Creative Frugality: Tips for Printing Your Own Custom Business Cards

It hurts, doesn’t it?

You lay down good money for something and then realize after the fact that you could have done at least as good a job yourself – for less money even. Well, here’s how to turn the tables on commercially-available business cards and make your own.

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Stock Up On Ink

If you’re low on black or color ink, you can replace Canon ink cartridges pretty easily through an online ink supplier. Use refills or off-label brands to save money.

Ink is probably your biggest cost in self-printing, so if you can reduce the cost, do it. Check with the ink manufacturer or the supplier, about how many prints you’ll get from a cartridge. If you’ll be printing a large run of business cards, ask specifically about high volume cartridges. These cost a little more than regular ones, but they print a lot more – it’s a great deal in other words.

Buy The Card Stock

Get your card stock from either a local paper mill or from an office supply store that sources their paper from high-quality mills. Look for clean-cut edges, not the perforated ones. Perforated edges scream “amateur” – not exactly what you want to convey to prospects.

With a clean edge, you’ll get the same cut as a professional print shop. And, if you have to clean it up, and ultrafine grit sandpaper can be used on stacks of cards (as a last resort). But, ideally, you won’t need to go quite that far.

Work With Blank Templates Or Make Your Own

Use a business card template if you can. It will make your life so much easier. If you’re working on an Apple computer, good news: Apple makes some of the prettiest and most professional-looking templates you can find. And, they’re free.

If you’re using a PC, you can still get decent-looking templates. Some of the better ones will cost you a little bit of money though.

Try to find a template you don’t have to alter too much. If it fits the style of your business, and feels right, you should only have to make minor adjustments to the color and look of the card.

As for information, most businesses these days include the physical address, the web address, phone number, and maybe the fax number if your business is one that still uses faxes. Otherwise, include your email.

Print Out Your Cards

When you’re ready to print, make sure everything is oriented properly. This will make the difference between cards that look awesome and cards that look awesomely bad. Surprisingly, a lot of professional print shops have trouble with this, printing out bad runs. Most of them don’t make it to the customer’s door, because they catch it and rerun the batch.

But, occasionally you do see this. It’s  known problem when printing and the fix isn’t more technology or better ink. It’s patience. Take the time to properly align your sheets before you print.

John Sollars started his printer cartridge supplier company in 2002 which is committed to paper recycling schemes. He enjoys sharing his printing insights online.