By now I've heard from a number of people anxious to hear about good sources for affordable, professionally printed cards. Fear not; that information is being compiled and will be posted early this week. In the meantime...
(image: Pansy with Two Skies, oil, 20" x 20")
I know that some of you print your own cards from your home or office printer (or are thinking about doing it). That's how I made my very first ones, too, and if you really want to know what I thought of the experience, they were worse than no cards at all (and I spent a lot time and money on them, too). In the end, I threw them out.
It was a good learning experience, and I'd like to give you the benefit of my early disaster.
Seven Reasons NOT to Print Your Own Business Card
- COST - Think you're saving money by printing your own cards? Think again. The cost of a pack of Avery Clean Edge Business Card blanks is about $15 at your local office supply store, plus figure in the cost of both a color ink ($20-35) and a black ink cartridge ($12-20), because these take a lot of ink, and you're looking at $47-70 to print 200 cards (IF they all come out, which is doubtful; see #6).
You can have 250 cards professionally printed starting at about $10 (-- this would include 'free' offers, so this is mostly shipping cost).You can have even higher quality cards printed for $25-40, and in a later post I'll lead you to some reliable sources.
- PAPER QUALITY - Because the cards need to be thin enough not to jam the printer (which they often will anyway), the paper tends to be on the thin side, and will often curl once you separate them into cards.
- PRINT QUALITY - Standard business card blanks are of a somewhat soft paper, which helps it absorb ink. This gives the card a dull appearance. It can also make your type appear fuzzy.
- PERMANENCE - Ink jet ink runs if it comes in contact with water (think of an outdoor show, and it begins to sprinkle, or a hot day and sweaty hands). It also tends to fade fairly quickly.
- TIME - When printing cards on your printer, you pretty much have to babysit the whole time to make sure they don't jam up or that your cartridge doesn't run out of ink. Wouldn't you rather spend that time painting?
- FRUSTRATION - At least half the sheets tend to get stuck in the printer or don't line up correctly.
- PROFESSIONALISM - A card printed on your average inkjet printer is never going to have that certain 'je ne sais quoi'. It's going to look, and feel, exactly like what it is: a card you printed yourself. A professional card will enhance your professional status as an artist. You'll look like you really mean business. Plus, you'll feel better about giving them out.
Stay tuned: Sources and tips for getting a professionally printed card coming very soon.