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um, do you have a card?

March 24, 2009

Well, I am embarrassed to say that my latest answer to the question above is, “um, no, but I can give you my contact information”  I know what you are thinking…”WHAT?!”  Don’t worry, I’m thinking the same.  I simply have not made it my priority to design my own card.  Sure, I have done it many times in the past, but haven’t needed to do so for over 5 years.

So now, because I haven’t made it a priority of mine, I get to feel like a schmuck when asked the faithful question.  

Actually, due to the poor economy and high layoffs these days, many designer friends of mine are now going out on their own and as such have a need for a quick yet stylish business card on a tight budget.  This week I am working on several business card designs; one for myself and also for a couple of close friends.  

As I am sure most of you know…us designers are picky, er, I mean”selective”.  I cringe, shutter and get the shakes (really) with the thought of a pre-designed layout on a flimsy card. In my mind, there is just absolutely NO reason to succumb to this.  Sure, super custom cards can be expensive, but there are a bevy of online sources for printing business cards at affordable rates, many with custom options that can provide a nice quality and more distinctive aesthetic than the local quick-and-cheap card options.   

After all, a business card is an impression of you.  You hand it to someone as a point of contact, a reminder of who you are and what you represent. Important, right?  I sure hope you are nodding your heads….very good, my brainwashing is complete.

Ok, all that being said, I had a small list online print companies of my own but knew there had to be many more.  So today I sent out a question on Twitter to the graphic design community asking for sites.  I want to thank everyone who responded to me so quickly. (please see list below for contributors). I also had many people asking me to let them know what I found out so I decided to write this post as a little list.

I want to add that I have not used any of these sites so I cannot speak for their product, but am posting this as a quick list / review of options each company has to offer.  I hope it is helpful.  The companies are in no particular order.  If you know of others, please feel free to add to the list by commenting on the post.  Also as a note, I did my best to list as many of the companies provided to me as possible but did not include some that only offered preselected layout options.

[logos link to websites]





Standard size cards only but available w/ rounded corners and satin coating (the cardstock and satin coating are really nice, I have seen samples)  They will send you a sample set.  






Fun booklet tear-off business cards.  You have the option to print different things on each card in booklet and you can design the booklet cover.





Print business cards with up to 50 images (great for cards displaying product) also have “mini” cards if you have small hands 🙂





Three sizes of standard cards with custom sizes available. Gloss or satin coatings available as well as 4 standard  die-cut options.

Global printing company, prints international standard and US standard sized cards as well as custom size options available. Spot UV, hole punching, rounded corners, hot stamping, diecutting and folding options available.





Standard business card size only but with options of matte, glossy finish.  Foil option also available. Visit for a 25% discount.






Standard business card size only.  UV coating available. I believe custom options are available but I am not sure how limited they are.





Standard card size. Free gloss or matte coating and rounded corners available.





Standard card size but custom sizes are available. Paper stock available in glossy or matte. Stock die-cuts, rounded corners, custom cuts plus foil stamping, UV coating, folding also available.






Standard card size with rounded corners. Cards are availble in clear, frosted and solid plastic with single or double sided printing.




Standard sized cards in .010 thick stainless steel is standard.  Regular steel, brass, copper are available as well as other thicknesses if you feel the need to use them as a weapon.  Graphics are photoetched into the metal.  Laser cutting is available as well. 


Studio On Fire

Custom letterpress cards.  They offer custom presswork to individual designers. Other options available are die cutting, matrix scoring, stock duplexing, and edge coloring.

Again, many thanks to people listed below for the links:














10 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2009 5:16 pm

    Nice post – I would only add as a veteran of collecting business cards at trade shows, that there are several potential problems out there I have noticed when a designer gets “too” creative: 1) make the card a normal size. I have seen many an odd size and they are just inconvenient and tend to get left behind, lost, etc. not noticed more! 2) make sure the essential information you want to convey is on the card so you don’t have to feel like a schmuck all over again by writing it on the card; ie, email address, web address, phone, fax and perhaps your regular mailing address. There is nothing more unprofessional than having to cross out info and add info on a card, so don’t get more than you need printed. Printing is quick and cheap so if anything changes, reprint them!

  2. March 24, 2009 5:27 pm

    Thanks John,
    All very good points. I agree with you on the custom size. I try to keep it within a typical size (never larger and not too small) I enjoy die-cutting, varnishing, etc when done well but also tend to prefer the more understated and clever cards. Great points on the information and quantities.

  3. Cade Long permalink
    March 24, 2009 9:52 pm

    I’m sure your card will be reflective of your sunny personality and innovative mind.

  4. louisg99 permalink
    March 31, 2009 12:40 pm

    hey, thanks for the tweet love. I recommend Overnight Prints and Moo…

  5. March 31, 2009 6:27 pm

    Hey Chris,
    Nice post… seems like a lot of time ISN’T lost thinking about the design of the very first thing you give to a potential client. If you’re new in the business and ‘networking’ still remains something you do with friends in the pub, there’s no need for a fancy card. Heck you can probably use a sheet of toilet paper and get away with it.

    But when business starts to flow, you don’t know all your customers like your first. You spend more and more time meeting with clients, trying to get your name out. Than you’re absolutely right you shouldn’t use something ‘standard’.

    Don’t agree with John though. You don’t have to have normalized measurements or use all the information you need on the card. If you do this, people have no reason to call you again. I still have a great card from a representative of Ben&Jerry’s. His job title was ‘nICE guy’. Great. I remembered his card when I needed a icecream sponsor…


  6. April 2, 2009 10:26 am

    Great points Tom! Love the Ben & Jerry’s tag line 🙂
    I agree with your thinking on the non-standard card especially if you are wanting to portray a creative company.
    I also agree with you on the normalized measurements but would add it depends on the client. While as a designer, I would like to implement this type of thinking and approach in all projects, I have had a great amount of exposure to both sides of the business world (creative vs. non-creative). A company’s target markets and typical clientele all need to be considered before pushing the limits too far in some cases.
    Thanks for the comment!

  7. April 2, 2009 8:09 pm

    well done! I need to get some biz cards, too.

  8. Sarah permalink
    April 17, 2009 9:27 am

    This is a great article. I especially love my Moo mini cards, they’re so handy to have. The great part about them is that they’re a non-standard size so stand out a little bit, but they are smaller than standard cards so they fit into holders and organizers, etc. and don’t stick out awkwardly.


  1. Ignertia

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