About a month ago, I introduced a new series on ideas to grow your creative brand. Ideas personalize your creative business by DIY’ing your ‘marketing’ materials.
I proceeded to show you one of the many ways to Brand-ify yourself as a Creative business by creating a custom leather portfolio notepad holder. And today I’m back with another branding idea… creating personalized business cards:
Of course these business cards are very specific to my brand, but hopefully the steps may trigger some sort of plan/assembly line/perfect business cards for your brand. Why? because there’s no better feeling when you’re a DIY addict to create your own and hear the words “where did you get these done?” to which you [try your hardest to] casually blurt out “oh you know I made them myself.” Shortly after the valley girl comes out “Shut.Up.No.Way, how…” Makes.me.beam.every.time. #nevergetsold
But, I digress…
Many of these steps are very similar to the last set of business cards I made, so please bear with me as we re-purpose a few steps.
First (as usual) gather your supplies:
- Silhouette + Blade + Cutting mat + Silhouette Studio
- Cardstock (in coordinating business colors)
- Professionally printed business cards (from your local printers, I used Office Max. More in a minute)
- 3m Spray Adhesive
- Glue stick
- Craft paper/wax paper/wrapping paper/painting cloth (whatever you have to protect your tables)
- *Netflix tuned to your favorite shows.
A few notes about the supplies:
- You don’t see paper quantities since they’re so specific to your particular business cards-- how many you need, etc. Later on you will see how I calculated how much was needed.
- Trust me, unless you have or have access to some super schmancy printer, you’ll want to get these printed professionally. Plus, you get to see and feel their (most likely) vast weights and sheens of paper saving you a step of locating/purchasing/printing on your own. In addition, every time I seem to have a large and very important print job, my printer seems to take a vacation, so there’s that…
- I used a combination of wax paper (I never use this stuff in the kitchen) and wrapping paper to fully cover my ‘spray zone’ to protect the table from getting sticky.
Here’s the fun part- at least for a Photoshop addict like myself. A little imagination + a little bit of math and you’ll get right through it. For basic elements + other nifty tips, head on over to this business card post (steps 2 &3).
Don’t forget you can save a lot of time by reusing some of the elements you already have on your site (such as blog buttons, header, logos, about photo, etc.) to serve as your foundational pieces. This also provides brand consistency.
This round of business cards –I’ve gone through about 4 rounds now- were inspired by my blog button:
Which conveniently serves triple duty as my email signature and the foundation to my Brand-erfic Leather Portfolio/Notepad Holder. The clean and simple yet bold look, pulled from the button, was best served for the front of the cards. Which left the back of the card wide open for identifying information and the remaining elements on a traditional business card.
To stand out even more, yet in a subtle way, I decided to extend the size of the business cards by less than an inch.
Here’s a prime example that it’s becoming more common to think outside the box with your business cards (collected from Snap! this year):
Anyway, back to the design.
So after I designed my cards, it was time to figure out how to bring them to life. Again, this is specific to my business cards- but get creative on your construction. Bear with me through the next section as it gets a little tricky.
I came up with a four piece construction (made from 3 silhouette files) which made 200 business cards:
- *The front: As you can see from the illustration above, the business card geometric shape, blog name + slogan were to be cut. I was able to fit 10 per page, thus 20 pieces of 8x10 black cardstock were used.
- The Middle: In order to make the slogan stand out, a thin strip of plain teal cardstock was added to the ‘slogan’ area. This was measured and cut fitting 150 per page, thus 2 pieces of 12x12 teal cardstock were used (with plenty left over for my next batch).
- **The Back image: The geometric business card shape + two diagonal stripes per card were cut to accommodate the photo insert (below). This took a bit of work but I managed to squeeze 7 per page, thus 29 printed pieces of 80lb glossy paper from Office Max.
- **Photo Insert: Somehow during my finagling, I was able to cram 7 photo inserts on the same sheet of paper that the back image was on.
*I could have used 12x12 cardstock but my local stores didn’t carry ALL black cardstock packs, looking back the only thing it may have saved was cut time.
** Since Silhouette Studio’s print feature requires registration marks which reduces your cut/work space it pays to play around with sizes. Example:
Originally the back and photo insert were separate printed pieces-- which came to 23 copies for the back, 6 copies for the photos. After realizing there was a LOT of white space left over on the back piece, I was able to do some minor size adjustments to squeeze equal quantities of both on one sheet of paper. This reduced the over-all cost substantially (bonus: less wasted material). If you notice this late in the game, be sure you follow those resized adjustments all the way through your constructed pieces.
Once everything was cut and stacked accordingly, I created a mini-assembly line.
- Assembly: the middle piece (teal) was adhered to the front piece (black) using a glue stick. The photo insert was sprayed with adhesive then tucked into those two diagonal lines. These two pieces, the front and back were then sprayed with adhesive and carefully stuck together.
In all, the most time consuming part was cutting since all those little letters began to add up:
Next time I’ll be sure to enlist some help to knock out these bad boys… wait Haven’s only how many days away?! Hopefully this tutorial will push your creative buttons and
start your own piece-work assembly line helps you
through your DIY’ed business cards.