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Tips for making business or invitation cards using Vistaprint
There are several ways to create contact cards as invitations to your church, or to highlight your ministry website or business, or to use as a personal address card. Vistaprint is one of the largest online providers of cards and they have offices in 20 countries, so choose the office in your country (if there is one) to benefit from lower delivery costs. (Check also for other companies based in your country.) Here are some tips for using Vistaprint or other online card creation systems. Most tips also apply if you are using your own software and printer as a DIY solution. Vistaprint normally include a free metal container to protect your supply of cards in purse, wallet or pocket; these are also widely available online from other suppliers very cheaply.
- Before you start, ask around and collect a range of cards from business colleagues and friends. Analyze which ones work well, have bad design or misleading/incomplete information. You have room for very few words, so those words must be carefully chosen. First impressions count.
- In writing your text, assess carefully how the recipient will read and perceive it. Good communication is not about you, it’s about them. If you are producing a contact card for a church or evangelistic website, avoid Christian jargon, preachy or churchy words. Your card is meant to be a welcoming introduction, not a sermon. If possible, test your wording and design on a few friends who do not share your faith.
- All contact cards should contain an URL! Even if you are making a personal address card with just your own contact details, you can still recommend a few outreach websites as worth visiting.
- You can choose single-sided or double-sided cards. If you do not need to communicate lots of information, single-sided may be adequate. However, a double-side card can obviously carry more vital information. Keep word count to a minimum though.
- Double-sided is approximately twice as expensive as single-sided, unless you opt for black & white on the reverse side. (If you are printing your own cards, it is very hard to get precise line-up on the back, for a second side.)
- Using one or two colors is cheaper than full colour, and can still have impact with a simple design.
- A limited number of graphical backgrounds are available for Vistaprint’s special offers. However a far wider range of backgrounds under various subject areas are available. (Other companies offer choices of backgrounds, not always so comprehensive.) Personally I would steer away from their religious backgrounds for a church or evangelistic card.
- Vistaprint and other online design options will be familiar to anyone who has used a desktop publishing program such as Publisher or Serif: draggable resizable text-boxes; color, size and font-face options; and the ability to import and resize a graphic. A few functions are not available – for instance you cannot color individual letters or words within a text box differently to the rest. (There is a work-round: create a row of text boxes so that you can color or style individual words or letters differently.) There is also a rotate option for text boxes (though only in 90-degree jumps). Used sparingly, it can be a useful design feature.
- Choose font colors carefully. If you select a pale or white background, use dark fonts. However, black itself is rather stark for main headlines: these usually look much better in a dark colour that complements the background. If you choose a very dark background, use white for your smaller lettering, but consider a very pale shade for larger text elements. Don’t use bright reds or blues just because you can! Google for online color-matching charts and advice.
- Experiment with different font faces. Vistaprint’s default font choice is not necessarily the best. Consider Arial or Tahoma for smaller text, perhaps making it bold for added clarity. For headlines, experiment with other font choices that match the mood and purpose of the card. But note that cursive or very decorated styles are much harder to read. Experiment by using bold and/or italic with different fonts. Italics can provide an ‘active’ sense of movement.
- In choosing your font styles, sizes, and colors, remember that the completed card will be much smaller than the Vistaprint design interface on your computer screen. It is possible to pay for a PDF proof, but the easy way to get an impression of finished size and appearance is to take a ‘print screen’ shot (there is a button on your keyboard for this) of the design interface, then crop it and resize to business-card size and print it out. You can do this with any graphics program (or achieve it after a fashion in MS Word) Although resized like this, the design will be less sharp than the finished product, it will give you a sense of how your text sizes and overall design will appear.
- Register and log-in to Vistaprint, then you can save a design and even make up several alternatives – you do not need to complete the order immediately. We highly recommend that you ask someone with design experience, or at least a good eye for color and style, to log-in to your saved designs and advise you or make improvements themselves. You also must have your text proof-read by someone else. It is very easy to spell something wrong, or miss out a vital piece of information.
- Vistaprint are very successful at marketing. They will attempt to sell you other products as you go through the ordering process! Don’t be tempted by things you do not need. The upgrade to glossy card may be tempting, but it nearly doubles the price.
- Price also depends on how soon you need the order. If you are prepared to wait up to 21 days, it is cheaper. So plan ahead. When comparing prices from different providers, factor in all the costs such as delivery.
- Read more about contact cards, and see our recommendation for an e-book about card design by Yvon Prehn.
related pages within the Websites that work menu links
recommended books on church ministry, including free downloads
valuable online videos about web ministry