Where I can get exquisite business cards that leave an impression designed and printed?
May 9, 2008 2:48 PM   Subscribe

Who knows where I can get really exquisite business cards designed and printed? I'm looking for a company who will help me design a special businesscard for my consulting firm.

It should be something special that will leave a real impression on clients. Something like these cards at Creativebits. I'm located in Europe but will work with anyone via the internet if they have the right ideas and references.

Does anyone have any experience with a company who does this or can refer me to anyone?
posted by remcobron to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Yeah. The Wilkinson Brothers did the logo, business cards and letterhead for my company. Great guys, brilliant work, on time and on budget.
posted by workerant at 3:19 PM on May 9, 2008

do you need a logo, or just printed cards?

i use Prints Made Easy for my cards, but i already have a log. they have templates that you can just drop your info and logo on

if you need creative work, like logo and complete design there are tons of guys. You can even get people on ebay to do it for you.

if you have a limited budget, I would recommend hiring several different people that are cheap ( like the ebay crowd) rather than one firm that's much more expensive. the advantage of this is you get MANY different ideas and looks put in front of you, things you would have never thought , then you can begin to narrow them down. all these guys will do several or unlimited revisions.

Creative is one of those instances when the most expensive might not be the best, so i would advise going with quanitity and seeing what several different minds come up with
posted by Mr_Chips at 3:41 PM on May 9, 2008

Just a word, FYI. My husband, who is high-up management level (I can never remember his new title) at a semi-conductor engineering firm, says that most recruiters and marketing folks, at least in his business, want business cards that they can scan in now, so that they can keep track of their contacts on their computers.

So they prefer that business cards be scannable in a machine like this one.

I mention this because I was really impressed with some of those cool business card designs linked above until he told me that!
posted by misha at 3:57 PM on May 9, 2008

I used to work for a company that had photo chemical machining capabilities. A nice perk was my business cards were made from this process. Never failed to impress. I don't have a photo of mine, but these guys do it.
posted by Frasermoo at 5:39 PM on May 9, 2008

Consider a more vanilla design, but with very high end stock that's distinctive by its quality and detail. Think of it like a seemingly plain, solid navy suit that's noticeably special because of its great fit and high-quality fabric and details. These cards will be impressive and still easily scanable.

For example, I did a job with a Japanese consulting engineering firm and their cards were exquisite. These cards were made of that kind of paper that has stuff pressed into them. In this case, flowers. And the stock itself was amazing to feel and look at.
posted by pandanom at 5:45 PM on May 9, 2008

Not that it answers your question, but if you need to metaphysical perspective on the subject here's the business card scene from American Psycho.
posted by wfrgms at 5:57 PM on May 9, 2008

There is also metal business cards if that is something which interests you.
posted by pwicks at 10:34 PM on May 9, 2008

You can use your own photos at Moo
posted by nimsey lou at 5:59 AM on May 10, 2008

Any decent graphic designer would be able to advise you on materials, methods and processes to get just what you're looking for. Be aware though, that the fancier the card, the more (and I mean MORE) expensive it will become to produce. If you get something fancy, make sure you order LOTS of them to keep the unit cost down.
posted by ninthart at 6:23 AM on May 10, 2008

I agree with ninthart, a good designer should be able to design, determine paper and printing process to get a unique look. If you have money to spend, there's some really interesting things you can do. Although I would probably lean towards letterpress or silkscreen, it's a unique look for usually less than the cost of offset. I'd avoid digital printing for business cards, the quality just isn't quite there yet in my opinion and you tend to be a little limited on paper (however, I wouldn't be surprised if a good designer may be able to come up with a design that works with the medium).

I think it sounds like you need a brand (logo, letterhead, business card, etc). You want business cards, but if your logo is going to be on it, the logo should be designed for a variety of formats: web, print, B&W, color and spot (although spot is not common). This way if you want to build a website, print brochures, etc. your logo would work in all mediums.

Here's a link to the AIGA directory , many of these folks should have portfolios online. There may be a similar European organization, dunno.
posted by pokeedog at 8:19 AM on May 10, 2008

Does anyone have any experience with a company who does this or can refer me to anyone?

In my experience, that's not really how it works. 99% of clients want nice business cards that are, well, business cards. Designing these is a well-trodden path and thus is a smooth oiled machine that delivers excellent product, rapidly, at low cost.

But a client who wants something really out of the ordinary (like those linked at CreativeBits) is rare, because it's so costly to run off the beaten track. But working in your favour, designers will often chomp at the bit at a chance to explore the unknown - when someone else is prepared to foot the bill to let them play.
Some places, of course, have their system, and don't really like their boat being rocked by someone who wants something from outside the comfort zone of that system.

So what you're probably looking for is a design outfit that does work in various media. If they have their own press and printers, and offer business-card design+printing, then they're probably used to just working with their in-house equipment, and will try to come up with ideas that they can produce in-house, a restriction that may reduce your chances of getting something totally new.
A place whose work touches on manufacturing on the other hand (eg, their portfolio might include paper cups, metal signage, fancy CD/DVD packaging, or maybe some plastic promotional trinket - not just designs printed onto generic pens, but they designed the form of the object), they're probably better set up for the process of coming up with concepts that they then take to outside manufacturers to gain access to specialised processes and materials, to get something that is more than the usual printed design.

But you could probably save yourself a bunch of money by coming up with the basic idea first, then shopping it around some design firms for estimates.
Eg, instead of saying "design something amazing like the things on this website - I don't know what, but totally outside the box", whereapon it will cost you thousands before they come back with some ideas and concepts for your consideration, and most of them will be discarded. If you could instead say "We're a consulting company in digital media technology - so we're trying to find some way to make our business cards seemlessly incorporate a USB drive large enough to hold our 90Mb show-reel, but still look and feel like a really nice paper business card. Can you help us?".

Ie, if possible, think of your own cool hook idea (brainstorm with friends and colleges), then you know what you want and then have the design firm concentrate on creating a great design for it and on finding some esoteric manufacturing process that can actually make it.
posted by -harlequin- at 3:37 PM on May 10, 2008

if possible, think of your own cool hook idea

Disclaimer: I used to do design, so if it were my cards needing the basic hook idea, it would not even occur to me to delegate this part to someone else, because the person who knows my needs best is... me. This may be influencing my suggestion, so if you really feel that a designer would be more magical at this phase than you, worth the extra cost, then by all means hand it to them.

posted by -harlequin- at 3:50 PM on May 10, 2008

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