Here in CreComm Year 1, 70-odd students are polishing up their skills and perfecting their professional images. That includes the all-important first impression. As many of you know from a previous blog post, I'm plagued by curly hair and can't ever hope that my looks will be equal to any situation. Therefore, I require all the accessories that are just add-ons for people with straight, polished hair. Among these: the business card.
There are lots of options for business cards, and I've explored a few of them since my first day of CreComm in August 2009. I found some blank business-card-shaped papers that had been inserted between my mother's business cards to ensure the ink didn't run from card to card. On these, I put my name, contact info, and current status (CreComm student) with a green calligraphy pen. (I'm no graphic artist, but I do pride myself on my penmanship) I have handed these out at conferences, seminars, and randomly, to the point that I have run out and must now consider more costly options.
Anyone could make their own business cards with knowledge of Photoshop and InDesign. There are even thick papers you can get that are already perforated - once you've set your printer up right and it's printed eight cards per page, just punch them out and you're ready to go! Or buy the cardstock yourself and cut them out afterwards. The costs here are paper, ink, and possibly software. But just as important is another cost: time.
There are also many options online. Some companies will print business cards for incredibly low rates - such as Vista Printers - and only charge for shipping on certain orders! That's the key though. These 'certain orders' allow you to choose from 20 designs - while generous, suppose that none of the 20 adequately communicate the image you want to give to clients. What then? You can look elsewhere, upgrade to the more costly print runs with larger or custom design options, or convince yourself that the image of the girl biting into the strawberry really will work for your day care.
Presently, I'm torn. I'm running low on handmade business cards, and computer-designed and -printed cards look much more professional, though a handmade one does stand out. To do in-house (make them mysef) or outsource (pay a commercial printer/choose a ready-made design) is the current dilemma. How will it be resolved and how much will it cost? Stay tuned!