Tips to print rocking business cards- on your own!
In my profession, I meet a whole lot of people from various companies. That exposes me to an eclectic variety of business cards of people from all walks of life.
I recently started attending many conferences as the editor of this blogzine. That has made me interact with bloggers, consultants, podcasters et al. Of course I attended these conferences earlier, but as a Senior professional from the industry, I guess you meet a different crowd (and NO- I am not as old as I sound saying this. Had to clarify ) than when you represent a blogzine. Some of these guys have cool business cards. However, I noticed, many of them might have spent a bomb getting them printed. And unless you know someone in the creative printing or advertising or any such business- best of luck with explaining your concepts to the mom and pop neighborhood printing shop.
That got me thinking- home based (and part time) businesses have this powerful tool at their disposal- the business card! Most of us do not put a whole lot of effort into business cards. But I will tell you what- the time spent on designing that business card will reap you rewards for times to come, and will probably be the most important fundamental marketing exercise that you can undertake.
It is a branding tool , a direct marketing tool and a CRM tool- all combined in one. And how much does it cost? Well, maybe $15 for a bunch of 100+ good quality (basic) business cards. And if you spend some time on it and be creative about it, the returns will far far exceed the time and money investment.
A business card is not just a paper card with your contact details and company logo- it is the attitude of your business. It should shout your personality out loud. When someone opens their card folders, it should scream- “look at me!” and when you give it to someone, they should raise their eyebrows and give you a second look. It should be an ice breaking tool and a conversation starter. A marketers delight and a sales warrior’s weaponry.
I made some new business cards for Chasing the storm. The brand personality can be gauged from here. But in short- CTS is about finding your own path, a brave attempt at doing something differently and looking beyond the obvious. I also wanted things a bit different- I wanted many different flavors of a business card. In effect, I wanted all (OK many) of my different cards to be different. Yet depicting the same attitude.
Here are four of them – I made 8 varieties in total (and they look way cooler on paper)
Imagine if I had asked my printer to print me not one bunch of similar looking cards, but a whole lot of different looking cards? He would’ve hung himself upside down and eat a dozen bananas before coming back to his senses.
How did I do it? Here is a simple (but VERY time taking- beware) process:
First- The preparation:
- Photo paper with gloss or matt finish 9matt works better usually, but for bright colors you can use glossy finish) : Should cost about $8-$20 for a 20 sheet deck. Anything above 150 GSM thickness should do as per preference
- A (photo) printer: Since a normal pronter might not have that impact, if you have a photo printer, yur card will shine through. A reasonably good photo printer could come at around $60+. They are dime a dozen nowadays- printer companies want to sell cartridges anyways.
- A decent cutter: You could use a pencil like cutter- shaped like a small knife, used to cut, well- papers. It can start from $2 or so- and you need a scale to cut the paper. But I recommend spending a little bit more and get a “paper cutter” equipment. Will cost you about 15$ plus (till about 300$)- but you really need a basic no fancy cutter for this. One that can cut A4 size paper should do fine.
That’s it- you are on!
Second- creating the card on your computer:
You can very easily make this on MS word.
On MS Word Open the File menu and choose New.
Tools menu-> Envelopes and Labels section
By default Avery Standard is selected in the “Product type” menu, if not, select it
I chose “3612 – Business Card” in the “Product number” menu. Then clicked OK. You can choose to pick up a label – and a different size if you are adventurous.
Click “New Document”. You get a template with the correct margins for a business card.
Insert menu-> picture-> and browse your files for a picture or your logo to put on your card.
Adjust the graphic to the size you want. If you have a logo, insert that and align as per preference
Choose a font for the text and type your contact details
Instead of Copying and pasting a single design into each space on the page (recommended if you have one set), I tried something different and repeated the process for different cards that I wanted.
Select the table, right click and enable borders on the page so that they are visible once you print on the paper. Helps immensely when you are down to cutting yur masterpiece in the right dimensions
Press Print on the toolbar when you’re ready to print
There are softwares available on the web, some of them very cheap and good that can help you as well. Microsoft has some templates online, but they are run of the mill.
You can find other cool resources here
All in all, I’d say it was a damn time taking exercise, and not as cheap as having it made from a print shop. But the satisfaction it gave me was immense- and with probably the first optical illusion cards- all different from the other, I might as well be the first blogzine editor in the world doing it.
Like them? Let me know if you want to see more. Either which ways, what do you think of these?