Avoid Printing Cheap-Looking Business Cards

March 4, 2010

A business card is like a handshake. It's part of the first impression folks get when they meet you. You don't want your handshake to be too weak and floppy, nor do you want an intense Arnold Schwarzenegger-like squeeze. And forget putting both of your hands around the other person's hands - a.k.a the hand-sandwich - it's just too creepy.

When it comes to business cards, the same handshake rules pretty much apply.

A business card will flop if the paper stock is flimsy and the type is too small, light or hard to read. Business cards also self-destruct when they go overboard with heavy-handed designs that look outdated or distract from what it is the person or business does. To avoid cheap-looking or ineffective color business cards, follow these three tips belows;

1. Choose a reliable printer

I once thought I could create my own business cards for my freelance writing business, using a calligraphy pen and some blank card stock from the stationery store. Boy was I wrong! The cards came out looking like a 5-year old made them and became more of a joke than an actual business promotion. Get in touch with your trusted print vendor, to be sure that the printing and paper quality meet your expectations. The best printers will also offer design and printing advice to help make your card a success. Always ask for a digital proof before the cards are printed to avoid embarrassing typos and graphic design mishaps.

2. Make the paper work for you

For a firm business card that won't seem cheap or flimsy when you hand it out, choose a 12-point paper thickness or higher. Most printers will offer matte and glossy or coated paper stocks. Think about your company's logo, the font you're using and whether or not you'll be doing a black-and-white or color business card. All of these factors can help you determine whether a glossy or matte finish will look best. If you want to get creative, use die cuts to enhance the card's design and make it stand out. Some companies will round the edges of their cards or just round one edge for a unique feel. If the company name begins with a "V," the business card could also feature a V-shaped die cut on one of the edges, to underscore the company name.

3. Don't forget to sell!

If you work for a Fortune 500 company or a brand that everyone knows, it's acceptable to simply put your company name, title and contact information on the business card. However, if you are a freelancer or part of a small business, it's vital to include as much information as possible about what you do and what services your business offers. Include a tagline that describes your company, or be sure that your title actually describes what you do to help customers. Don't be afraid to use the real estate on the back of the card as well. It can be a great place to put a short customer testimonial, list links to all of your social media assets or feature a list of all your available products or services.

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What is the PsPrint Blog??

The PsPrint Blog is a resource for graphic designers, freelancers, small business owners and fans of print marketing. You'll find helpful techniques on printing everything there is to print, including business cards, postcards, brochures, stickers, invitations, greeting cards, door hangers, magnets and more. The PsPrint Blog shares creative ways to improve your design and layout skills, and useful tips for marketing your business in any medium. We also like to have a little fun, sharing design inspiration and spotlighting some our favorite customers' printed pieces in our "Hot Off the Press" series.