Having an attractive, stylish business card can make or break any networking attempt. Your business card reflects you, and should make as lasting and positive an impression as your handshake and resume. One problem, though, is that getting professionally-designed and printed business cards can get expensive – which isn’t always ideal if you need to keep expenses low.
Fortunately, modern technology makes printing your own business cards at home easy! You just need a printer, cardstock, and a good design program. Keep these tips in mind while creating your business card.
The writing on your card makes up the most important design aspect, and the two most important elements are content and presentation.
Content consists of what your card says. A good business card includes your full professional name, at least two types of contact information, and your company and job title (if applicable). Depending on your industry, a few other pieces of content you may want to include are: links or QR codes to an online portfolio, a website, or ways to connect to your social media. If your company has a physical address, include that as well.
Presentation reflects how it all looks. Your name should draw the most attention, with the other elements spaced out enough to be readable. Fonts should be stylish and legible, especially from a distance. Sans-Serif fonts generally give your card a cleaner, more polished look, so only use a Serif font if absolutely necessary. Check out some cool professional fonts here.
Don’t forget the color and contrast, either. The days of black or grey ink on white paper are over. Utilize some color theory basics to ensure your card really pops! If possible, choose colors that evoke your business or industry; such as pink and green for a florist or bright primary colors for a children’s party planner.
Logos, useful for building your personal brand, are great to put on the obverse of your business card. They do a lot of work tying your business card, resume, social media, and website together.
Logos don’t have to be elaborate or detailed. Start with your initials or company name and play around with different ways to stylize them. Add a little texture or shading, or maybe some mild distortion. Then add a basic shape, like a square or oval, as a background or framing, and make sure the colors stay on-theme.
Now that you’ve got your business card laid out in your graphic design program, think about what physical materials you want to use. Obviously, you don’t want to print your business card out on a flimsy printer paper. Not only will that not make a good impression, but the paper also won’t stand up to being put into pockets, purses, or wallets. You’ll want to print your business card out on durable cardstock.
To pick the right type of cardstock, check the make and model of your home printer. Each printer has a maximum weight it can accept. Most types of home printers use ink-jets to print, which means unless you know for sure you have a different type of printer, look for uncoated, textured card stock. Most office supply stores keep basic cardstock on hand but check out craft stores for more colorful options.
And don’t forget to get the right kind of ink! If you are looking for an environmentally-friendly and inexpensive alternative to pricey toner cartridges, look into remanufactured ink cartridges. These usually cost just a fraction of brand-name cartridges and perform just as well.
Make sure to double-check that you’re purchasing the right type of remanufactured ink cartridge for your printer’s make and model. If you looking to save cost, yet get high-quality products, check out Yoyoink, they not only sell exact match quality remanufactured ink cartridges but also ship it for free.
The ink cartridges can contribute to the cost and finding the right one can save a lot of bucks. For example, the Canon CLI-42 Ink Cartridge; These are compatible high yield ink cartridges at a fraction of traditional OEM cartridges and can save a lot of money yet deliver the exact same quality and its perfect for printing cards at home.
Now that you have everything assembled, it’s time to print out your cards! Start by printing out a bare-bones, black and white copy. You can use printer paper for this. Check that the sizing and layout is correct, and also that any logos are pointed in the right direction. Make any adjustments you need, then print another test copy until you’re satisfied.
Then print out a full sample on your real cardstock. Be careful when the paper first comes out of the printer, as the ink may need a minute or two to fully dry. Like with the first test, make sure everything looks just like you want: the paper takes the ink well, the contrast is good, and all elements are where they should be.
Lastly, cutting! If you have a steady hand, just use some scissors. A paper cutter can save your wrist if you’re making a lot of cards at once. Some paper manufacturers offer pre-cut business card templates; the drawback is you usually can only purchase them in white.
And you’re done! Admire your handiwork, and go network with confidence!