Business Card Printing (A little OT I think)

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by Earendil, Jun 21, 2007.

  1. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #1
    I'm sure this is off topic for this board, but I figured you guys would know the answer none the less. So sorry and thanks in advance.

    I'm an advanced amateur photographer that is getting approached with jobs more and more. I feel it would be beneficial to me as well as any future clients if I stepped up and made a business card. I'm feeling okay about designing the card myself (though I'll be sure to ask y'all for advice) but what I really don't know is how to go about getting it made/printed, or where the best place is. I live in a very small town, with the next major city being 90 minutes away. Visiting a physical storefront is possible, it's not something I can spend an entire day and $40 in gas jumping around trying to find a place that does what I need. That, and I'm unfamiliar with many mainstream businesses and what they offer due to being in a small town, so this may sound like a really dumb question to most of you :eek:

    In case it makes a difference in the advise I get:
    1. start up amateur business. I'm not impressing million dollar clients, I just need my info on a piece of paper that doesn't look like printer paper cutouts
    2. I live in a small town.
    3. I don't need 1000 cards, somewhere in the 50-100 would be more than enough. If bulk ordering is an issue, this should be taken into account.
    4. I suppose an option for nicer paper might be good, but my intended clients are mostly outdoor sports athletes, and thus having a business card be from a type of stock that holds up well to abuse may be a benefit.

    ...I don't even know what types of places do this sort of job. :confused: :(

    Thanks for any and all advice!
    ~Tyler
     
  2. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #2
    Here's a source I use for top quality business cards.
    I have ordered numerous jobs through this printing company and the quality is always excellent.
    You'll need to register to have access to wholesale pricing and templates.

    http://www.beta.4over.com/

    1000, full color (4/1) cards, on glossy 16pt cardstock(very heavy card stock) with UV coating; $24.00 + shipping.
    Artwork is printed at 350ppi/200lpi(very clean raster text)
    You can choose to include black print on the back of the card for no extra charge. Color on the back is extra.

    I'm positive you will not find a better looking card anywhere, and certainly not at the prices they offer.
     
  3. oscuh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #3
    Holy Geez! And I thought OvernightPrints.com had great pricing!!
     
  4. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #4
    Snicker, thanks for the response!
    I am curious about their "application" policy. I don't want to misrepresent myself as a costumer, but I also don't want to look like some high school student doing a school project or some other irrelevant activity. What has your experience been like in this regard?
     
  5. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #5
    I experienced no problems establishing myself as a trade customer.
    Nor did the process seem overly intrusive. (they not appear to require proof that I am a commercial artist)
    If asked, simply tell the truth about your business. I'm sure it will be fine.
     
  6. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #6
    Awesome man, thank you so much for you time and assistance.
    I think that about wraps up this thread, unless someone comes along with something else :)

    And I'm just noticing you name would be better shortened to "Snickel" not "Snicker" :eek:

    Thanks Snickel :)

    ~Earendil
     
  7. hsotnicaM macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #7
    If you have the software to create a card and you have an office supply place handy, you can always print them yourself.
     
  8. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #8
    My reaction as well... too bad I'm in Australia.
     
  9. oscuh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #9
    BLASPHEMY! Home/office printed business cards look like ... well, like they were printed at home!
     
  10. hsotnicaM macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #10
    Not if you know what you're doing. ;)
     
  11. shecky Guest

    shecky

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    #11
    just to give a little perspective, as far as i am concerned there are 4 types of production for business cards:

    1. offset: expensive but true professional printing. i just got a client 500 cards on good cardstock paper printed 2/1 (2 colors on the front, one color on the back) for about $350 delivered and they look great.

    2. letterpress: expensive but unique and really memorable, looks very impressive if done well. done by smaller printers as its a specialty job. usually text only and limited to what the printer has for hot type; you would need to talk to the printer before even starting to think about designing the card.

    3. digital one-off. this is what the links above do. cheap as hell and in my opinion, looks it too, regardless of what others may say. however for non-design savvy clients this may be the best way to get something to hand out until you can get "real" cards printed. i have had cards printed from postcards.com using this technique and it is what i would refer to as a "cost-centric" way of getting something done, instead of "quality-centric." its basically an inkjet print and looks like it too. especially bad in small text (fuzzy, etc..)

    4. alternative methods, including things like silkscreened cards (which you can actually do yourself for a lot less $ than you think), photographs as cards, etc. i know a client who got a photo of his developed on wallet-size photo paper with a blank back, and then got a Staples rubber stamp he applied by hand to the back of each card with his name, phone and email. while not necessarily the most professional way to make a business card, uniqueness does count.
     
  12. hsotnicaM macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    #12
    I like option 4. Not too expensive and will actually look nice. Of course, he does live in a small town.
     
  13. bexster macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    #13
    If its for your photo services, then why not get some actual photos printed with your details photoshopped on?! It makes it a bit different from the norm and will might do your photos more justice than if you use an cheaper/home/ inferior printing technique. thats assuming you'd use one of your images on your card?

    Many photo printing sites in the uk offer first 60 prints free (photobox through amazon) when you join up, so you can get what you need without paying a penny.

    The other option could be moo cards (www.moo.com) they do funky half sized business cards - and you can put a different image on each one, with your details on the back.
     
  14. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor

    WildCowboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2005
    #14
    I used overnightprints.com...partly because I didn't need a lot of cards and was able to get 100 for $9.99. Most other places had a higher minimum order to get a decent price. 1000 cards for $24.99 isn't as good a deal if I only expect to use <100 of them.

    I must say that I was very impressed with overnightprints.com's product...glossy finish was nice and the card stock was nice and thick.

    Simple and straightforward, and very professional looking.
     
  15. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #15
    Wallet sized prints could work... I figured that the text may be hard to read unless I fade the image enough. Also, I don't know how well photo papers stands up to dirt and water. I'd think it'd smear easier, but maybe not.
    I also probably need to be able to write on them.
     
  16. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #16
    I'm surprised at the negativity regarding digital printing.
    Have any of the detractors actually seen the quality of the printing from 4over.com?
    My clients are all extremely happy with the products I've had printed using this process. Many are astonished at the price for such quality.
    Of all the business cards in my largish collection, those printed at 4over are among the nicest in terms of finish, clarity and paper stock weight.

    IMO, offset printing offers several distinct advantages over digital:
    • Selection of custom paperstocks.
    • Printing of duotones and rich blacks *might be* superior.
    • printing varnishes.
    • Printing PMS spot colors. (although 4over offers PMS silver as an option)
    • Very large volume is more economical and reliable. (100,000, 100 page magazines for example)

    It also offers some distinct disadvantages:
    • Prepress is more complicated and time consuming.
    • film negatives must be proofed prior to production. (anyone else here ever proof negs on a light table?)
    • Precise registration and correct screen angles are absolutely necessary.
    • Cost for short runs is WAY beyond the means of most small businesses.
    • there is virtually no profit margin for brokering. (unless Microsoft is your client LOL)

    Let's see, I have 10 realtor clients that need color business cards; do I want to spend $240.00 for 4/1 or $3500 for 2/1? Hmm...

    More expensive and complex does not automatically equal "better".
    4 color offset printing still has its place though, (corporate annual reports might be a good example) but it's simply not economically viable for any short-run product that I can think of.
    There is absolutely no visible difference in detail or quality of the printed color. (4 point raster text is legible at 350ppi/200lpi; 8 point raster text is indistinguishable from vector text without a loupe)
    It is decidedly NOT similar to PCL inkjet output, nor is it "fuzzy" or visibly "cheap as hell" in way shape or form!

    To be fair, I have used a few online digital printing companies in the past that produced sub-par prints; "neon" colors and very poor overall color accuracy, gradients that abruptly cut off at 10%, sloppy cropping tolerances, cheezy paper stock, etc...
    This is nothing like the products online companies like 4over and imagers are currently producing, but I can understand how digital printing might have acquired a bad rap with designers.
    Photoshop User magazine usually has a 4over ad with a fly-out postcard actually printed using their process. Speaks a thousand words.

    GL
     
  17. Toppa G's macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Location:
    The exurbs, MN
    #17
    I was scanning through this thread and felt the need to throw my 2 cents in. I work for a commercial printing company that utilizes both offset and digital presses and have a solid background on the way the process works.

    • In both the offset and digital worlds, there are tons of stocks from which to choose. Granted, toner-based digital presses do have limitations, but we have had great success running a number of different types of stock digitally, from uncoated smooth to textured to gloss and dull coated.
    • Digital presses do struggle with large solids (not just black). One of the most frequent issues is banding (lighter stripes through the solid area). For large, color-critical solids, offset has the benefit of being able to use a double-hit (two units with the exact same image on the plate) to produce smooth, even solids without any hickeys.
    • Some digital presses do have "coatings" available, ranging from a clear layer of toner in a 5th imaging unit to a glossy UV-esque coating that is applied offline.
    • Color-matching can prove to be a challenge on a digital press. However, an experienced operator should be able to match color fairly closely. It does hold true that some PMS colors are impossible to replicate on a digital press using 4-color process.
    • Digital is usually reserved for short-run, variable piece work. However, the ability of a digital press to print variable images from sheet to sheet make it attractive for one-to-one marketing opportunities, which can reach into the hundreds of thousands or more in piece count.
    • Offset prepress can be very straightforward. It is perfectly reasonable for a job to be received in-house, imposed, proofed, and plated within a matter of hours.
    • Negatives are rarely used in today's print market. Platesetters generally burn the image directly from the imposed file to the printing plate. Many shops use wide-format inkjet printers to proof a job, so they can check that the layout on the press sheet is accurate. This also ensures that no part of the file is altered before plating, since the same imposed file can be directed to the platesetter.
    • Registration and screen angle issues have effectively been eliminated in sheetfed offset printing. If a sheetfed offset job is out of register, someone isn't paying very close attention, since automatic adjustments on modern presses and direct-imaged printing plates (ensuring consistent image placement from plate to plate) make printing out of register difficult. The platesetter also uses the correct screen angles automatically. (Note: web printed catalogs and the like can fall out of register very quickly since they run a web of paper at thousands of feet per minute).
    • Short run offset printing is generally cost-prohibitive for small budgets. However, there are smart printers out there who gang business card jobs and the like to reduce the cost per job. Places like 4over.com have developed imposition technology to make ganging jobs simple and very cost-efficient.

    This deserves repeating. If a product is printed with a decent operator on a digital press, the quality will be far superior to inkjet and should not be fuzzy.
    :eek: <climbs quietly off soapbox and disappears back into the shadows>
     
  18. Mike Teezie macrumors 68020

    Mike Teezie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2002
    #18
    Here's my card:

    [​IMG]

    I use White House Custom Color. It's great because you can order in quantities of 50, for $12. I like the change the images on the back of my card a good deal, so that's great for me.
     
  19. Earendil thread starter macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #19
    Mike, nice card!

    I don't have much else to say, just wanted to say that ;-)


    Actually, I do. I love black far more than white as far as my backgrounds go for just about anything. How well do each of the different processes do with black? Does anyone have any experience?
     

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