Graphic designer based in Liverpool, UK

Bad business, good business

Unfortunately, though I thought I’d have my new site up by now, there’s been a bit of trouble with the back end. Hopefully it won’t be too much longer before I can finally get it up and running.

One of the main reasons that I’m so eager to launch it is because of the increasing priority to simply get my name out there. I graduate University in May and long before then, I’d like to have a few freelance projects under my belt and the only way to do that is to promote the hell out of myself. I’ve already begun taking smaller steps than the relaunch of my site. This includes fantastic new business cards, which I very much love.

New business cards
New business cards

Via the purchase of Michael Bierut’s 79 Short Essays on Design on Amazon, I recieved a flyer offering me 250 business cards from VistaPrint at what I thought was a rather good price. I had been looking for some new business cards for quite some time, after using very unprofessional ones that I had printed myself.

So, I fired up Illustrator and designed my card, with the dimensions of 85x54mm, which is a standard dimension for a business card (Same size as a credit card, for those that don’t know) and uploaded it to VistaPrint. Confirmed all of the options and paid my £19 or so. I was told I’d have them within two weeks. Not bad. Or so I thought.

When they came, I was very disappointed with them. The first, most glaring problem with them is that they were completely the wrong size. That’s not to say that VistaPrint had made an error, however. For some reason, VistaPrint (And I’m talking about the version here) seems to think that the standard dimensions for a business card is 87x49mm. It’s not.

I did think that it was VistaPrint’s fault to begin with and was very quickly onto their site to check out what the hell had gone wrong. It was only after finding their artwork specifications page that I realised it was me who had been foolish enough to submit artwork without looking at their specs first. The only reason I did so was because 85x54mm is, as I say, such a standard size for British business cards.

Additionally, even if the dimensions were correct, the print quality and stock were poor. The colours were dull and the stock was thin. Not professional looking at all. So, in short, it was £19 badly spent.

I still needed professional business cards, however and I spent a great deal looking for a decent site that would print them to my specifications, not theirs. I found, who, while only offering 50 cards for the price that VistaPrint were offering 250, would happily print them at 85×54, on heavier stock and with a laminate finish. Again, I submitted the artwork and they told me it’d be about two weeks for delivery.

I recieved them within ten days and when I opened the package, I smiled. Professional, proper sized, vivid business cards, bearing my logo and my name.

I’m a big fan of tactility when it comes to design and these felt great to hold. For those that don’t know much about business cards, when a card is laminated, it’s not the same laminate that you’d find on the likes of membership cards. It’s a kind of smooth sheen. Silky to the touch. Not glossy, not quite matte. Perfect.

I sent an email to Cards Made Easy, thanking them for deliverying a professional finish. They put my email up on their site on their customer comments page. They also noted that I was a graphic designer and offered me a 10% discount on any further client work that I might send their way. I’ll certainly be using them again.

It’s amazing how the likes of VistaPrint can get business cards wrong when they’re such a huge company and yet Cards Made Easy, while you could call the underdog, gets it right and goes a step further too, offering discounts to graphic designers and replying to emails personally, rather than with automated responses. It’s really nice to see.