Rapid advancements in communication methodologies have dramatically changed the way people do business. I know…this is not news to anybody, but when developing new opportunities, securing new clientele, or establishing and strengthening a corporate brand, most companies know where their priorities lie. Online.

However, when interactive strategies have successfully done their job and landed you face to face with a potential new client, then what? How do you create a lasting impression after you leave that initial meeting? What souvenirs do you leave behind to commemorate the quality of your business and the value you’ll bring to their operation?

If your answer is to produce a scratched and damaged business card from your wallet with a,

“Let me see if I have one of my business cards…oh, here we are…sorry it’s a little beat up, but our web address on there…”

Then keep reading. There are better options.

While it’s important to have a strong online presence in today’s marketplace, it’s equally important to protect your brand across all touch points. This means finding creative ways to produce high-quality business collateral without breaking the bank. Remember, websites are visited but print material is delivered. When handing over items that speak to the value of your company, it’s critical to leave the right impression.

As print has lost significant ground to digital communication over the years, the selection of available paper has suffered. And, as the need for large quantities of business collateral continues to reduce, the ability to deliver impactful hands-on items has become increasingly difficult. Long gone are the days of gigantic paper warehouses, packed-to-the-rafters with seemingly endless varieties of paper. Not that premium paper doesn’t exist anymore. It does. Paper companies still mill and manufacture a large variety of fine papers – as many as there were in the print heydays of the late 80s and early 90s prior to the .com revolution – but it’s the availability in small quantities that has become an issue.

One way to circumvent the problem of premium paper unavailability and the high costs of the ones that are available is to resurrect some age-old print techniques, but use them in new and sophisticated ways. There is no shortage of utility grade, workhorse paper stocks. There is an abundant and readily available supply of basic coated and uncoated papers that are simple, bright white, smooth finish and available in a variety of thicknesses. These papers are also not subject to any kind of quantity restrictions or special ordering parameters.

atk-cardRecently, we’ve designed and produced business cards using the somewhat dormant printing methods of foil stamping and embossing (sample shown). By choosing either glossy coloured foil, or basic silver foil, with an overprint and used sparingly in combination with standard print varnish techniques on basic stocks, we’ve generated premium results.

The additional contrast created by embossing logo elements subtly highlights the foiled areas. Print ink colours were kept minimal; only 1 colour was used which kept the overall costs in check. To be even more cost-efficient, we produced additional blanks (or shells) where all of the intricate processes of foiling and embossing are done at one time, but the variable contact information is removed. The pre-prints (shells) are then used for future small order imprinting of the person’s contact details. This makes it very affordable to re-order business cards, even in small quantities. This process is where the foresight to keep ink colours to a minimum pays dividends. Forward-thinking planning of our client’s entire business collateral system can generate opportunities for big production savings down the line.

With a little more in upfront investment, and some measure of pre-planning, your business collateral need not be an afterthought to your digital presence. When done well, all of your marketing efforts should work together to elevate your brand.

But why so much effort for business cards? Because they have a two-fold result:

  1. Prospective customers spend quality time with all of your marketing materials.
  2. You’ll remind current clientele that you are the premium organization they know you to be.

3 Tips to Keep your Business Cards Beautiful and Affordable

  1. Keep ink colours to a minimum and let the graphic elements do the hard work. ‘Full colour’ is no longer a premium item (and hasn’t been for some time). Great layout trumps full colour every time.
  2. Use innovative, specialized printing techniques such as foiling, embossing, spot gloss treatments, or die cuts to differentiate your card.
  3. To keep things affordable, print your cards in large volumes of blanks, and imprint small quantities at a time. This will keep the unit cost per card down and open the door to innovation.

Bonus Tip!

Invest in an inexpensive business card case to carry 20-30 cards with you at a time in your briefcase, coat pocket, or purse. Keep those cards in mint condition!