time

Finally, the day has arrived that you are ready to open your business. You got the idea, some funding available, support of family and friends, not to mention loads of motivation. One of the very first things your business would need is a business card. And not any business card. You are going to need real attention catcher, something people would hold on to, and hopefully, relate with you in the future.

Ordering business cards can be daunting, especially that there are various types of paper, finish, size even. How not to get lost in all of that gibberish? I have put together a little guide how to order your business cards without a headache.

 

Know Your Identity

Before you even go online to find a company to print out your cards it is important to ask yourself a question: what do I want my card to say about my business? Why it is important to do that first, you may ask. For starters, that’s a great exercise of forming your branding. Most importantly, however, once you are online there so many pre-designed cards that you might easily lose your focus. So, make yourself a cup of coffee, put nice music on and with pen and paper make an outline of how you imagine your business card should look like.

 

Stand out from the crowd

Once you have your initial design, which I’m sure you love and are very proud of, you need to ask yourself yet another question: What about this business card makes me rememberable? See, since business cards are absolutely essential for every business everyone has got one. And it is never the matter of how many of those babies you give out. It is how many of them get kept, and used (and I don’t mean as coffee coasters). You really need to put some sort of edge on your design so that your business can go a long way.

 

Develop your business card

Now that’s when all the fun begin. You already have the idea in mind and (hopefully) on paper. Now you can turn to your computer for ways to develop that into the real project. You have few options here:

1. Research printing companies pages for the business card templates similar to your idea.

It is labour intensive, I’m not gonna lie to you, there is a tonne of stuff online to look through. Of course, once you find suitable template things get fairly easy quickly. The obvious downside of that option is that the same template might have been chosen by a number of people before and that you may end up with the same business card as you competitors, for example.

2. Design the card yourself.

If you are a tech savvy person, with access to graphic editing software you can design your own shiny, one of a kind business card. If you are looking for software, I assure you that buying Photoshop license purely for that purpose may be a little over the top. There are free options available, with GIMP being one of the most popular ones. If you’re going with this option, a good practice is to first go online and find out if the printing company have published any templates for designing cards. Those will include the size of the project, bleed amount that you need to add (usually 1 mm around the project), recommended margin etc.
You will also be able to find out what types of files printer accepts. No matter where you’re printing always remember to design in CMYK colour mode and in the resolution of 300 dpi.

3. Hire somebody to do it for you

If you can’t be bothered by any of previous solutions just let professional do it for you. After all, that’s what we are for (wink). At times, they might even provide valuable feedback regarding your idea or give you few ideas of their own.

‘I’d love that in print’

Ok, so the worst part is behind us, right? Wrong. Before I started working in the designing/printing industry I had no idea how many various types of paper are out there. And types of finish? And what does it even mean velvet laminate anyways? So in simple words, here are few things you need to know before ordering a print of business cards.

1. Paper is important

And not only in the office. The quality of paper your name is printed on can be easily mixed with the quality of service your business provides. That being said, you don’t want to be easily bent, paint going off type of business. No, you want to be solid, reliable and hard to break. So, I would recommend ordering cards that are at least 400 gsm. Some may say that 350 gsm is just fine but trust me you don’t want your clients to have ‘just fine’ experience with you. You aim for the best. Some printing companies offer even triple or quadruple paper weight. That way business cards can be set apart with a feel of how thick they are. See pictures below.

2. It’s not important how you start, it’s how you finish

We are living in the fast evolving world so now besides standard glossy and matt laminate, there are types of finish available that will make your business card a work of art. Seriously, I have business cards that I don’t want to throw out just because they are o so pretty. There is plenty to choose from. Velvet laminate is known to be soft touch finish. It gives a different type of vibe when handed to the person. Tere is also UV lamination which proves to be quite popular. That’s when some of the elements are enhanced with special foil. See pictures below for various types of finishes.

3. Unusual shape, funny size

Finally, we move to the last variable shape and size. Yes, you read it right. Simple, rectangular business cards are no longer the only option. Now you can have the business card in shape of the credit card, it also can be a square. Many companies offer tiny business cards that you can slip into marketing materials. They are also perfect for online retail businesses because they can be easily attached to any kind of package. I have included some pictures of those as well.

 

Last but not least

After you choose the best option for you, all that is left to do is to send your project off to the printing company, approve the proof (some companies offer free project check to make sure you always get what you aimed for). You also need to choose a quantity. If I can give you some advice on that, try to choose larger quantities, even if you don’t necessarily require them at the time. Why? Because usually, it is far cheaper. Printing is one of those businesses when powering on the printer is more costly than printing a lot of stuff.

If you are not sure what business cards to get, and pictures are not enough for you to base the decision on, some companies offer to send you a sample pack of their products free of charge. Of course, you can always hire professional (wink). It might be even the same one that designed your business card. They probably have seen it all and would be able to choose the best option for you. Some of them have even befriended printers. I know we do.

As you can see it is not all magic and fairies. If you have time and a few computer skills you can create your little manifest to the world on your own. In case you have any questions, we are always here for you. We can provide you with advice on what the most current trends are so you won’t get lost in the crowd. After all, that’s what professionals are for.

 

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Barbara Pajak
Barbara Pajak Creative Director, Web Designer

I'm a designer with love for everything that's beautiful. In my case, an expression 'love what you do and you won't work a day in your life' gets it full meaning. I enjoy taking on new projects and learning new things. I like clever designs, the energy that comes from people when they create new things and basically everything that falls within the term of 'living full life'.

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