The Business of Business Cards round 2

As you might have seen last week, I had to whip up my own business cards before heading to The Cream Event. For under $10, using card stock and my (awful) home printer, they turned out pretty fab. But, I’m going to the AIGA Y-Conference for designers in San Diego later this month, and homemade cards just aren’t going to cut it (at least not those cards). So I’ve been doing some research into the different types of business cards, pricing, and where I can get them done online and I thought I’d share what I’ve found so far.

Letterpress was my first choice. There’s something magical about printing on super thick stock and actually being able to feel the indentation (i.e., the “pressed” letters) on your cards. However, the costs are a wee bit out of my price range right now. Even considering that it’s a business investment, I’m too fickle about my card designs to want to spend $200+ on cards right now.

Digital is the technique most commonly used by companies like vistaprint because it’s cheap and fast in terms of turnaround. Depending on the complexity of a design and the quality of your paper, you can still get a pretty fab looking card… but again, it depends pretty heavily on the design and the paper. These cards can range from free (using vista print, though I don’t recommend going that route) to ~25-50 per 200 cards. Digital printers include: vistaprint, overnightprints, gotprints, and many others! Personally, I’d recommend OvernightPrints if you go the digital route- I’ve been super happy with their services and they package cards in 25-ct blister packs, which is handy dandy!

Offset is the next “step” up, and can be done on materials other the just paper (incl wood, metal, plastic, etc.). However, it’s a slower turnaround and shorter runs have higher per-item costs because of the setup costs involved. These tend to be in the $35-60 range for 200-250 cards, depending on the desired time frame and paper/color (both sides colored, 1 side colored, or b/w).

“Luxe”– has recently introduced a line of what they call “luxe” cards. The biggest differentiating factors here are 1) paper weight (32 pt, whereas overnight prints is 16pt, got prints is 14-16pt, etc.) and 2) the internal “seam” of color, which gives the impression of edge-painting. These run $110 for 200 ($190 for 400 is the next quantity up), so definitely more pricey but less than letterpress.


As for printers, there’s a wide range of options, from small mom and pop operations, to the online options listed above. For now, I think I’ll be going with OvernightPrints and doing the offset route if at all possible, and making sure that whatever design I do will look good flat-printed (vs. letterpressed). I’m curious, though- are there options you’ve found that I’ve managed to overlook? It seems like getting flat printed cards on a higher quality paper (without moving up to silk or cotton) isn’t really an option- which is a bummer!


disclaimer: affiliate links are used in this post. <3


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0 thoughts on “The Business of Business Cards round 2”

  1. Lillian @ Elle The Heiress

    You could totally letterpress your own with the Lifestyle Crafts home letterpress. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it isn’t too hard to figure out. I think it produces great results, but you may be pickier than I am. =)

    1. Ooh, I’ll have to look into that. When I was working at PaperSource there was a home letterpress machine but it was AWFUL to work with. I’d love to get a Gocco and do my own that way but I think they stopped making them (and that’s a bit of an investment there, too.) It also doesn’t help that I don’t really have a kitchen table to do any of this on, ha.

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