Yes, you need a business card (and 11 designs I love)

by Rachel Smith
18 August 2013

Roger has guts, that's all I can say.I met with an editor the other day who’s about to go freelancing and she asked me if I thought having a business card was absolutely essential. I do, actually. I know a lot of freelancers who don’t have business cards, or who put it in the non-essentials basket when money’s tight – which is totally understandable. Still, it’s part of how you ‘brand’ yourself (wanky as that sounds), and right now, when the industry is going through so much upheaval, I reckon it’s an essential investment to help any freelancer stand out more – and be remembered.

If you’re thinking about getting cards, or updating existing ones, here are a few ideas, from hilariously budget (like Roger’s, right) to push-the-boat-out beautiful (like some of the letter-press designs below). Card costs vary wildly but you don’t have to spend loads to get something you’d be proud to hand over to an editor or potential employer. If you have a specific idea, I’ve included some design and printing contacts at the end.

business card design canva templateCanva

Along with using professional designers at RL, we use Canva for day-to-day stuff – social, blog images and so forth. It’s a great tool packed with templates you can modify, including those for business cards.

From Zazzle, editor. business cards (customise for journalist, copywriter, blogger - anything you want)

Zazzle

Sometimes, simple is good, like these customisable cards for journalist, editor, blogger, designer – you chuck all your details on the back. They also have others, like this ‘Writer’ card, which is also fully customisable. At Zazzle it costs around $35 for 100 cards, but gets cheaper the more you buy.

Business card from Moo Designs for a copywriter / proofreader, titled 'You missed a bit'

Zazzle's 'Writer' business card

Moo Designs

A US company I discovered through blogger Swiss Miss. Moo has heaps of beautiful designs to choose from, including some by famous cartoonists like Hugh MacLeod. This cute card for a copywriter / proofreader (right) says it all really, and I also dig a simple vintage typewriter card like the blue one below left (customisable on the back). Prices at Moo start at $20 for 50 cards up to $199 for 400.

Vintage typewriter cards from Moo Designs, different colours available

A letter-press business card for writer Caitlin HallIce Cream Social 

A US design company created these letterpress cards for writer Caitlin Hall. All the info is in the speech bubble at the front and the back has space to scribble on. Click on the picture to see more pix of these super-cute business cards.

business card stamp

Business Card Stamp

Hate the idea of carrying cards around, but still want a way to let people know where to find you? A custom stamp could be just the thing; it hangs off your keychain so you can stamp your ‘calling card’ wherever you like. And a downright bargain at just $25.

notepad business cardNotebook business card

This card, from Etsy shop Simply Pixel, is kinda cute if you want something a bit organic and not so corporate. It’s handmade, and cards are emailed to you in a sheet.

radio cardMicrophone card

Any radio journos out there? I love this microphone-style card to instantly tell people what you do. Custom-cut cards like this one are incredibly memorable, but be warned – they’re quite expensive to have printed.

"Press pass" business card by Daniel Duhig

Daniel Duhig

Daniel is a UK-based designer who created this stunning letter-press ‘press pass’ business card for journalist Carlton Boyce. Letterpress cards are becoming much more popular although they can also be more pricey to print.

Mei Yen Chua's business cards by The Hungry WorkshopThe Hungry Workshop

I love, love, love the stuff these guys are doing. They’re Aussies and their letter-press business cards are drool-worthy. Like this one, for Mei Yen Chua’s publishing and editing business.

You can't go wrong with a striking design like this.

Not sure where to get yours done? As you can see, there are heaps of options locally and overseas for getting cards printed. Locally, I love the letterpress cards at The Distillery. Or try Amber at Sprowt in Melbourne; she’s a fantastic designer and can arrange printing as well. I also recommend two designers we use regularly: Justine Ramsay and Jenny Lee. If you have artwork from a designer and just need printing, check out CMYK Printing – prices are reasonable because they’re an online print store. I’ve had cards, letterhead and flyers printed here and have always been impressed with the outcome.

Rachel Smith

10 responses on "Yes, you need a business card (and 11 designs I love)"

  1. Leo Wiles says:

    Gorgeous designs Rach. My card is an IG format style square with a coating that doesn’t allow for writing notes on the back. So when I order my next batch I’ll be starting my research here.

  2. Signe says:

    This comes at just the right time, as I’m in the middle of investigating printing places for my first freelancing cards. I agree they’re a must – there have been so many occasions already when I just. need. a. card.

  3. I totally agree, they are worth it! And it’s worth investing in cards that are worth it. Going cheap with outlets like VistaPrint make you look cheap. As a friend of mine says, if you’re going to be expensive, you have to look expensive. Invest in decent design and stock. it pays off.

  4. Rachel Smith says:

    Thanks for the comments guys, glad this post is of help 🙂 Totally agree Vanessa about spending a bit more if you can.

  5. I loooooooove Moo Cards – the company is a delight to deal with. (I have been using the UK arm rather than the US one.) For example, when one set of business cards got lost in the mail, Moo immediately printed and sent me out another box, free, no questions asked.

    One drawback: their express shipping from the UK to Australia is a bit pricey, so regular post is a better option if you can manage the lead time.

    I would prefer eventually to go local, but as someone with minimal design skills I found that Moo was exactly what I needed when I first went freelance.

    1. Rachel Smith says:

      They look amazing. I got lost in all the groovy designs when I was checking them out! Thanks for the postage tip too, Sarah.

  6. Joshua Cole says:

    Thanks for the advice, business cards are a confusing issue for freelancers and it’s nice to have some suggestions/clarity as to what to look for. I quite like the minimalism of Zazzle, they may be my first point of call.

    1. Rachel Smith says:

      Great Jo! And glad I could give you some options, Joshua. Zazzle have some gorgeous ones for writers and not too exey.

  7. jotracey says:

    Thanks for this Rachel, I’ve jumped online & ordered some long overdue cards from Zazzle…

  8. DBC Digi says:

    Nice blog!
    Thank you for the valuable information, keep updating us with such amazing blogs.

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