Calling cards (not for cheap long-distance.)
June 6, 2007 11:05 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a source for calling cards, please? (Not the phone kind.)

I would like to purchase some personal cards. I really love these calling cards by Crane's, but I'm not interested in cards that cost four dollars each. I also don't require letterpress printing (although it's very very lovely.)

What I'd like is a simple gray, cream or off-white heavyweight paper card with very simple centered type listing my name on line one and phone and email on line two. That's it. No slogans, no borders, no three-color puffed-ink printing, no graphics, no pictures of my dog.

Any tips? My googling keeps finding atrocious card templates with giant bunnies and things on them. Yech.

I'm in Los Angeles, and am happy to buy either online or from a brick-and-mortar store. I'd like to stay under one dollar/card if possible, and I have a slight preference for an independent local store, online or not.

posted by thehmsbeagle to Shopping (22 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Any printer can make you business cards to your specifications, and you'll definitely be paying under $1/card.

Or try
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:11 AM on June 6, 2007

Any local quick-print or copy shop could whip those out for you in no time and for very little money. Set 'em up yourself to run 10 up on 8 1/2" X 11" give them the camera ready copy and it will be even cheaper.
posted by Floydd at 11:16 AM on June 6, 2007

Response by poster: Oops, I probably should have specified that I know zilch about printing. I don't know how to design a card, even a simple one, so I need someone who's used to dealing with clueless folks.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:20 AM on June 6, 2007

Many local mailing stores take care of simple design. In Canada, The UPS Store (previously Mail Boxes Etc, I'm assuming USA-UPS Stores are similar) does this, you just go in and tell them what you want. Draw a sketch and it's even easier.
posted by Meagan at 11:31 AM on June 6, 2007

Also, they're more commonly known as business cards (you might get strange looks when asking to design calling cards).
posted by Meagan at 11:33 AM on June 6, 2007

Response by poster: Actually, I'm looking for calling cards, not business cards, and hoping to find a printer who knows the difference. (So I suppose calling them "calling cards" and weeding out the businesses who are perplexed is a good start.)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 11:42 AM on June 6, 2007

A business card is a calling card with business information on it instead of personal information. They are the same size.
posted by rhizome at 11:44 AM on June 6, 2007

thehmsbeagle, can you explain what the difference is? is it just thicker paper? would the businesscards would be acceptable if you could just limit the amount of text on it and place it in a central location?
posted by modernnomad at 11:49 AM on June 6, 2007

Best answer: Try Lunalux in Minneapolis. They will do 300 cards for $250. I have bought non-personalized calling cards from them before and love them. I also have a friend who got fantastic business cards made by them. I just called them as I am looking at getting calling cards and personalized stationary as well and they said that they can work out different combos of cards/stationary for me (as I wouldn't actually want 300 calling cards) and may be able to bring the price down a little. They also said that if I could explain what I was looking for, they could send me designs to look at by email, which is nice as I no longer live there. They are a small independent business and seem pretty willing to work with you. I have also been in their shop before and can attest to the good quality.
posted by triggerfinger at 11:57 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: This site has many lovely designs, including several Crane calling cards for under $1/each.

Calling cards are traditionally a different size from business cards (ladies' cards are larger than gentlemen's cards, and different sizes have been in style at different times). Today they are available in even more sizes/shapes, including squares. Many people do use business card blanks and limit the amount of text, as modernnomad suggests. Almost nobody you encounter would know the difference, but if you want to go seriously old-school you'd probably want one of the more traditional sizes.
posted by katemonster at 12:09 PM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, Triggerfinger! Exactly the kind of recommendation I was hoping for. I'll definitely contact them. :)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:09 PM on June 6, 2007

Etsy has many sellers who do custom work.
posted by hindmost at 12:10 PM on June 6, 2007

Response by poster: Katemonster-- thank you! The square cards are particularly thrilling , as I'd completely given up on being able to find them, but have long lusted after them.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 12:11 PM on June 6, 2007

I'll do a dozen different versions for you for $50 and once you choose which you like best I'll mail you a piece of film and a dozen paper samples you can take to any local printer and have them printed quite inexpensively.

I also print letterpress myself, but as you note that's much more expensive, because of the die etc. However, regular old offset litho with a dark black ink on a nice cream paper will look quite good.
posted by luriete at 12:13 PM on June 6, 2007

There is a subtle difference, modernnomad.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:18 PM on June 6, 2007

I'd suggest finding a printer who does high-end wedding invitations, since some of the same techniques that are used to do nice invitations are the same things you'd want on good calling cards. And once in the shop, I'd look around for the oldest, crustiest person working there, and talk to them -- hopefully that will allow you to avoid having to explain what "calling cards" are.

Also, places in the vicinity of large military bases may be slightly more familiar with the concept, since the only place I've ever actually seen calling cards used were by military officers. (And then, only by guys who really liked being very old-school about it.)
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:16 PM on June 6, 2007

Design Your Own Card (dot com!)
posted by hermitosis at 1:26 PM on June 6, 2007

It's possible to buy card stock that you can run through an ordinary ink jet printer or laser printer. Mostly they're standard business-card size, but I bet you can get other sizes.

I've used the inkjet ones, and it's ridiculously easy to get good results.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:40 PM on June 6, 2007

iomoi has some cute designs, if you want to be all cute about it.
posted by logic vs love at 3:21 PM on June 6, 2007

hermitosis, have you used any good?
posted by craven_morhead at 11:52 AM on June 7, 2007

Both I and a friend have used them for cards, plus I ordered a rubber stamp from them also for paying my bills.

Once you figure out how to fool around with their formatting, you realize that you really can make them any wacky way you like. They have an absurdly generous variety of clip-art and fonts.

I bought a box of 500 cards for (I think) around $25. Everyone is always impressed because they're the fancy raised-ink kind.

My friend's turned out amazing as well. And what's better, you can register with the site and it will save all your designs in case you want to order more or remember what art you used.

Email me if you want me to show you the image file of my card.
posted by hermitosis at 12:05 PM on June 7, 2007

Hey, Beagle, I thought you were exaggerating about the Crane cards costing $4 each, but you weren't. That's just nuts, are there really fools out there who pay that kind of money for business cards? I work in Palo Alto, California where everyone drives a leased luxury and is otherwise full of shit, and I can ask that? Okay, I'll be helpful now. My mother got a box of printed cards for free from a website. She only had to pay the $5 for shipping. 'Be really helpful if I knew what that website was, wouldn't it? I think I bought a box of 1000 American Psycho style business cards for $25 at a local printer years ago. But wait, your post wasn't about trying to buy cheap cards it was about trying to buy nice ones. I'm the one who's obsessed with saving money. Not to creep you out, but a friend of mine thinks we're writing-style doppelgangers. I think it's a compliment but you might not. Good luck with the cards. I think the square ones sound nice. Now I want to get some, but by tomorrow I'll have forgotten about it.
posted by PoopyDoop at 9:05 PM on September 27, 2007

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