Business Card Design Galore – Uprinting.com Review + Brief Tutorial + Blogger Business Card Showcase

By Selene M. Bowlby in Marketing on October 10th, 2008

A few months ago, Jon Phillips of Freelance Folder posted a review of Uprinting.com‘s printing services. I was impressed with what I saw and left a positive comment on the post.

Not long after, I was approached by a representative of Uprinting.com asking if I’d be willing to accept a similar offer – free printing of 1,000 business cards in exchange for a sponsored review.

How could anyone say no to an offer like that?

As I was in the process of changing my business address, I knew that I would be needing new cards fairly soon – so I immediately said Yes!

The (Not-So) Fine Print

So, first the disclaimer – yes, this is admittedly a sponsored review. But, as with Freelance Folder, and also with Jeremy of Papertree Design who was given the same opportunity – I will say that it is a truthful review.

I’m quite happy with my new business cards!

Oh My God, It Even Has A Watermark!

Of course, with new business cards comes the opportunity for a re-design. There were a few changes I wanted to make to my old card, so this was the perfect chance to do so.

My first step was getting some design inspiration, which was quite easy thanks to Flickr. In addition to doing a simple search for “Business Card” I also stumbled upon Daily Poetics Business Cards Set which has some amazingly beautiful and unique business card designs.

I also found great inspiration on UCreative, Faveup and OMG It Even Has a Watermark which got it’s name from a scene in the movie American Psycho.

I’d call this scene a classic that I’m sure any designer can smile at.

So, thanks to great feedback that I received on Twitter and Flickr, I finalized my design and started the process with Uprinting.com.

A Mini Business Card Design Tutorial

There are several things that are important to keep in mind when designing your business cards and preparing your file(s) to send to the printer.

I started my design career with print / graphic design, so these were all second nature to me… like riding a bike – you just don’t forget this stuff!

But for someone new at design, or who is strictly a web designer, it’s important to take note of these steps.

  • Be Sure to Work in CMYK
    This is the standard for print work, as it uses standard ink colors of Cyan Magenta Yellow and Black, as opposed to designing for the web which utilizes RGB – the colors of Red Green and Blue which make up your monitor display.
  • ALWAYS Work In High Resolution
    When designing for the web, low resolution – 72dpi – is the standard. However for print, you ideally want to create files at 300dpi. Slightly lower resolutions are sometimes acceptable – I’ve seen 150dpi and 266dpi used on occasion. However the higher the better, so try to stick with 300dpi. This ensures the best possible quality of the final product.
  • Don’t Forget About Trim and Bleed
    The final size of a business card – the Trim Size – is 3.5″ x 2″. However if you have a background image or color that extends to the edge of the card, the file you create needs to be bigger than this to accommodate Bleed. This is an additional 0.125″ added to all four sides of your card – making the final document size 3.75″ x 2.25″. This is to ensure that when the card is cut (or trimmed) any slight shifting won’t leave a white border around the outside of your card.
  • White Space or the Safe Margin Is Important, too
    As with possible shifting on the trimming on the outside bleed area of your card, you want to be sure no crucial information on the inside of your card gets cut off, either. That’s why it’s equally important to take into consideration the Safe Margin, which is 0.125″ all around the inside of the Trim area. This is the equivalent of the Print Margin if you were using a word-processing program such as Microsoft Word. I personally like to be sure I’ve got a lot of white space, so I doubled this for my own business cards.

Free Proofing and File Review

Luckily Uprinting.com is great about providing all of the file specifications, as well as letting you download templates for various file formats. Very helpful to say the least!

Even better – if you have any questions while creating your cards, you can also speak with their Pre-Press Specialists for help.

Once you’ve designed your cards and ready to send the final files to be printed, you are able to take advantage of Uprinting.com’s free proofing services. With this, you are able to select the size, card stock, and quantity of your cards – then upload your files and select the option to get a free online proof.

I went with the standard 3.5″ x 2″ cards on a 14 point matte card stock – the thicker the better, as it gives your card a good sturdy feel. Options range from 14 point matte, 14 point glossy and even 13 point  recycled. If you have no idea what these mean or look like, you can order a free sample booklet which shows you sample card stocks and finishes for business cards, postcards, brochures, etc. I ordered a sample myself, and received it in less than a week.

As for the proof, it wasn’t more than four hours after submitting my files, that I received an email from another Uprinting.com representative, letting me know that my files had been received, and that a proof was available for me to approve of online.

The proof itself was a high resolution PDF file that showed all of the crop marks. As you can see from the image above, it also showed the location of the trim – including the rounded edges that I had requested via email.

Through their online proofing area, I was able to approve of the proof so they could begin the printing process. All the while, I was able to log in whenever I wanted to check the status of my order.

1000 Cards – All Shiny, Bright and New

With my cards being provided for free (in exchange for this review), I selected their longest turnaround time. I didn’t want to take advantage and request a 2 day turnaround time, since I wasn’t actually paying to have these cards printed.

So I opted for the longest time – 6 business days – but much to my pleasant surprise, my cards were shipped only 4 business days later via UPS ground. A few days later I was opening a box of 1,000 fresh new business cards!

I must say that I was very pleased with the entire experience with Uprinting.com. Everyone that I was in contact with at the company was very nice and helpful.

They delivered ahead of schedule, and the print quality is good. What more could I ask for!

Are You A Blogger? Get Your Card Featured!

While we’re on the topic of business cards, I wanted to let you know about a feature that Brian Yerkes is running on his blog, called Business Cards of Bloggers.

If you are a blogger with a business card, head over to Brian’s web site and check out the business cards of other bloggers like yourself. At the least, it’s another good source of inspiration. But if you have your own card, you can also get a bit of exposure and link juice by adding your card to the bunch, too.

All you have to do is mention the feature on your own blog, and of course leave a comment on the original post, too. Then send in a picture of your card, and it will be added to the mix, as well.

I’m headed over to send in my card right now!

About the Author

About the AuthorSelene M. Bowlby is a web designer and front-end web developer with over 15 years of professional experience in the design industry. As the owner of iDesign Studios she specializes in creating custom WordPress driven web sites for other small businesses. Follow Selene on . more »

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  • http://www.twoplusonedesign.com Sam Panice

    Great post! It is awesome that Uprinting.com hooked you up. Cards look great and I hope to work with them some time in the future. Thanks for the review!

  • http://www.theherne.com Herne

    My question would be, did you get better service because you were doing a review or is this the standard service?

    Is there an additional fee for round corners? Are they willing to do custom die cuts? Do they print on other types of stock, such as clear mylar? Do they do short runs? These are the sorts of questions I always asked.

    I wanted to get some postcards done once of some photographs I took while in the UK but I was only able to find places that would print a run of 1000. Now, I don’t need 1000 postcards of the same image so I wanted to do 1000 cards of say 10 images, or 100 cards x 10 images but nobody was interested, at least not at the sort of prices I was willing to spend.

    Another problem is that I live in Canada and 98% of these sorts of companies are located in the USA. So this brings up all sorts of problems with excessive shipping costs and duties.

  • http://www.arronlock.com Arron Lock

    Your cards look sexy! I am thinking about new cards soon so maybe I will give Uprinting.com a shot.

  • http://www.idesignstudios.com/blog/ Selene M. Bowlby

    @Sam – Thanks – glad you like the post! It was a great surprise to be contacted by Uprinting. Definitely a great opportunity that I’m very glad for!

    @Herne – All great questions! I don’t have all the answers, so I mentioned your comment to the Uprinting representative I’ve been speaking with. They will be contacting you with further details (I’m not sure yet if it will be via email or through the comments here – I’ll send you a message if it’s a response right on the blog).

    As for the service, I’m fairly certain it is standard good service regardless if you’re a paid customer or not. The rounded corners weren’t readily available on the site (I had to request them) so that might be additional. My previous batch of cards with another company charged extra for the rounded corners (but it was very small – again a different company, but if I remember correctly it was $2.00 per 100 cards).

    For business cards, Uprinting had options of 250, 500, then up in increments of 1000. It’s good that they also will do custom sizes, which not everyone offers.

    Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful questions – they will be contacting you with more info (better answers than what I could provide myself)!

    @Arron – Thank you so much! I’m glad you like my cards! I toiled over the design quite a bit (ask any of my followers on Twitter at the time, LOL). I think you will be happy with Uprinting if you end up working with them!

  • http://www.rackaid.com/ jeffatrackaid

    I am a big fan of VistaPrint. While I’ve had some color matching and bleed issues, I’ve found them very easy to use. Have you ever used VistaPrint and how do they compare to Uprinting?