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New year, new business cards? Business card printer comparison

When considering your next batch of business cards, this business card printer comparison might come in handy, but remember: each experience is unique, make your own judgment call.

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If you can identify and agree with the movie quote, “Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark!” then the chances of you being a business card lover are extremely high. Although we bring you tips of how to use technology in lieu of a business card (if that is your preference), we are still very much in love with the tangibility of business cards.

If you and I have ever met in person and you’ve handed me your business card, I still have it. I have an entire drawer of business cards I’ve collected for my entire career, and it’s a place I go frequently to recall people because I associate their business card with them personally. Sometimes I remember the color, other times the thickness, the size, the finish, or the logo, but it’s a visual reminder for me. Do I judge people by their business card? Yes. Is it on purpose? No, I grew up with a graphic designer art snob of a father. Am I a snob about it? No, I just remember the sexy cards more than the unsexy cards, it’s not personal.

For our own business cards (which we happily pay full price for), we use a custom printer in Austin and Moo.com and we change our cards every year. Most people these days use online printers and sometimes don’t know what they’re getting for the money, so we’ve located the best comparison chart in history (well maybe not, but it’s our favorite) so you know what you’re getting for what purpose.

Business card printer comparison

Tell us in comments what printer you use and which you may consider after looking at the chart below:

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Jared Tafua

    November 14, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Thanks for sharing this awesome article, I’ve always used VistaPrints for my cards, but this gives a great break down of which companies would be best for each type of business card I’d like to produce in the future.

  2. Melissa Zavala

    November 14, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    Lani: I laughed when I saw the chart about checkout. I have purchased a few things from Vista Print, and you are correct about the checkout being excruciating! You can also end up with other stuff in your shopping cart if you are not very careful!

  3. Nadina Cole-Potter

    November 14, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    My business card rules:
    1. Backside with no printing. No slick surfaces. When I meet you, I want to write notes and the date on the back so I have the additional information (classifications) for my database. If the slick surface makes ink smear or not even hold, I may just tear up your card.
    2. No reverse type (white or light colored type on dark background). As the population ages, this type of design gets more and more difficult to read. When the surface is slick and reflects light, it is even worse.
    3. No light colored type on white background — like yellow or light orange or light green. Also difficult to read. Again, difficulty compounded with a slick surface.
    4. Set phone numbers, email address, and mailing address in large enough font (at least 8 point). Pick a font and font size that does not run letters together.
    5. White, light beige, or cream colored card stock, please. Again, dark stock makes the text difficult to read and is usually on slick paper, so it is reflective. Call if my ADA business card rule.

  4. Ben Goheen

    November 14, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    FYI – Moo has 30% off all cards until midnight tonight.

  5. Mike O'Hara

    November 14, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    Now that is a well done, helpful article. Do you ever take a day off Lani?

  6. Alex Cortez

    November 14, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    I had tried Vista Print before and won’t be a return customer. I will now try out Moo. Thanks for the post.

  7. hermanchan.com

    November 15, 2010 at 3:34 am

    aside from being *totally* helpful, can i just say that the presentation/graphic design of this post is brilliant too! the chart, the overlay over the 5 cards, yadda yadda. u go!

  8. Ann Cummings

    November 15, 2010 at 5:04 am

    Love this comparison you’ve done! I use Vista Print for my cards but I do upgrade them so I get a better card stock, and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on them. I use Moo for my mini-cards and love everything about them, except the price. I’ve never tried the others, however I just might after seeing this chart.

  9. Sherry Lowry

    November 15, 2010 at 6:34 am

    What a totally terrific and wonderfully researched and presenting post!

    Love-love Moo! And fully agree with the VistaPrint commentary. Probably won’t bother to use them again — partly because of lack of clarity around how to get a paper upgrade, for starters.

    And — i literally ended up throwing out the only 2 “upgrade” purchases i did once make from them due to shoddy workmanship, one never operational at all being a stamper for new address.

    I like Moo Cards so much I like to find special event reasons to print some of these at least every few years — though I still use my custom printer in Houston for my regular business card printing.

  10. Al Lorenz

    November 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    Very useful post. I’ll be trying Moo.com for my next set of cards. Now, how about a similar posting on custom real estate signs?

  11. Chris Sanderson

    November 16, 2010 at 12:36 pm

    Best review post (of any kind) that I’ve ever seen! Loved the “excruciating.” That made me LOL!

  12. LesleyLambert

    November 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Put me in the moo camp. I love their quality and I especially like the mini moo cards!

  13. Ruthmarie Hicks

    November 19, 2010 at 3:11 am

    Love, love, love Moo! I use their mini cards to promote my blog and several web pages. Everyone asks me about those mini-cards – they really make an impact. I also use the Moo business cards to promote neighborhood listings. Merchants let me leave them in their shops and people scarf them up like crazy. I have a picture of the home with a domain name and a brief description on the back.

  14. Greg Lyles

    November 19, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Great article! Wouldn’t it be nice if this sort of info was available about agents so the public could move past the glossy listing presentations and fancy offices? By the way, have you thought about doing a test on postcard printers? Just a thought.

  15. Bob Fulton

    December 14, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Hate to be a stickler about such things, but your price comparison is nonsense- each order was for a different number of cards. Remember eigth grade algebra? Don’t mix denominators!

  16. Lani Rosales

    December 20, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    I will reiterate here that I did not create the graph above (click the image for the original source).

  17. Dan O'Halloran

    September 23, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    I just tried out Moo and unfortunately it's been a bad experience….for some reason our company logo didn't print on the cards even though it was in the proof. There is no phone support and all I've gotten are brief emails and told if I want my money credited back I have to mail the cards back to Moo. I only did a small 50 card order to test out as my office was thinking about switching providers….the card stock was nice and the website was easy to use…

  18. TaylorParker

    July 24, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I’ve been thinking about purchasing a postcard printer for both my business and my home office. They seem to be excellent printers and it would in the end save me money, by just making my own postcards, instead of constantly purchasing postcards at the store. I’ve been doing some research about <a href=”https://www.min-press.com”>postcard printers</a> , and I’ve been wondering what the best brand is? Does anyone have a postcard printer that they have really liked having? And how often do you have to replace the cartridges in the <a href=”https://www.min-press.com”>postcard printers</a> ?

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Business Marketing

Stay ahead by decluttering your Instagram accounts with this new feature

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Get a head start on your spring cleaning with Instagram’s newest feature. It may become your favorite way to views others accounts.

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instagram accounts

In a plot twist you weren’t expecting this week, Instagram is looking to make your life a little easier. Their newest app update includes a feature that groups accounts you follow into curated lists such as most and least interacted with or earliest followed to latest.

If you’ve ever looked at the number of people you follow on Instagram and wondered, “who the heck are these people?” then this update will make your heart sing. Instagram has been around for 10 years now, so it’s understandable that some of our follower lists have gotten a little out of control. Your friends and interests shift over time and it can be difficult to find time to actively curate your social media accounts.

Working with this new feature is simple. To access it just head on over to your Instagram profile and click “Following.” You should see a couple of categories above the list of accounts you follow. As an added bonus, you can also change the sort feature on your follower list. It can be set to show oldest accounts followed first or latest accounts firsts.

instagram accounts

For entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t have the luxury of a full social media team (or any team at all) small features like this can be a game changer. If this feature sparks you to finally clean up your Instagram, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide who to keep and who to unfollow.

Why did you originally follow this account?

Does this account still serve your business interests?

What was your main purpose behind following this account? As a business owner you might follow an account on Instagram for any number of strategic reasons. Perhaps this account is a fellow business owner in your area, but they’ve since closed their doors. Chances are you’ll find more than one of these cases in your least interacted with group.

Were you looking for business advice or inspiration? When you’re just starting out with your business, you might have followed a few accounts that aimed to give advice to new business owners. Well, if you’ve been doing this for a few years, you probably already know the basic advice these types of accounts are pushing. It’s time to move on.

Do you know this account IRL? Maybe your business has moved locations or changed niche in the last few years. You might have made some great connections with fellow business owners back in the day, but you may no longer run in the same circles. If you know the person who runs the account IRL and you still want to stay connected there are two options. You can either go follow them on your personal account or you can continue following, but mute the account so it doesn’t clog up your Instagram feed.

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Business Marketing

2020 marketing calendar – plan this year’s marketing strategy

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Have you ever wondered when is the best time for your ad campaign, well look no further. This marketing calendar has every event listed, even weird ones.

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When you work for a small business or non-profit, marketing is one of those essential tools that can make a difference in your monthly bottom line or fundraising take. And yet it’s often a challenge for busy owners and employees to find — and take advantage of — fresh promotion opportunities.

Add this to your toolkit… a 2020 Marketing Calendar from the team at Liramail, making note of big events and days that you can use online and IRL to engage customers and donors.

February marketing calendar

Some dates are obvious… major holidays, for instance, particularly the gift-giving ones. But you can find success around other events as well. The Central Texas Food Bank uses the Super Bowl as a driver for one of their most visible annual events, the “Souper Bowl of Caring.” On a smaller scale this year, restaurants and shops around the Austin area and all over the country used January 25, Australia Day, to raise funds for bushfire relief—drawing customers into their businesses, creating community ties and doing good all at once.

This marketing calendar compiles dates both big and small, providing plenty of opportunities for tie-ins and promotions. Running a clothing boutique? Play with Fashion Week. Looking for a good cause to support? World Wildlife Day and International Women’s Day are just a few weeks away. Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick’s Day… and that’s all just in the next six weeks.

The calendar is as useful for engaging your social media audience as it is promoting IRL events. You don’t have to own a pizza place to make a post with your team celebrating International Pizza Day and quizzing your followers on their favorite topping. You don’t have to be a veterinarian to turn Love Your Pet Day into a way to engage people by encouraging them to share photos of their pets.

And if you do have a direct tie? Absolutely use it. Each March, for instance, the small Austin well-building non-profit Water to Thrive observes World Water Day with a quick Facebook fundraiser. One of the Austin-area businesses that participated in Australia Day, Bee Cave coffeehouse/boutique Runaway Luna Lifestyle, did so because of family ties there, raising several thousand dollars with an in-store event and social media promotion of a GoFundMe fundraiser.

So page through the marketing calendar, making notes of days that you can take advantage of. And don’t forget, if you’re inspired to create an in-store event or other promotion, be ready for it. Get the initial date on the calendar, and then work backwards to create a long-range plan to support your event. Check your inventory, possibly looking for related items to feature. Book your advertising, draft your newsletter, schedule your social posts. Let your audience know that something special is coming up.

Have fun with it. Add your own dates. Whether you zero in on Talk Like a Pirate Day or Make a Difference Day, you can create new opportunities for your business or non-profit and for your customers as well.

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Business Marketing

Unsplash is the secret weapon for seekers, and creators of unique images

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It’s free, it’s great, it’s free, it’s a marketing multi-tool, and it’s FREE. Why aren’t you using Unsplash already? It has great exposure!

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I really can’t stand seeing the same thing over and over again.

Might be my slutty, slutty, non-brand-monogamous Milleniality showing, but I reeeeeeally feel like something’s wrong when I can’t tell two different companies (or WRITERS) apart because they’ve aped the same template, or bought the same cheap font, or used the same stock photos.

He’s a cutie, but I can only see that surprised toddler in the pink shirt and gray vest so many times. And I guarantee at least 85% of people reading this know exactly which baby I’m talking about, hence the issue I’m having.

That’s where Unsplash has been my friend.

I was introduced to the image search engine in my last job: hundreds of thousands of hi-res images for 100% free, which yeah, was just my boss saving money on subscriptions to pay for our office snacks. But I was pleasantly surprised by the cool stuff I could find!

How it works is; well first, pretend you’re a photographer. One amongst many. And you specialize in, say, bomb ass macrophotography. Except the people who need your services A: Don’t know the difference between your specialty and someone who can use the zoom button, and thus B: Aren’t finding your portfolio because they don’t even know what they’re looking for.

If you’re willing to let people use some of your photos, you can host images on Unsplash, tag them with keywords, and ideally get some subtext or alt-text credit.

It’s not like a paying gig, it’s more like passing out fliers to super warm leads.

Now pretend you’re writing for a nature blog. Justifiable crackdowns on unpaid intellectual property mean that when your client says ‘Just pull some stuff from Google, it’s whatever’, you’re not actually going to do that. But there’s no budget for a subscription to anything, so what now?

You check out Unsplash is what. Then you find that macrophotographer’s amazing pictures of leaves and such, and bookmarking their gallery gives you a way to harmonize all the preview images you use for the ‘5 Most Ominous Things I’ve Found in the Austin Greenbelt’ article you’re working on with everything else on the site.

As a master manipulator of text/feelings myself, I’m also really into the fact that since anyone with a camera, anywhere in the world can host their images, I’ve got a lot of diversity in styles, locations, and of course human subjects. I really enjoyed that I could look up ‘CEO’ and find a Vietnamese woman and a Canadian man sharing the first page and probably a complicated relationship with France as a concept.

And I noticed something else.

Quite a few of these images were branded! As in Harley Davidson, Boxed Water, and more have Unsplash accounts, with their products on display to be used whenever people look up words like ‘freedom’ and ‘quirky’ and ‘hydrate’.

You literally can hire a photographer to take pictures of people in various situations wearing your brand of pillbox hats, and get photos of your product placed any and everywhere!

Now of course there are a few wee drawbacks.

Credit isn’t guaranteed, so whether you’re a brand or a photographer, you may not have your name on your work when it’s displayed, especially on preview images.

You also won’t be notified as to WHERE your photos are being used, so if your properly gloved and be-pillboxed gals end up photoshopped with digital Sharpie mustaches and used in an anti-fancy fashion postpunk op-ed, that’s out of your control.

On the searcher side, the AI is a little off as you scroll through. You might be distracted by photos of fighting racoons being auto-tagged as dogs hugging, and lose time laughing and taking screenshots, and then explaining why you’re posting to Tumblr during work hours.

Still worth it, by the way.

Ultimately Unsplash has been my ace-in-the-hole when it came to advancing the radical left agenda by viciously adding different ages, races, and settings to my last gig’s newsletters, and it’s another great resource for anyone in the ‘get/KEEP your name out there’ stage of business.

Hitch up your water wings, dive in, and make an un-splash!

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