How and where to make a business card tasteful enough for American Psych
May 4, 2014 8:25 AM   Subscribe

Here is the youtube clip That I am inspired by. I want a really tasteful, hyper simple business card. I have never made a business card before, and I don't know exactly what all I want on it, and I would prefer to have it made online (but no "made by free crap on it) On the card I want my name, phone number, email address, and title "consultant" and "can speak english, se habla espanol, 会说中文, . 日本語を話すことができる. Where can I get these done tastefully and at a good price online? What design ideas should I keep in mind to make a good tasteful simple business card? Layout, font, color etc.
posted by crawltopslow to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I don't have a specific recommendation, but look for "letterpress business cards." Printing with a letterpress involves actual metal type pressing ink onto (and into) the card, giving it that nice recessed embossed look. That's how the American Psycho cards were printed. (Here's a link to some good samples of letterpress printed cards; some maybe not as simple as you want.)

As far as specific design, once you find a letterpress printer, they can help you nail it down. Be aware that your cuneiform letters may require a custom-made die, which costs more than simply setting pre-made type.
posted by The Deej at 8:42 AM on May 4, 2014

I had a good experience with VistaPrint (cheap, delivers fast) in the past but it was several years ago and I'm not remembering if they put their logo on the cards (I don't think so but I could be wrong). I also like simple design and went with something pretty streamlined.
posted by quincunx at 8:57 AM on May 4, 2014

I use - they got known for making little minicards during the first dot-coom boom, but they also do regular business cards and "luxe" cards with an extra thickness to them... They have a range of designs, but you can also build your own design.

Those are inkjet-printed rather than letterpressed, so won't have the letterpress look, but are likely to be cheaper, so a lot depends on your budget.

(Out of interest, and this is possibly another AskMe question, but would it be "se habla espanol" on a personal business card, or "yo hablo espanol"?)
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:03 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

Vistaprint does put their logo on if you get their "free" (plus S+H) cards, but for not much money you can get them without the Vistaprint logo.
posted by mr vino at 9:05 AM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would include a QR code. See to create one that leads to a website or a digital business card.
posted by yclipse at 9:06 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

The quality of paper at vistaprint sucks. If you want something really nice, but affordable, I like morning print. Good paper makes all the difference.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:24 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

I think you're going to get a lot of different ideas about what's tasteful. I think it's more tasteful to have heavy matte paper. I think full color is less tasteful than two color printing. I hate business cards that are vertical rather than horizontal. A lot of the cards in The Deej's link meet my tastefulness spec, but I think you can get those with offset printing too. has examples of good and bad design.

Have you consulted a local printer? I think being able to touch the paper and see samples of the printing may outweigh the potential extra cost. I had custom wedding invites printed at a local printer and the price was not actually much higher than ordering something stock.
posted by vespabelle at 9:24 AM on May 4, 2014 [1 favorite]

My advice is to not do this online unless you absolutely have to.

Find a letterpress shop near you. Go there, and choose a card stock you love, in person, after feeling the weight and thickness of it with your own hands. Use one font, in no more than two weights or sizes. Be conservative with your language list copy, i.e., instead of "I can speak English/日本語が話すことができる", use something like "English/Español/日本語/中文".
posted by Sokka shot first at 9:31 AM on May 4, 2014 [2 favorites]

Letterpress printing is very nice (my wife is a letterpress operator), and a lot of letterpress printers are also designers. Chinese and Japanese won't necessarily be an issue as long as you can provide them with vector art for the type—most letterpress printers will be happy to burn a plate rather than work with lead fonts. It's also expensive (the effort that can go into setup would amaze you), and the expense shoots way up for multiple colors.

Moo cards are nice but have a completely different aesthetic. Not better or worse. I like them too.

Don't just put "consultant" on your card. That's a fancy way of saying "unemployed." Put what you actually do, or don't put anything.

+1 to Sokka shot first's advice, except for the "online" bit. You can go into a local print shop and get a lousy card with awful thermographic printing and off-center cutting, so "local" is no guarantee of quality.

If you design it yourself, make the type smaller than you think it should be. We've all been habituated to 12-pt type by our word processors, but 10-pt type looks big on a business card.
posted by adamrice at 9:45 AM on May 4, 2014

You can make your own. (They come out a lot better than you might think.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:22 AM on May 4, 2014


If I saw this on a business card, I would think, "not very well, though". This is wordy and it not used to express "Japanese spoken here/we speak Japanese". Sokka was spot-on. If you wish to convey that people can contact you in Japanese, you can place 日本語可 under your contact information. That is why I print on my Japanese business cards.

To that point, I do not recommend mixing languages on business cards. My cards have an English side and a Japanese side. Having your card entirely in English and then having "日本語可" does not make very much sense because perhaps the person you are inviting to contact you in Japanese (or Chinese or Spanish) cannot read any portion of the English, including your name. So, you may want to look have having several different types of cards, one for each language that you can work in.

Lastly, I'd only put languages on the card that you can speak and write to the high level of proficiency that a consulting client would require. While I have proficiencies in several languages, Japanese is the only one I have on a business card and other promotional materials because it is the only foreign language in which I can (and do) represent clients exclusively.
posted by Tanizaki at 10:42 AM on May 4, 2014 [10 favorites]

I use William Arthur, which was recently bought by Crane and so is a subsite on The quality is very high. Letterpress is extremely expensive so I use thermography instead, which still gives the raised letters but without costing over $1 per card. Most important is the heavy card stock. Also for the American Psycho in you, keep the design as simple and clean as possible and consider putting your languages on the back of the card. For your first set of cards go to a Crane dealer and look at the books in person. It's free to look and you may find that your needs are best meet through a consultation.

FWIW my friends are inspired by my cards to get their own so I feel confident in my advice to you :)
posted by janey47 at 10:47 AM on May 4, 2014

I'd skip a QR code unless you're in a field where people are fond of them. They're not really simple. I can't imagine someone in that scene throwing down a business card with a QR code and being taken seriously. I have never had a QR code reader on my phone. My husband started a company that build smartphone apps and he has never had a QR code reader either. If you want to include a URL, you are much better off putting the URL on a business card than a QR code.

The cards that have interested me the most had a heavier stock and were very simple so while it's impressive that you're multilingual, I might leave it off your card for the sake of brevity. But if that's what you have your heart set on, don't let me stand in the way of your dream. Perhaps do a two-sided card? One side could have your name and title and the other side could have your contact info and languages.

The term "consultant" means very little to me. If someone has that on their card, I look to see what company they work for because that gives me a better idea of what they actually do. So it'd be helpful if you put on your card what you actually do.
posted by kat518 at 11:50 AM on May 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

No QR codes. Seriously.

For the language part, I'd put:

English, español, [Japanese]*

*No idea what the characters are for this
posted by radioamy at 4:32 PM on May 4, 2014

I think you should look at It's free to sign in and make up some designs, till you come up with something you like.
posted by stevedawg at 3:22 AM on May 5, 2014

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