08 March 2013

Design-it-Yourself {DIY} Life: How to Make Beautiful Business Cards

Some people think business cards are antiquated...with Linkedin, Twitter...or any other social media platform. I don't agree. There is something about colorful printed paper that I love! Being naturally inclined to being creative, I can only think of one time in my professional life, that I did not make my own business cards (however I did design them with a graphic artist...& my logo). Nonetheless, I love making my own business cards! They are a statement piece in my opinion. They tell a lot about their owner (or should I say "giver", because you want to give them out). Making business cards are easier then you think. Just follow a few simple rules.

1. Work off a good template until you get experience designing your own. The above cards I made with a Microsoft Publisher template. Find good templates for your computer's platform. A template will give you a starting design point. Plus when you print your cards, it will give you lines to follow when cutting them out.

2. Modify the template. What I mean by that is change the colors of the template to suit your aesthetic or your brand's aesthetic  (i.e. your business colors). Change the font to one that you like, that also captures your style.

3. Make sure you give all the necessary information. "Necessary information" will vary from person to person. A freelancer who works from home might not put her address on her business cards. But she would certainly want to put her telephone & email contact information. If someone has a bricks & mortar store they will probably want the address of the store, phone number & maybe store hours.

4. Add a brief description of what you do. Your description can be as simple as "Caterer." Or your description can be a little more detailed like mine above.

5. Make the font varying sizes & always readable. The largest font size should be your name. Then maybe the next largest are your title or description. You may want to make smaller sizes your contact information. But never make the smallest font so small that someone would be straining to read it.

6. Make sure there is enough white space. White space is exactly what is sounds like. It is blank space within the card. If you don't have enough blank space, your business card will be cluttered. If you have too much white space, I think it looks odd. How much white space you have when designing your card will depend on your style. But have someone look over a proof to get their opinion.

7. Get sturdy stock paper for your cards & print them on a nice printer. I use what is called "classic natural white" (cream really)  paper with a linen finish that has a 28.76 weight. I get my paper from a specialty paper store here in my city called Xpedx. This is not a stationary store. They specialize in papers & printing for businesses. If you are new to choosing paper for your business cards ask the professional that works at the paper store. That's what I did at first. Some weights of paper will be too thick for your home printer...so you should find that out before purchasing any stock. Print your cards on a good printer. You don't need a laser printer, an ink jet will work fine (that's what I use). Just make sure it is good at printing images & color. Our home printer is an Epson which specializes in printing images.

8. Print at least two proofs on plain paper first. Proof for spelling and grammar. Proof for style. Proof for white space. Make sure to have someone else look at your proof. They will see things you will not.

9. Don't let perfect get in the way of good. My husband told me this years ago. But I did not adopt it as a motto until about two years ago. I used to be a terrible perfectionist in everything (now it's limited). Nothing is perfect. No, your business card should not have spelling mistakes. But if a tiny bit of ink smudges so be it.

10. Make your cards for you. Handing out business cards can sometimes be hard enough. But if you don't love them it's even harder. If you love them you want to the world to see them because your proud of your design, & you should be.

I've gotten so many complements from my homemade business cards, it's hard for me to even think of having them designed & made by someone else. Usually if you do it yourself, it's so much more creative & people notice. Not everything purchased is better if you take the time to do it well!

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