Business Card Options to Fit Your Style and Budget

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Ah, here I am writing about the beauty of print again.

It seems I just can’t get away from my love of it! Must be because I’m so into arts and crafts, and designing gorgeous graphics + seeing them brought to life on the paper is akin to a handicraft of sorts.

Either way, today I’m delighted to share with you the best business card printing processes, inks, and papers to fit your style and budget.letterpress lovelies Because there are so many ways to make yours unique, and you should know what your options are!

By the way, even though I’m focusing on business cards here, many of these methods can apply to other things too… like promotional postcards…invitations to your grand opening party…or whatever you have in mind!

Maximize a Tight Budget

  • “Flat” or plain print: This is by far the most basic, and least expensive option. There are no fancy papers or embellishments, usually just your choice of matte vs. glossy (TIP: gloss makes your cards look more snazzy and professional!). Local print shops and online print companies like UPrinting offer this service.
  • Thermography (raised print): A super inexpensive option to dress up business cards that are printed on matte paper. It barely adds any cost at all, but the raised print effect (achieved by dusting a special powder onto wet ink, and heat-treating it) gives the otherwise plain card a nice “pop” of texture.

Bring Out the Femininity/Luxuriousness

  • Letterpress: Perhaps the most fanciful and luxurious (but also labor-intensive and expensive) printing method out there. It’s a centuries-old printmaking process, which just over the last decade or two has become especially popular for business cards and also for wedding invitations.

Glitz & Glamour (More Boldness, Less Frills)

  • Metallic Foil Stamping: This process lays down metallic foil on the card, resulting in a very New site, new branding. New cards.eye-catching and even drool-inducing look.
  • Pearlescent Paper: An easy way to amp up the glitz in your business cards, is by having them printed on some pearlescent (shimmery) paper!
  • Glitter: Did you know you can have glitter applied to your business cards? Enough said.

Get Back to Nature/Eco-Friendly Options

  • 100% Recycled Paper: There are lots of these to choose from; everything from bright white to browns and tans that really look like they belong under the “tree-hugger” category.
  • Bamboo: Yes, you can even have a slice of bamboo laser-etched to use as a business card, or you can have cards printed on paper made of bamboo. Talk about eco-conscious!

Industrial/Modern/Sleek Cards

    Pure Metal Cards Stainless Steel Card

  • Plastic Cards: Literally, a piece of milky-translucent or completely transparent plastic that’s printed on. Pretty cool!
  • Metal Cards: A thin sheet of metal, printed or laser-etched; the end result being a very industrial, slick, polished look.

Offbeat Biz Card Alternatives

  • Printed Objects: Matchbooks, letter openers, you name it…if it’s printable, and small enough to pass out like you would business cards, you can use it as a business card substitute. Word to the wise, though: Choose an object that correlates with your business (like, say you teach camping safety seminars to scout troops and other wannabe adventurers; what better than a matchbook to promote your biz, and help them build a campfire!).

So now you know! Seriously, you have so many options to make your business card fantastic, and zero excuses for toting around a mediocre card that doesn’t do your biz justice.

Questions? Leave me a comment below, or shoot me an e-mail: barbara [at] sweetdreamzdesign [dot] com. 🙂

Letterpress card photo by Sarah Parrott via Flickr (CC).
Metallic foil card photo by eston via Flickr (CC).
Metal card photo by Pure Metal Cards via Flickr (CC).

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About Barbara Austin

As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!

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