Print University

Cool coatings, how to make them useful, get funky with a Made 4 Me custom quote, graphic design tips, and other helpful advice for you

48 Ways to Bling Out Your Business Cards . . .

By Ali Westcott, Chief Marketing Geek at 48HourPrint.com

Business cards say a lot about you and your personality (or your organization’s personality). We got a room full of print and design geeks together and came up with these 48 ways to make your business card awesome . . .

What Coat(ing) Will You Wear?

1. Outshine your competition. Get the ultimate glossy look by adding UV coating to your card. You can almost see your reflection, and your prospects will be impressed.
2. Gloss and matte coatings are always free at 48HourPrint.com. Gloss is the #1 choice among our customers. For a more subtle look, go with matte coating, which has a satiny feel and doesn’t show fingerprints.
3. Go uber-natural. Printed on thick 100# smooth uncoated paper, Uncoated Cards are popular with small businesses who use one side of the card to set appointments or write personal notes.
4. Half-and-half. You can have UV on one side, gloss on the other. Or select C1S (coated one side) stock, and have one side uncoated and the other gloss. The best of both worlds.

Make your cards useful . . .

5. Be seen as an expert in your field. Include a few important tips or pieces of advice right on your card that your customers will appreciate. Tip: Remember the power of 3 and 5 - as in “3 Things you Need to Know” or “5 Things You Should Avoid.”
6. Make it a gift. Adding a small circular drill hole to your business card is a clever trick. You can then get some string or ribbon at home, thread it through the hole and use your business cards as a gift tag to wrap around bottles of wine or other treats you give to customers. Drill hole sizes available at 48HourPrint.com include 1/8”, 3/16”, 1/4” and 5/16”.
7. Provide inspiration. Include a favorite quote or motto on your card that reflects your business or organizational philosophy. (Or something that’s just plain FUN.) You can find great quotes online at a variety of sites, just be sure they are in the public domain.
8. Testimonials work. Another great idea we’ve seen on business cards: include a testimonial or postitive review you received right on your card. Powerful proof of your organization’s reputation and skills.
9. So do facts and figures (especially for nonprofit organizations). Include key facts about how donated money is used to help those in need, how to donate, and what your donors can do to help spread the word and raise much-needed funds for your cause or mission.
10. Make it interactive with QR codes. Your code can link to an image, video or website page, where you can provide your contact information or a special offer. Best of all you can track your results. Learn more by visting these sites or Google “free QR code generator.”
www.qrstuff.com 
www.2d-code.co.uk
11. Take a number. Add a unique code or number to each of your business cards and tell customers or prospects to enter a monthly drawing or giveaway on your website. Or use it as a raffle device at a tradeshow or local fundraiser. You can achieve this through Numbering or Variable Data Printing options on our Custom Quote page.
12. Ask questions. Think about what tools your customers would appreciate on a daily basis. Maybe a tip calculator? A mini-calendar? A list of important holidays and observances important to them? A secret recipe? A simple measuring device like a ruler? Make it useful and your card will be kept handy at all times.

Funky, funky, funky . . . stand out in a crowd and get noticed. 
Get a Custom Quote customquote@48hourprint.com

13. Create a cool pattern effect with spot varnishes. Spot varnishes can make your card truly unique. You can apply spot matte varnish on a gloss coated business card in cool patterns likes stripes, checkers or swirls for interesting effects. Or reverse that, and do spot gloss on a matte coated card. Your card will be ogled for sure!
14. Round it out. Add an interesting look to your business cards with classy rounded corners. Available on all formats, sizes and quantities. Select the Rounded Corners option when ordering.
15. Shiny, happy metallic inks will make you smile. When you’re going for a snazzy look, consider metallic PMS inks. The most popular is PMS Metallic Silver 877.
16. Cut it out. Create a unique effect by die-cutting a shape through your card, like a star, square, circle or something else that matches your company or organization’s brand (or your personality). BTW, a circle is great for finger puppets.
17. Apply vibrant fluorescents. Really bling your card out with the ultimate bright PMS fluorescent colors that’ll have you reaching for your sunglasses (and will really make your card a showstopper). We can print any fluorescent PMS you find in your swatchbook. Get a Custom Quote and let’s go!
18. Scratch that. Unique scratch-off coins will add an interactive element to your business cards that prospects won’t be able to resist. Under your scratch-off coin you can have a printed message or code (the coins are applied after your cards are printed). The standard scratch-off coin is metallic gold in a 1-inch diameter, but other options are available.
19. Make it magnetic. Transform your business card into a memorable magnet your customers will love. Printed digitally on a special stock that has a white glossy paper surface.
20. Stick around. Print your business cards on a unique paper that sticks on wood, glass, metal and paint. It’s removable and can be repositioned again and again with no messy residue left behind. Waterproof, vibrant, and comes standard with UV coating. Order on our Custom Quote page today (you’re looking for the paper that says 11.9 mil Woven Fabric Repositionable). You’ll be printing on our popular Bumper Sticker paper.
21. That’s a keeper - add a dotted line....................... Add a uniquely placed perforation line on your business card to create a detachable coupon or stub. We’ve also seen a business card that was perfed straight down its middle (for a divorce lawyer … sad but appropriate).
22. Turn your card into a paperclip. Die-cut your business cards with a horseshoe shape, transforming it into an instant paperclip. Great for attaching to note cards, letterhead or other items.
23. Make a unique fold and get crafty. Make a pop-up ... or a unique overlap fold. Especially powerful if you combine this with a custom die-cut, or with some elbow grease of your own (handwork to apply, a wax seal, or thread a ribbon through a notch, or attach a grommet or button by hand).
24. Go beyond rounded corners. Add a unique edge to your business cards with a custom die-cut shape. Scalloped, angled, zig-zag, curved, teardrop, one side straight the other funky . . . your options are limited only by your imagination. We’ve even seen a hair salon turn its card into a comb (and another a mohawk). Clever! Get a Custom Quote today.
25. Make a really funky overall shape ... that matches your organization. Got a cupcakery? How about a card shaped like a cupcake? Own a bar? How about a business card shaped like a coaster? Not every business card has to fit in a wallet – it depends on what type of business or organization you have and how you use your cards. We’ve seen an increase in circle-shaped cards, too.
26. Take off an edge. Add a perforation line on an angle, for a fun tear-off triangle effect on classic business cards (or even funkier on circles).
27. Take some notes. If you find yourself constantly looking for a piece of scrap paper to scribble a note when talking with customers or prospects, consider going with C1S paper (coated on one side) for your cards and stop the madness. Or go completely writable with our Uncoated Business Cards.

Get more real estate with Even Folded or Offset Folded business cards . . .

28. Set appointments right on your card. The extra room of a folded business card is perfect for busy doctor’s offices, hair salons, independent contractors and others who need to remind their clients of appointment dates and times.
29. Go for the “big reveal.” The Offset Folded card has a funny name but it packs a great design punch because it reveals a portion of your inside panel. This is a favorite card among graphic designers who usually go with big, bold, contrasting colors so this format really pops.
30. Include an events calendar. Use the extra room to call attention to tradeshows your business is attending or dates that are important to your specific customers and prospects.
31. Create a loyalty device. Include an area for punching out “visits” that will add up to a nice perk for your loyal customers, like buy 5 coffees and get one free. They’ll hold on to your card for a long time to get their goodies!
32. Get in the game. Another fun idea – include a tic-tac-toe board, connect-the-dots, funky Mad Lib, word search or crossword puzzle you made that has something to do with your business or organization on the back of your card. It’s fun and interactive. And everyone likes to play.
33. Market yourself. Use that extra space to include a product list, handy price chart, or provide an enticing free offer or discount. Nothing blings more than sales, right?

Graphic Design Ideas . . . Because All Good Business Cards Start with a Great Idea (and Layout).

34. Go black and white. Yup. In a sea of business cards, your snappy black and white business card will come across as “old school cool.” Go with big blocks of black and chunky reverse white type that would make Don Draper of Mad Men swoon.
35. Go vertical. Switch up the orientation of your card to stand out.
36. Discover the power of patterns. A strong design rooted in bold patterns goes a long way. Classics like thick stripes, checkerboards and concentric circles stand out. Combine with a bold typeface in white and black and you are blinged-out ... with no special effects required.
37. Go Smaller ( or bigger). Your card will definitely stand out in a stack (or wallet) if you go with an alternative size. We have seven sizes listed on our website, but you can get additional sizes via a Custom Quote. The most popular “different” size is 1.75” by 3.5” (called a Mini-Card).
38. Leverage simple, sleek, bold colors. If it works for your brand, going with one main vibrant color, like a yellow, purple, or a red with simple white or black type is a stunning choice.
39. Make it Fontastic. Fonts can make your card come alive if you use them right. Have you seen a font that you love but don’t know what it’s called? Check out MyFonts.com’s unique “What The Font” search service (it’s free) at www.myfonts.com/WhatTheFont.
40. Doodle it. A fun idea for all you doodlers out there (or if you work with creative types). Transform the back of your card into graph paper and choose either Uncoated Cards or C1S (coated one side) paper. It’s irresistible.
41. A picture is worth . . . a lot. Great photography can make a great business card. Make sure you use a very high resolution photo for best printing results. If you are using stock photography, try to change up an element or get funky with how you crop and place it so it won’t look like anyone else’s card.

Other Helpful Advice . . .

42. When you don’t need a lot, go digital. Only need a few cards to start out? Digitally printed cards are an excellent option – they’re economical and still look great. We offer digital printing for quantities between 100 and 499 (500 and up are printed on our sheetfed offset presses). A bonus: Digital business cards are printed in 24 hours from proof approval.
43. Look online for inspiration. Stuck on an idea for designing your card? Check out our Pinterest boards for ideas, and see just how innovative you can be with your card’s graphic design.www.pinterest.com/48hourprint
44. Keep it brief (or go with a bigger card). Always make sure your business card is readable. Clean designs, with ample white space for breathing room, are appreciated by all. Do you REALLY need nine ways to contact you? Probably not. Stick to the basics so your information actually gets read and acted upon. If you really need to share additional information, consider going with the Even Folded or Offset Folded card so you have more real estate.
45. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Ask several friends to proofread your card. And your Mom. Because all the bling in the world won’t help you if your phone number or email address has a dastardly, dreaded typo.
46. Pick a great printer. Your cards won’t bling unless they’re printed right, with vibrant colors on awesome paper by people who care about your cards as much as you do. We’re ready for you!
47. Ask for samples. Better safe than sorry, and it’s important to see the different coatings available and the quality you can expect. You can get samples from us online (use the “Get Samples” link) or by calling a Customer Care representative at 800.844.0599.
48. Share the love. We’d LOVE to learn about great ideas you have for business cards. Give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest . . . or share a YouTube video with your thoughts or examples of great blinged business cards.

About the Author: Ali Westcott is Senior Director of Marketing at 48HourPrint.com and a lifelong print geek.