If you have a good quality personal printer or have access to the one in the office, you can save money by printing your business cards yourself. Familiarize yourself with technical paper and machine instructions for designing professional looking cards. You can manage the elements of the graphic design or leave them with a friend in the arts who owes you a favor.
Part 1 of 2: Choosing the card stock
Step 1. Purchase card stock that is compatible with your printer
Check the maximum card stock weight your printer can support before purchasing. Most business cards are printed on card stock weighing 220 g / m2 (grams per square meter), while some companies prefer stronger paper of 300 g / m2. If you are using a personal printer, consult the user guide to find the maximum paper weight the machine can support. Card stock that is too heavy for printers may cause jams (on a laser printer) or scaly images.
Many printers have a manual feed slot typically found behind the rear access door that feeds thick papers a straighter path, reducing the risk of folding or jams. On some printers, you may need to adjust the rear platen instead. Follow the instructions in the user manual for printing on envelopes
Step 2. Check the finish of the card stock
Glossy paper can damage incompatible laser printers. Inkjet printers need the coated card stock to reproduce a crisp image.
Most personal printers use dye-based inks. If yours uses pigment ink (which is a bit duller, but fade resistant), it may not print well on some types of coated card stock
Step 3. Look for pre-cut paper (recommended)
Consider saving yourself cuts by printing on perforated paper intended for business cards. Choosing the standard formats relative to your region is usually a very convenient option.
- A standard business card in Canada measures 50 x 90 mm.
- The most used format in Europe is 55 x 85 mm.
- Business cards used in China are usually 55 x 90 mm in size. The dimensions of the cards in Korea and Japan are a little different.
- You can use non-perforated paper, but using a paper cutter is tedious if you need to cut the margins of a large number of cards. Machines that cut business cards automatically are faster, but can still be more expensive.
Part 2 of 2: Design and print business cards
Step 1. Draft the map.
If you haven't already done so, make a first sketch of your business card. Be sure to include this information:
- your name and company logo, as these are the most important details,
- the title of your position and the company name,
- postal and e-mail addresses, telephone number, website and other contact details. Be sure to focus on the channel through which your customers contact you most often.
Step 2. Design the map in Microsoft Publisher
This program is designed for the graphical presentation of printed documents, but is not integrated with all versions of Microsoft Office. These instructions apply to users of Publisher 2010 and later.
Go to Publisher and select Business Cards on the Available Templates page or go to
File → New → Business Cards. Choose the template that best matches your design.
- Adjust the options if you want. Click Create when you are done.
To adjust the size of the predefined templates, choose one from a list mentioned under the sheet manufacturer or adjust the size under
Page creation → Size → Other predefined page sizes.
- Click in the text box and on the logo to insert your own design. Try the menu options for more customization features.
Step 3. Use Microsoft Word
This word processing program doesn't offer as many templates or tools to adjust your design, but it works great with basic shapes. You have three ways to do this with most versions of Word (2010 or later on Windows and 2011 or later on Mac).
- To choose an existing template, select File → New. Then type in the business cards search bar and select the template you want. To do this, you will need an Internet connection.
- To create your own business card without a template, click on the MAILING tab at the top of the window, then on Labels. In the window Envelopes and labels, click Options to select the paper size you want to print on.
- Other business card paper manufacturers may offer other downloadable designs on their websites.
Step 4. Add elements to the back of the business card (optional)
If you are using Publisher, go to the Page Navigation pane, then right click on the current page and select Insert Page. Choose the layout option that best matches your back cover design. If you are using Word, click Insert in the section Pages in the navigation pane, then select Blank Page and design the reverse side from scratch.
- Be sure to put all important information on the front. The back is reserved for a slogan, mission statement or other less important details. This is probably the reason why it is usually left blank.
- Make sure that the margin widths and the number of copies per sheet are the same on both sides. It is recommended that you print on inexpensive plain paper first to make sure both sides are aligned.
Step 5. Print your business cards
If you had selected the template that matches the paper you are printing on, this should automatically configure the printer to the correct settings. Otherwise, select Print and choose a number under the option Multiple copies per sheet to define the number of cards that will be printed on your paper.
- For double-sided business cards, look for the option Duplex in the settings. If your printer does not have duplex printing functionality, you should print only the front side, then turn the paper over and reinsert it into the machine before printing the back side.
- Start printing a page on inexpensive plain paper to test the alignment. Lay the double-sided cards face up to the light to make sure both sides are aligned.
- If business cards don't meet your quality standards despite choosing the right card stock, your home printer may not be up to the task. In that case, try using an office printer or buy a high-end personal printer that has received good reviews from other business leaders.
- Local print shops or online business card printing platforms reproduce better quality cards unlike most personal printers. Their services are expensive, however, especially if you need to ship a large order.