Business cards, business card strategy, and business cards software

I haven’t carried a personal business card for several years now. I always carry note cards and a pen with me, so when someone asks me for my contact info, I just write it down. But this week I’ve been thinking that it’s time to start handing out my own business cards again.

I always design my own cards and print them out on my printer using Avery inkjet card stock. This works well for me because it means I’m not stuck with the same design for print runs of 500 or 1000 cards at a time; I can change the design every 10 cards if I want.

Being able to do that allows me the luxury of printing multiple business cards to be handed out to different people. What I’m thinking about doing is having a “serious, corporate” business card and a “fun, playful” business card.

Both cards will contain my name, my cell phone number, and a summary of what I do (web development using ASP.NET and SQL Server).

The “fun, playful” card will contain a funny, unforgettable image (no idea what image yet; it definitely will NOT be a photo of me though), my e-mail address, and the URL of either the front page of my website, or my blog (I haven’t decided that one yet).

The “serious, corporate” card will feature an eye-catching but professional image. The last time I had such a card, in 2002, I used a clip art image of a desktop computer. On the serious card I’ll use my e-mail address (I use Gmail to check my e-mail as well, so they both end up at the same spot). I also plan to find some way to move my resume off (I have other domains where I can place it), so that there’s no evidence on the business card that is my website. That way, if they have a stick up their ass like many corporate types do, they won’t find my blog and think badly of me because they see the drunken pics taken of me at the Saucer last weekend, or my rants about Cubicle World, or my posts declaring June to be Tube Top Month. Or at least, I won’t lay my blog right out there in the open for them to find.

The “fun, playful” card will be the default, the one that I hand out 80-90% of the time. It will be the one I give out when I meet people in bars and restaurants, at functions like Mpact and neighborhood association meetings, even some business meetings when I can tell the person I am dealing with has a sense of humor. No idea what I’d use on the card as the “unforgettable” image, but to give you an idea – years ago when I lived in Little Rock, the Arkansas Times ran a story on poor families living on the Delta. There was this B/W photo of a farm family looking down at a hog, and the hog looking back up at the family. Every time I saw that I cracked up for some reason. I’m sorry I didn’t hang on to that photo, because I’d love to scan it and put it on my business card. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything, and that’s the point. People would ask “Why?” and I’d reply “Why not?”

The “serious, corporate” card would be the one I’d use the other 10-20% of the time, when dealing with people who might not have enough of a sense of humor to appreciate the other card, people who believe that you have to project a professional image at all times in the world of business. As a rule I hate dealing with those people, but sometimes it’s necessary, and it’s always important to meet others where they currently are in their beliefs. If one day I once again find myself going on job interviews and talking to corporate recruiters, that will be the card I use in those circumstances.

Since I don’t have the fun card planned out, and since I haven’t figured out where I’m going to put my resume, I’m going to create a temporary card in the meantime with the “serious, corporate” look and the Gmail address. I’ll keep printing those out in batches of 10 and handing them out until I get the other card designed.

That brings me to my next question… what software is good to use to design business cards? When I came back from Thanksgiving break, my mother gave me her Print Shop CD, but it’s nine years old and I want something more current. I realize a lot of people do their cards in Word (which has templates for Avery cards) but I want more control than Word provides. What’s the best business card program out there? Are there any freeware programs that are worth a look? I want a program that can import GIF, JPG and PNG images and knows how to design for standard Avery business card formats.

Too cold to go out tonight… think I’ll stay home and get an early start in the morning.