Why we made a business card that cost $.56 apiece, instead of $.05

Everyone knows that you can print online for a fraction of the cost of traditional local printing.  Online providers, for example, will give you 250 full color cards for the price of shipping alone, if you use one of their online templates. So why then did we just deliver business cards to a client that cost over 50 cents a piece and only had one color ink?  The answer is “branding.”

Branding is one of those words, in the group of words that include “ironically” and “literally,” that are hard to define and get used a lot in the wrong context.  In this case, we designed the business card for a client with a long history of success as an entrepreneur and businessman.  After leaving his position at a major software company, he found himself without a business card.  The question became, what do you put on a business card, when you do not have a company name? How do you design a card, that explains who you are and communicates the “brand” you have built over the years, without covering it with a list of your accomplishments?

The answer was a  business card, printed with a vintage letterpress on 100% cotton Crane paper that only contained the client’s name, home city, phone number, email address, and personal webpage URL.  We chose a mix of serif and san serif fonts and a green-gray Pantone ink (447U).

For those who have never ordered high end stationary, or have never been involved in buying wedding invitations, here are a couple of definitions.

  1. Letterpress is the old style of printing where the printing plate is made with raised metal type and inked, then driven into the paper. Originally, letterpress was done with pre-made lead type and wooden blocks to create the layout.  Today, plates can be made digitally.  The result is type and images that is below the surface of the paper, with ink at the bottom.  It creates a very nice looking print, that has a unique feel.
  2. Crane is arguably the finest American paper company. The U.S. money is printed on custom Crane paper.  Their paper is 100% recycled cotton fiber and has been since 1801.  For this job, we choose the Lettra Ecru 300g paper.
  3. Pantone is the standard for color consistency.  If you absolutely must have the color you want, choose a solid Pantone color ink. Otherwise your piece will be printed with four color, that mix on the page to create the color.  With single color inks, there are no halftone dots, just solid colors.

Printing on a vintage press is not like the overnight print shops or online megaprinters, the cards took almost three weeks to print as the printer had a couple of emergency wedding announcements and a family reunion.   They are beautiful cards and the finished effect was well worth the wait.  I just hope he does not change his cell phone any time soon.  It would be a shame to have to write on them. If anyone would like to see the cards, or get a quote on a letterpress print job, please give us a call.  In the right situations, the end result is worth every penny.

If you give out hundreds of business cards, or want them done quicker, we do have access to high quality printers that use more modern printing techniques. We can order full color business cards, brochures, catalogs, stickers at prices that beat any local print shops or online websites.  Our printer works only with design firms and provides prices that are pretty amazing and fast turn around time.  We would be happy to provide you a quote for any existing print job, or custom design you the perfect marketing pieces.