Sunday, June 23, 2013

Can I Give You My Card?

Many times I have found myself at the end of a conversation, searching my handbag for a pen and paper. "You'd think a writer would have a pen" is the usual quip as stationary is pulled together by both parties. Finally I decided to get cards made, just to have an easy way to give people my website, but a friend suggested I make a card specifically for The I.T. Girl

This took a few attempts. I looked at MooVista Print and Zazzle. These offer various templates that you can personalise with varying degrees of flexibility. I had the Goldilocks experience. Vista isn't very flexible with custom design and the fixed templates didn't give me what I wanted. Zazzle is very flexible but to the point that I felt I couldn't be sure the end result would look the same as it did on screen. This was partly due to an ambiguity around font size - it seemed to shrink as you added more text. Moo, however, offered a good combination of flexibility with restraints on layout that made me feel the restrictions were there to ensure the layout looked good. Moo do offer a way to sidestep their templates altogether but they suggest if you do this you should create a vector-based PDF. It gets quite complicated but they also provide comprehensive steps if you really want to roll up your sleeves. I went with Moo's least restrictive template in the end, with text on one side and a picture on the other. 

Here are the design tips I picked up along the way:

  • Only include one website so it's clear where you want people to go
  • Include a twitter handle so people can find you easily
  • Make the title as large as possible
  • For a book, add as much blurb as possible
  • State what the book is: fiction/non-fiction, it's not always obvious
  • On the text side, don't add another image as this distracts from the important information

Next step was the ordering. The smallest batch I could get with Moo is 50. Including basic price, tax and delivery, this cost me just under £20. Moo helpfully offer a sample of card types so you can compare the glossy card to the matte, the white finish versus off-white. But what would have really helped me would have been a sample of my designs; So I could try out different title sizes, for example and different colours etc. Because I found that I couldn't really tell if a layout worked until I was holding it in my hands. I ended up ordering 3 times! £60 is what it has cost to hold 50 cards that I am happy with. Ordering a larger batch would have been better value but obviously you don't want to do that until you're sure of the design. 

I suppose I should have printed out my designs at home first and stuck them over a card or something to get a better idea, but my own printout would not have been the same as Moo's rendering so still there would have been room for uncertainty. I believe some printing shops will print cards for you. This is a much cheaper option and so would be very appealing if you wanted to experiment with design!

Some people have suggested printing bookmarks and postcards. I love the bookmark idea but it doesn't seem quite right when you've published an ebook!

Let me know about your experiences making a card. I suppose now that I've got the card sorted out, no one will ask for my website again!


  1. Hi Fiona, interesting text, sometimes you have to know some information on how cards are made and its design, well you share these tips, I loved it, I congratulate you on publishing your ebook, thank you also for spending to visit and comment on my blog I send greetings and hugs, kisses have a nice day beautiful :) ........

    1. Thanks so much, Bernardo. I really enjoy checking out your art. Have a nice weekend :)