I really feel for printers. With no events taking place in meatspace, there’s been fewer reasons for anyone to print flyers, brochures, leaflets, catalogues, pamphlets, or business cards. All those pop up roller banners unprinted, rebrands that have been purely digital, posters and t shirts and badges and promo bits and pieces unmade.

With the world opening back up, I got asked to review some business cards, in exchange for a free box full.

I LOVE a good business card so leapt at the chance.

Here’s why geeky content creators and entreprenerds might need a business card.



COSPLAYERS

Cosplayers, I love you. The time, money, and effort spent on creating your costumes often results in phenomenal work. Whether it’s foamwork, sewing, sequins, metalwork, leathercraft, worbla, or even hand whittling some wood, or bodging something together with off the peg items, you make conventions an absolute riot.

Many’s the time when I’ve taken a photograph and wanted to tag the cosplayer in, only to find they’ve given me the wrong Instagram or Twitter handle before heading off into the crowd.

Two ways to rectify this –

HAVE AN EASY TO COMMUNICATE SCREEN NAME

Something you can easily say in a busy convention hall, over the sound of stages and people, and someone just won a prize, and an announcement and…

Keep your handle the same wherever you can (I ran into a problem where Coachingforgeeks works on Instagram but too long for Twitter, where I’m coachinggeeks) and avoid underscores, spaces, and numbers for letters if possible – this might be part of your brand so do what you can

GET A BUSINESS CARD

Being handed a business card, detailing all the social accounts, is an absolute delight. Now I know exactly where to find you, how to tag you, what that awkward spelling of your account is. Amazing! Now people know I’m ‘Coachingforgeeks’ on Instagram but ‘CoachingGeeks’ on Twitter!

TWITCH STREAMERS

Now you lot, you tend to have even more complex account names, riddled with numbers and letters! A mistyped screen name and oh no! That’s definitely not the GTA Online Roleplay I was expecting and I’m very embarrassed as my mum walks past and sees a hot tub streamer.

And I was so hoping to collaborate with you, or run a case study, or throw some bits around…

Or even worse, I have your screen name, but there’s no social media or contact details on your panels, so I have to resort to a Twitch whisper, and hope you check them. Nightmare. Will I even bother?

Easily solved with a business card with your screen name and socials on it. And you don’t even need that many – some people will just take a photo of it. Until you go huge of course, and then it’ll become a collectible and everyone will want one.


PODCASTERS

There are more podcasts than ever. Over 2 million. That’s a lot of shows, and while they’re not all going to be in your niche, that’s still plenty of competition for eartime.

Yes, you need to be making promotional content for each episode, sharing it, making short form video content, quotes and questions and tweets, oh my!

So much to do.  And if I meet you at an event, and you tell me you have a podcast, I need a reminder. Something with your logo and title and places I can find it. Maybe I know someone who would be the perfect guest and want to email you. Maybe I want to invite you to come and do a guest expert session in the Coaching for Geeks Community.

Sure, I could go looking in your show notes, if I can find your show and if I had a good enough signal to actually use my phone. Come on event halls, get better wifi!

A business card solves all this, and provides a little reminder every time I see it.

YOUTUBERS/SERVICE PROVIDERS/BLOGGERS…


See above.

Being able to quickly and accurately take someone’s info in a busy, noisy, crowded place is a wonder.

I have a tin mug of business cards and I flick through them from time to time, see if there’s anyone I could contact regarding articles, projects, collabs etc.




A BUSINESS CARD REVIEW – AURA PRINT

I was offered some free business cards in exchange for a review – it’s what prompted this post, so thank you to Aura Print for providing me not only with some cards, but a piece of content!

I’ve used a few business card providers in the past, and this differed in that I needed to create my design outside of the site, so away to Canva I went, armed with the dimensions needed. This meant I had the freedom to have anything I wanted, rather than choosing from set designs. The freedom! And yet… the pressure!

I went with our recent synthwave logo on a dramatic dark purple backdrop of lightning and the sun setting behind a mountain range. I figured the darker colours would really put them through their paces – would they pull off the crackling electricity and neon chrome glow?

The setup was a little bit more faff than I would have liked. Other sites provide on-site templates to edit, whereas here you upload your finished artwork and Aura Print takes it from there. This gives you much more flexibility and freedom to have something really unique to you and your brand, though comes with the risk of creating something terrible! If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can have Aura Print handle the design work for you for an extra fee. I was feeling bold so went for it!

Of course I managed to get the dimensions wrong (I’d made a US standard size business card, and had no idea we had different standards), but was told they could cut to any size, so not to worry. I wanted a proper sized card, so went back and did it again. This time, I was told I needed to add bleed. Fortunately, Canva enables you to add this in, so bleed was added, and I went back and uploaded my design once more. A few days later, a proof was emailed for approval. I reviewed it, all looked good to me, and my approval was given by email.


And then we waited… 3 weeks later I received an apologetic email – they’d been sending out freebies to 40 bloggers for review, as well as their usual workload, but the cards were now on their way! Usually cards are dispatched within 3 days; this is super speedy compared to many of the other business card providers out there.


The Review




The printing came out very well, if a little darker than on screen. This often happens as monitors are lit and card is, well, it is made of card. They’d done a great job of printing with no blurriness – super sharp even with the Synthwave colours in my logo, and look! Even the tiny pinpricks that are the stars came out! Amazing.

The text came out smaller than expected, but still highly legible – this is wholly my fault for not viewing the proof at actual size. This is where premade designs come into their own; while they offer much less flexibility and creativity, they stop you from having text for ants.

The cards I received were much thicker than expected so I contacted Liam at Aura Print to find out what was going on. I’d asked for 300gsm, which he said was too thin for business cards *looks sadly at my old 300gsm business cards* and so they’d upgraded me to a much heavier weight cardstock. In all honesty? It’s not what I would have chosen – these things are sturdy and solid (there’s no way you’re using these for roach material and we are not ones to judge how you use cardboard at Coaching for Geeks) so they take up a lot more space. Still, if I had ordered this weight, I’d have been thrilled with the outcome.

What did surprise me was that the card was pink, to match the design. I hadn’t selected a painted edge and I think they were trying to do me a favour, with both the card thickness and painted edges,  but again it’s not what I would have chosen.

I checked in with my rep at Aura Print, and normally all this is handled by the online order system – of course we hadn’t used it as this was a freebie for review, so you won’t encounter many of these issues, and yet I have to highlight them as that was my experience.

So where do we stand? Can I recommend Aura Print?

If you have a design that you know will work, 100%, without question. Aura Print’s cards are beautifully printed, and you’ll get twice as many cards than if you were using one of the pre-designed business card services. You can have whatever you want on a variety of card thickness, finishes, and even have custom die cut cards!

If you can imagine it, Aura Print can likely print it for you.

If you’re a bit less sure, you’ll benefit from the handholding that comes with using a templated site, but lose the uniqueness that comes with a bespoke design.

I’ll certainly be back for more, and once conventions start up again you can come and find me and claim one for your own!





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