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I am looking for a tool that can create professional looking business cards. I want something that will export to a format I can take into my local "popcopy" printer.

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Professional business card - youtube.com/watch?v=4YBxeDN4tbk –  MicTech Aug 6 '09 at 18:05
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closed as not constructive by slhck Oct 8 '12 at 15:41

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7 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

If I was going to hire a professional to design me a business card, I would probably hope (s)he would be using Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator

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or illustrator :) –  codingbear Aug 6 '09 at 18:31
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I'm not sure why this is +3, as most designers would use vector graphics for printing (i.e. not Photoshop). –  dlux Aug 6 '09 at 18:54
    
@DLux Answer bandaged. I often forget that Illustrator exists. –  Matthew Ruston Aug 6 '09 at 19:47
    
Photoshop is definitely not the tool to use here, as it is a raster editor. It has some vector features, but certainly isn't designed to output vector graphics. –  e100 Sep 6 '09 at 22:43
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The full-professional answer is Adobe Illustrator. This is what a pro designer would use to knock out a business card. I speak from some experience, since I'm married to one. ;)

However. Illustrator costs a bajillion dollars. If that's off the table, you really just need any vector-graphics capable art program,

If you need something that still does vector graphics but is cheap-as-free / FOSS, try Inkscape (which is essentially the Gimp to Illustrator's Photoshop, if you will.)

For the middle-ground, you also have Adobe (formerly Macromedia) Fireworks, which still costs a lot, but is way cheaper than Photoshop/Illustrator.

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+1 for mentioning Inkscape. It's a great tool. –  Simon P Stevens Aug 6 '09 at 23:13
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Yeah, Inkscape is pretty spectacular. –  Electrons_Ahoy Aug 7 '09 at 0:15
    
Fireworks does not work in CMYK colour, AFAIK, which is rather a limitation when designing for print –  e100 Sep 6 '09 at 22:57
    
Ohh, that's right. Good catch with CMYK. –  Electrons_Ahoy Sep 7 '09 at 22:55
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Personally, I'd use Adobe Illustrator or sometimes Adobe InDesign, but am fairly sure Inkscape would suffice.

I'd work in a CMYK (rather than RGB) colour mode, because I'm specifying blobs of ink, not screen pixels, and output as PDF, making sure fonts are embedded.

Any print shop should be able to take that and turn it into a box of cards. It's their job to worry about laying out as many cards as possible per printed sheet, you don't need to try that.

That will get you so far, but to get really professional results, you'll be better off hiring a professional designer. Partly for their layout skills, but perhaps more importantly, they will be able to discuss with you what's possible in terms of card stock, special ink and finishes, time and cost implications, set up the artwork appropriately and then make sure the printing company produce the result you expect.

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If you're not using Illustrator, or another vector editor like Inkscape, and a Graphic Designer, then just use a word template. The tools turn out to be less important than the skills.

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Interesting that most answers here mention Adobe's solutions. The other being QuarkXPress, which has always been more favourable amongst DTP Professionals.

One should just add that professional software does not always result in profesisional looking design, so hiring a specialized designer for this sort of thing is not a bad idea.

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There are lots of "design your own business card" applications out there. They're great for beginners who either lack the technical expertise to use Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign or who don't feel they have the creativity to produce a good-looking card.

I'd say if you fall into either of those categories, use one of the free or cheap apps. They'll produce cards of the same technical quality as any of the "professional" applications. A PDF or JPEG file produced from the cheap apps is indistinguishable from the ones that the professional apps creates.

If you're going to use a bitmap format for your output (JPEG, PNG, etc.), just make sure your image is at least 600x1050 pixels -- that's 3.5" x 2" at 300ppi. Photoshop or any other bitmap drawing tool is perfectly adequate if the resolution of the final output is enough.

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Go to Vistaprint.com and have fun using their online tools to come up with your own card. You might make one you like, and their rates for cards are great.

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