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Owning a business: Save money by printing your own business cards

Updated on November 6, 2014

Printing services are awesome, but in the long run, it is cheaper to print your own business cards and flyers. I'll show you the ropes!

Printing is no longer as hard as it used to be
Printing is no longer as hard as it used to be | Source

Control your expenses

If you have just started your own business, chances are that you have seen that many printing services offer 100-250 calling cards for free. This is great to start out, but you will quickly need more than that.

After using the free bundle, you will get reminders three to four times every week to buy more business cards, often in bundles of 500 standard, one-sided cards for about $50, not including shipping or VAT. On top of that, you might want some flyers to advertise your business in your local area. Those usually cost twice as much as the business cards.

As you can see, costs quickly run high, but you can control your costs by printing your own cards and flyers. It is not as hard as it might seem, and there are plenty of free programs to help you design your materials.

Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh, my God. It even has a watermark.

— Patric Bateman, American Psycho

The Hardware

To print your own business cards you will need a computer and a printer. The computer does not need to be any massive beast, most computers manufactured after 2005 would do just fine. The important part is that it has a connection port that fits the cable your printer uses. If it's a newer printer, it will most probably use a USB connector. If your computer does not have a USB bus, you will also need a USB expansion card.

The printer is preferably a newer model color ink printer. This is the part you would want to spend a bit more on, as it will control what you can do and how good it will look.

Try to find a printer that has support for different sizes of paper and different paper types. Preferably, you're looking for a printer that can print as small as A6 and as large as A4.

If you want to save time and effort, you can get ready-to-print business card papers. These sheets are made of card and are pre-cut, so all you need to do is print them and snap them out of the sheet and they're ready. You can usually get a pack for 250 business cards for around $15.

The Software

Often times, the printer will come with its own software for designing and printing your materials. If you've bought your printer second hand or if it did not come with any software, don't despair, there's plenty available online.

A popular option for professionals is Adobe Illustrator. This can be a bit pricey though, so it might not be your first option, if saving money is the goal.

My favourite free program is called SpringPublisher and is made specifically for creating flyers, business cards and posters. SpringPublisher has many built-in templates and an online storage for user-made templates, so you can be sure to get almost any template you need to make your business cards in mere moments.

Size does matter

You now have everything you need to get started. How your business cards, flyers and posters look is entirely up to you, but here are a few sizes you might want to stick to.

Business card sizes

Country/Standard
Dimensions mm
Dimensions in
ISO 216, A8 sized
74 × 52
2.913 × 2.047
Ireland, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Slovenia, Portugal, Turkey
85 × 55
3.346 × 2.165
ISO/IEC 7810 ID-1, credit card sized, Australia
85.60 × 53.98
3.370 × 2.125
Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan, Sweden, Vietnam, India, Colombia
90 × 55
3.54 × 2.165
Japan
91 × 55
3.582 × 2.165
Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia
90 × 54
3.543 × 2.125
Canada, United States
88.9 × 50.8
3.5 × 2
Iran
85 × 48
3.346 × 1.889
Sri Lanka, Argentina, India, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Latvia, Mexico, South Korea and South Africa
90 × 50
3.543 × 1.968

Flyer sizes

Standard
Dimensions mm
Dimensions in
1/8 Page
66.6x104.7
2.625x4.125
1/8 Page Wide
50.8x136.5
2x5.375
1/6 Page
85.7x104.7
3.375x4.125
1/6 Page Wide
66.6x136.5
2.625x5.375
1/4 Page
104.7x133.3
4.125x5.25
1/4 Page Wide
66.6x212.7
2.625x8.375
1/3 Page
136.5x136.5
5.375x5.375
1/3 Page Wide
85.7x212.7
3.375x8.375
1/2 Page
136.5x212.7
5.375x8.375
1/2 Page Wide
104.7x276.2
4.125x10.875
Full Page
215.9x279.4
8.5x11
Full Page Wide
139.7x444.5
5.5x17.5

© 2014 Chris Carlsson

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