How to make a business card to promote your business (or book, or art…) for under $100

I spent today making new business cards for Creativindie. I love making business cards. I’ve made dozens of sets of business cards for all my little projects, websites and books. Business cards are handy to give out to people when you’re casually talking about stuff, or new people you meet, and they can even serve as mini-adverts or posters if you find a place to leave them out or stick them up. I’m picky about my cards and like most of my stuff, it tends to be bold and graphic and busy.

A clean, minimalist, beautiful business card design can probably work for you just as well for some settings (for example, I need to make another one that’s just for academia and literature conferences).

But here are a few tips for getting things right.

1) Where to find a cheap business card designer or template

Personally, I like to browse through for business card designs I like. Most of them cost less than $10 and you can usually find a pretty good one. Once you change the pictures, colors, text and maybe font, nobody will recognize it as a template. If you don’t have Adobe Photoshop yourself, you probably know someone who does. Otherwise you could post something on or offering someone to custom the template for you (I’d offer around $50, probably less than 1 hour of work).

I use for printing, because they’re fast and cheap and the quality is great. They also make it easy to add Spot Varnish (so that only the text is shiny), which makes your card a little more impressive. I just paid $25 for 500 cards, and $7 or so for shipping, for full cover, double sided business cards, which is a fantastic deal.

Altogether (for the template, the design work, and the printing and shipping) it should cost under $100. And YES, you should pay that much for your business cards!

2) What to put on your business card

I like to put my picture on my business cards, so people can remember what I look like. I also think it makes it more personal, so people feel like they “know me” and it’s easier for them to get in touch with me if they need something.

If you are promoting a business or service, make sure you put down all the things that you offer.

I don’t really have a phone number (because I travel) but I have a phone number with Skype that people can call as leave a message at, so I put that. I added my email, job title and website, and the company logo. I tried to match the design style and colors of my business (this website).

I wanted to add something more inspirational, like “helping authors and artists get rich” or my tagline “creative independence for luminous living” but that stuff is too vague. Nobody is going to think to themselves one day “I’d like to live more luminously” and pull out my card.

So instead I wrote a short but to the point tagline “make more money with your art or writing” and the boring but tangible services that bring in the most money and that more people will actually need – book covers, formatting, publishing and marketing.

derek-new-cardsBd     derek-new-cardsbackfinalweb

(Front and Back View)

The little social media icons don’t “link” to anything of course, and I didn’t list my twitter or facebook because people can do that easily from this site. I also didn’t add a Google QR Code. They make sense, but I never use them with my smart phone, though lots of people do; probably because I don’t do any serious web searching on my phone when I can just use my computer.

You might want to add one. I think they’re a little ugly.

If you decide to add a picture, try to get a professional one taken.

If you add a website, don’t add a link, complicated subpage. If it’s too long and confusing, nobody is going to type it all out. They will just Google search for you.

3) Promoting your art or writing with your business card

Business cards for your book are a great idea, they’re cheaper than postcards and easier to hand out. I would put:

  • Your book’s cover on the front, price and “Look for it on Amazon” or a link to your website.
  • A price and a great blurb or review
  • On the back, an author photo, short bio and email/phone number (unless you don’t want to give out your personal details to strangers, then just a website is fine.

kamicaruscardFor art or an artist website, definitely have a color picture of some of your favorite work, maybe one on the front and one on the back (or a painting on front, artist photo on back). I also love the 3D popout easel business cards by my friend Egil Paulsen.

You may be shy about putting your photo/face out there – but keep in mind if you’re trying to promote your art, writing or business, making yourself personable with a face will make all of your efforts more fruitful. You can’t market your business or products and try to hide yourself as well.


Do you have any other tips about making great business cards? Please share!


About Derek Murphy

I help authors and artists turn their passions into full-time businesses, make a bigger impact, and blaze a luminous trail of creative independence. Right now I'm in Taiwan finishing a PHD in Literature, writing several books, and managing a handful of online businesses. Find me

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