If you're like me, you never got around to getting professional business cards made in over 3 years of freelancing. And if you're like me, you only wake up the day before a conference and realise that shit you're about to be super-embarrassed when somebody hands you their card and you'll have to sheepishly apologise for not having one. So if you're like me, read on.
Because I've gone through the above situation multiple times. And since I have a desk full of stationery and craft tools, I have created 3 different styles of handmade business cards over the last few years. Follow a couple of ideas that I'm about to describe and you'll be DIYing your own unique cards super soon. Plus the feel of a handcrafted each-piece-is-unique card is unmatched in mass-produced ones.
1. Vintage looking, rubber-stamped business cards
If we ever meet IRL, this is what I'm likely to hand you. These take me approx 2-3 minutes per card to make thanks to the wonder of custom stamps! The paper used is blank business cards from Muji.
That's a custom stamp I got made of my old logo. A rubber stamp made from your brand's logo is something you will never get tired of applying everywhere! And they are super easy and cheap to get made. Ask around or check JustDial to find a stamp-maker in your area. You don't need a fancy vendor, local cheap shop will do just fine. This big stamp cost me a princely ₹100 to get made and I apply it on literally every blank surface I come across. If you've ever attended one of my workshops, you would have got an envelope with this stamp on it.
I've used a Tim Holtz Distress Stamp pad in walnut shade combined with the standard red pad to get this nice ombre-ish feel.
That's a custom-made name stamp and the contact details are written in calligraphy. For the contact details, I've used a pointed pen with Winsor & Newton India Red ink but you can totally do this part with a normal pen. Just keep it neat and readable. Better yet, do what I'm about to do and get a custom rubber stamp made for these 2-3 lines too.
Touched off with a Traveler's Company rubber stamp (the round postal design) bought from Tokyo (click to see my other stationery adventures there). You can improvise this part with whatever stamps, stickers or other craft material you may have.
2. Geometric patterned, custom-stamped, handmade business cards
This is what I give out to contacts from my day-job (more like freelance-business). I made this batch of 10 cards on a 2-hour flight to a client meeting. This one's also on the blank Muji business cards.
The pattern is made with this clear stamp that you can order online in India. For a ₹130 stamp, I feel like I've gotten several times my money's worth. The name is a custom stamp used in the first design too.
‘Product Designer’ and contact details are written with this Tombow Fudenosuke hart-tipped brush pen (super-easy to control and must-try if you're into calligraphy at all). You can order it online from Amazon.in. But, again you can use normal pens and just do it neatly or get a custom stamp made for this part too.
3. Nailpaint stained and brush-lettered business cards
Yup, that's hot pink nail paint! It's been a few years since I made these and my skills, style and brand has evolved since then. Though my nails are still hot pink. Muji wasn't in India when I made these so I had to sit and cut a cartridge sheet into business-card size.
Just smudge some light-coloured nailpaint in the middle and write your name (or brand name) with a small paintbrush and black drawing ink (or poster/water colour).
You can use the same paintbrush with a very light hand like I did here, or get the Tombow Fude brush pen I mentioned earlier, or use normal pens and just stay neat.
Hope that gives you some ideas to start hand-crafting your own business cards. Just have some patience (consider the first few only prototypes) and use whatever craft supplies you have lying around. And remember to embrace the imperfections, not fight them.