In the digital landscape of the modern business world, the idea of entrepreneurs handing out business cards can seem a little quaint.
However, while the sentiment of a recent Forbes poll suggests that the business card is something of a traditional networking tool, most business leaders agree that it still remains a valuable one.
With this in mind, we've compiled a brief guide on how to create a business card that will make a positive impact on your potential clients and partners. After all, even though much of the world's business has gone online, you still need to maintain a credible and professional persona in the flesh, too.
Options for Business Card Design
Ultimately, the path to designing your business card is going to be determined by your budget. Here are some of the different available options, as well as how much you should expect to spend on each:
- Do It Yourself – If you have the design skills and a high-quality printer, you can make your cards in house. The only costs will be for ink and paper.
- Online Design Service – These are the services you will see when you search for business card design. They cost anywhere from $10 to $100 and can deliver cards to you within the week.
- Local Printer – Every major metropolitan area has a high-quality print shop that you can hire to print your business cards. Personalised, local services such as this will cost in the range of $100 to $500.
- Design Contest – Holding an online design contest will give you a wealth of options to choose from. Service costs vary, so you can expect to spend anywhere from $200 to $1,000 for a final design.
- Freelance Designer - Hiring an independent graphic designer can be a great way to get outside input on your card. You can find freelancers online for between and $200 and $600, while more experienced freelancers charge between $500 to $1,000.
- Design Studio – If your budget allows it, you can enlist an agency to design your business cards from the ground up. Expect prices to start around $2,000 for this service.
Each of these methods has its own set of pros and cons, which we will explore more closely.
Do It Yourself
Nothing fits the aesthetic of the modern entrepreneur more than designing your own business card at home, for free. Furthermore, the negligible costs of the endeavour make it that much more appealing – if you have access to high-quality card stock and a good printer, you're ready to go.
However, a business card is a permanent, physical reminder of your business for clients. As such, you need to be sure that you are going to be able to create a premium finished product. A standard printer isn't going to achieve this, and an amateurish looking card is likely to drive away more business than it will ever bring in.
If you are confident in the tools and skills you have available, then go ahead and make your own. However, if not, it's advisable to consider one of the other options available.
Online Design Service
These easy to find, template-based online design services are a reliable, low-cost option for creating a business card. Most feature an easy to use interface that will show you how to get all the information you want on the card, add an image or logo and edit the colour scheme to fit your branding. These services have access to high-quality printing services, and by supplying in bulk, can keep costs to a minimum. It is unusual to have to spend more than $100 for 1,000 cards from these services.
However, the fact that these companies depend on bulk business means that, while undoubtedly professional, the finished article won't stand out from the crowd. If you are in a competitive field, your card may end up in a stack of lookalikes and fail to grab the attention that you need it to.
Finding a local print shop that can design a card is another option if you are on a minimal budget. By enlisting a printing company, you can get personalised input from a dedicated provider, who will ensure that your cards are printed professionally and can supply you with more whenever you need them.
However, printshops are not design services. You can expect a professional-looking card, but not anything flashy. That said, spending less than $500 for a dependable business card that can be adopted for use by your entire company is always going to be money well spent.
If you are willing to spend a little more online, a design contest can bring you designs that you wouldn't have ever considered. A design contest is a service hosted by an online card printer that sends your card to a variety of independent designers, each of whom will submit a design for your approval.
Of course, this gives you a lot of options to choose from. However, you won't have much input on the process, and, if you are not happy with any of the designs, you are still stuck with the bill. While some entrepreneurs are happy to roll the dice, spending up to $1,000 on a product that might not work in the long run is too big of a risk for others.
Finding a freelance designer to develop your business card is a solid mid-to-high budget option. By hiring a freelancer, you can be confident that your design is in professional hands and that the process will be much more collaborative than using a design contest service.
You will have the chance to explain your vision for your card to a freelancer, and there should be a healthy back and forth so that you can evaluate their input. Furthermore, you will have a better chance to request changes after the final product is presented to you.
The most important thing to keep in mind when hiring a freelancer is that you will get what you pay for. While there is plenty of talent on online freelancing markets willing to work for under $500, top-tier designers might require a little more work to locate - and will likely cost between $500 and $1,000, too.
If you have the money to spend, hiring a professional design studio will get you the highest quality business card you can expect. When you hire a studio, you bring the full focus of a team of professionals to bear on your card.
The price is at a premium - often around at $2,500 for a single card - but the results speak for themselves. You can expect multiple options presented with a full case study so to why each is the most effective in its own way.
The biggest downside of using a design studio (outside of the high cost), is that it often takes a significant amount of time. Because there is an entire team working together on your card, it usually takes weeks to see any considerable progress. If you need a card right away, a lower-cost solution might be better.
Once you know how to create a business card, you can make a quick impression on new customers and contacts that will help your company grow.
Don’t forget to take a look at our guide on how to create a business logo, too!
Do you know any other ways of making business cards? Let us know in the comment section below.