Read part one of our Simple Guide to Musician Business Cards series on what to do – and what not to do – with your business cards.
We've discussed the dos and don'ts of musician business cards already, so now that you know the basics, you're probably ready to get a batch printed. Generally, there are three ways to get this done: use a template online, work with a designer, or create your own image. Here's a basic rundown of each to help you decide which option is best for your budget and design skill level.
1. Using a template: go for simple but stylish
If crafting a unique image either with a designer or on your own is out of the question, try a website with template options, like Overnight Prints, Vista Print, or MOO. It's hard to make a mistake in terms of quality, because they typically only offer card stock (the thicker, standard paper). All three of the aforementioned make the standard business card size (3.5" x 2") but also have a few others to select from.
The number one rule to remember when taking this route is to avoid a generic-looking card. If the style looks like something you've seen before, consider that design a bad one. A black-and-white shot of a guy holding a guitar might seem harmless, but it's been done so many times that it reads trite, not cool. Plus, it's not you holding that guitar, is it? That's kind of weird when you think about it, huh? Similarly, music notes, microphones, flowers, a city skyline, or any other stock photos or clipart will give an equally uninteresting, run-of-the-mill impression. Additionally, steer clear of fonts that are silly, hard to read, or all-too-familiar ones that automatically irk people (ahem, Comic Sans).
2. Using a custom design: working with an artist
Contracting a professional to design your card is the best way to ensure you'll get great results. This might seem like it's completely out of reach on a DIY budget, but that's not entirely true. There are a few companies that work one-on-one with clients for a personalized design. For example, Small Business Printing offers one-of-a-kind designs for $39.
If you're on a super DIY budget, however, this may still be financially out of reach. But, like with album artwork, you aren't necessarily at a dead end as a result. You can try commissioning a friend or budding artist looking to build his or her portfolio. He or she might be willing to work for a lower price or even trade.
3. Uploading your own image: be cautious
If you've already worked with a photographer for press shots or if you have a logo you want to use, you can easily incorporate that into your own unique business card. Overnight Prints, Vista Print, and various others offer the option to upload your own design.
This isn't recommended for bands or artists who are totally green about design, though. Unless the service allows you to use an image and add text after (e.g., MOO), you'll need to create the entire image yourself. Check the printing size options first, then use Illustrator, Photoshop, or another editing software to lay everything out.
Stay tuned for part three of this series, which will provide a step-by-step guide to designing your own business card that you can upload and have printed online.
Jhoni Jackson is an Atlanta-bred music journalist currently based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where she juggles owning a venue called Club 77, freelance writing and, of course, going to the beach as often as possible.