If you are looking to create high quality, professional business cards at home there are a few things you are going to need. I will discuss the three pieces needed to create professional cards from home. Of course depending on your budget, you may need to combine on one of the steps, but that will lower the quality of your final product. I have found that business cards are still a very effective way to promote my businesses. I do make my own at home and here are the three things you must consider.
1) Use a High Quality Laser Printer with Good Graphic Imaging
Any color printer will put ink on card stock, but there are a few brands that I have found work best. These three models are a little costly. If you have to compromise because of budget restraints that is a common situation that new business entrepreneurs find themselves in. The good news is everything else you need is fairly inexpensive and if you are using the highest quality card stock and design program it can go a long way in making your cards look professional. In my opinion here are the three best printers for printing cards in order:
1) HP color laser jet enterprise CO4025dn printer
2) Lexmark C792de
3) Dell 5130cdc Color Laser Printer
These printers have excellent independent reviews, very clear and brilliant colors, and I have seen them create some great cards. I currently use HP and really like it. A good printer is an investment, but if you purchase one you will be able to print your own high quality cards, fliers, pamphlets, and other promotional materials.
2) Use High Quality Card Stock
The good news is card stock is relatively inexpensive. That being said, get the most expensive you can find. Trying to skimp on your stock will ensure that your cards look cheap and homemade. The only card stock that I have found worth buying is "super heavy business card paper." There are hundreds of sites to buy good card stock on. I personally like "thepappermillstore.com" mainly because of their huge selection.
3) Use a High Quality Design Program (here are some free downloads)
Let me save you some time here folks. There are hundreds of websites claiming to make available free software to design cards. The vast majority either make you pay to actually download your design, or make you buy the cards from them. Here are three good design programs that are actually free to download to your computer. Then you can design and print them.
SmartCodeStudio Community Edition
There is a pay and free version of this one. The free one has good graphics and works just fine. This is one of the most widely used programs for making business cards at home.
Easy Card Creator Free
Easy Card Creator has some great graphical options and is easy to use. It is the most basic of the three listed here, but makes some professional card designs.
DesignPro Limited Edition
This program does a lot of different things, but it is good for making cards. It is a lot of pre-made graphics that you can use.