I'm looking for an on-line service that can create business cards using a color photo background of my choice. Ideally, they'll have a website that gives me a realistic preview of the cards, ordering in smaller increments (100 would be nice), and the ability to tweak the brightness of the background image so that the text is not overshadowed.

This one would be cool, for example:

The DG-1000 at Panoche

But I actually have a few ideas I'd like to play with.

I know about the excellent Flickr MiniCards made by MOO, but they're not actually the right size. I'm looking for honest to god business cards.

The folks at Qoop do cool stuff with Flickr images too, but they don't print business cards.

Various web searches have turned up a ton of folks who claim to do it, but there are many sites to try and most of them likely suck. I'm looking for recommendations from someone who has done this before.

Any pointers?

Posted by jzawodn at January 02, 2007 02:12 PM

Reader Comments
# John Lilly said:

hi jeremy --

i don't have a supplier for these, but ran into someone in tokyo last month who had a business card like this -- i can give you his contact info if you want to talk with him to find out where he got them (might be a japanese vendor, but not sure). just don't want to post his address publicly, so msg me if you want more info.


on January 2, 2007 02:17 PM
# Ismael Ghalimi said:

Have you considered VistaPrint? Their service is free and has some good press.

Best regards

on January 2, 2007 02:27 PM
# said:

I use iprint.com. they did my photo business cards (jeremy, I think I gave you one a while back...) and I'm quite happy with them. Did some last-minute christmas cards using a family photo, also, with good results.

on January 2, 2007 02:31 PM
# said:

Check out 4by6.com. You'll need to do some manual work (or pay for their design service) but the products look and feel great.

on January 2, 2007 02:31 PM
# Duncan Mak said:

VistaPrint is really good.

on January 2, 2007 03:01 PM
# Charles said:

The problem here is, 4 color printing just isn't very good at reproducing tiny pictures that fit on a business card, unless you're using extremely expensive, high quality printing like 175 linescreen or better. Also paper quality is an issue, high quality color printing usually requires glossy, coated paper stock, which isn't at all like the traditional rougher paper used for business cards. There are a variety of reasons you're unlikely to find affordable short-run printing (like 100 cards) with high quality, high linescreen printing that would give satisfactory results.
Now if you want really cool business cards, what you want is retro letterpress or intaglio printing. A friend of mine used to hand-print letterpress business cards, he charged $1 per color per card. He showed me one client's cards, it had 5 colors, end cost $5 each. I told him it would be just as cheap to write your info on a $5 bill and hand those out. But then, he was an award winning type designer and he could charge almost anything he liked. You can probably find a letterpress print shop that would do cards for a fraction of that price.

on January 2, 2007 03:12 PM
# Jeremy Cole said:

I use iprint.com for this sort of stuff (including my own business cards). It's great, and easy to use. I think you have to order 250, but they're pretty cheap.

on January 2, 2007 03:14 PM
# Eric said:

Mpix.com does business cards, and they've got a really good rep with the photo people that I talk to.

Price looks comparable to the moo.com ones (and you actually get full sized cards :) but without the flickr integration. 1 box of 100 is $20, which is pretty reasonable for 2 sided cards.

on January 2, 2007 03:16 PM
# Pooya Karimian said:

Don't you want to print your own cards? I bought some Avery brand business card paper and they had all the software and everything to design the card for free on their site. I printed with a color laser printer. I'm pretty happy with the output.

on January 2, 2007 03:23 PM
# Craig Hughes said:

Rather than suggest a place to get full-color image-as-background cards printed, I'd rather suggest: don't. I've never seen a full-color image-as-background card which doesn't look like crap -- they end up looking like MySpace pages or something. My sense of design and aesthetics retches every time someone hands me one.

Anyhoo, just my 2 cents on this subject.

on January 2, 2007 03:32 PM
# Daryn said:

I second the vote for 4x6. I haven't tried a photo, and you do have to upload a complete template for your card (from photoshop or illustrator), but their overall quality is excellent. They look professional, not like something off of your inkjet, or from one of the bargain/free places out there.


on January 2, 2007 03:43 PM
# Joe Duck said:

>>>... web searches have turned up a ton of folks who claim to do it, but there are many sites to try and most of them likely suck ... <<<

Hey, couldn't somebody build a search engine that'll fix this problem?!

on January 2, 2007 03:52 PM
# Jud said:

I used www.print100.com for my cards. They accepted a JPEG, and the colors were quite good. Plus they're really inexpensive. They're in hong kong, so you'll need to specify a custom size for US business cards, or just the default if you don't mind "close enough". My last batch arrived 4 business days days after placing my order, which was outstanding.

http://www.print100.com/global/cgi/main.aspx for the direct link to their "global" services.

on January 2, 2007 04:12 PM
# Roy said:

I third the 4by6.com recommendation. I had a photo printed on one of their 4/1 cards, and it came out perfect.

on January 2, 2007 04:23 PM
# Joe Zawodny said:

Try, Illustrator, Precut sheets of business cards, and a good color printer. I've been doing that for years. Some of the color laser printers leave a nice raised print that some people like. You are in total control of the final product. You can print what you need when you need them and tweak things as the information needs updating. I guess in the end it all depends upon how you want to spend your time and money and whether you'll settle for close-enough.

on January 2, 2007 04:43 PM
# Dave Hodson said:

Go to iPrint.com, the best site out there.

on January 2, 2007 04:58 PM
# Phil WessellsP said:

Hi Jeremy, We have added a ton on new products for flickr users, including photo business cards. It's under "myCards" and has been live since July, 06. These are real business cards instead of the smaller MOO cards. You can make them single sided or double sided and order in quantities as low as 48. If you'd like to try making some free samples just send me a note and I'll arrange it. phil@qoop.com

on January 2, 2007 05:16 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Nice! Thanks for letting me know. I dropped by the site before posting this but managed to completely miss the cards.

on January 2, 2007 05:22 PM
# John Federico said:

I've had great results from PSPrint for all types of printed stuff - not just business cards:




on January 2, 2007 05:27 PM
# Nicholas C. Zakas said:

I used to work at VistaPrint, so I'd recommend them. You can upload a JPEG, PDF, or whatever format you have. You should be aware that the business cards are slightly smaller than "standard" ones (you wouldn't notice unless you hold it up to someone else's business cards), but if that doesn't bother you, I think it's a good choice.

on January 2, 2007 05:37 PM
# Gio said:

There prices start at $9.95 for 100 full color business cards and if you like they will add free Glossy U/V coating.
I personally use this site for my own printing of business cards.
Some of the best prices online (I said some) and the quality is second to non (from my own experience dealing with other sites). Basically you can use a number of different programs http://www.overnightprints.com/main.php?A=specs to create your cards and upload it to there site.
So you can adjust the background image to your liking.
Or you can use there online designer to create your cards.

on January 2, 2007 05:46 PM
# Ray Everett-Church said:

I've used http://www.overnightprints.com for a couple of years and found them a good vendor. Inexpensive, very good quality, no advertisements on the back. Good online tools for uploading and editing the card content. Finally, fast delivery.

on January 2, 2007 05:58 PM
# Ask Bjørn Hansen said:

I've had good luck with http://www.overnightprints.com/ for business cards.

(I haven't tried them with full color photos though - but like most of the low-volume printers they are using a digital full color printer of some sort; not a "4 color press").

- ask

on January 2, 2007 06:01 PM
# pchayat said:


on January 2, 2007 06:22 PM
# Tanner said:

I have used overnightprints.com for my photo business cards. I ordered the rounded corners which gives it a very nice style.

I am considering ordering some postcards next.

on January 2, 2007 06:30 PM
# TjL said:

Gee, anyone think someone from overnightprints.com is posting all those comments in a row?

on January 2, 2007 09:58 PM
# John Keyes said:

I had some made at http://printsmadeeasy.com/ using one of my photos, and am very happy with the results.

on January 3, 2007 06:20 AM
# dsandler said:

Note that both 4by6 and ONP will send you free samples:



My experience: I ordered a sample pack from overnightprints a little over a year ago; the full-tone quality was great, but plain black-on-white looked a little fuzzy (halftone crud at the edges). They may have tuned their K output since then, but I don't know for sure and would have to order more samples to see. (I ended up going with a local printer for that job.)

on January 3, 2007 07:35 AM
# said:

Second the vote for overnightprints. Awesome, awesome.

on January 3, 2007 08:23 AM
# said:

Yeah, I'm sure overnightprints really cares to astroturf. Give me a break. I posted one, following up on someone else posting about it. Ooooooh, spooky, two comments. Must be a conspiracy! Dork.

on January 3, 2007 10:50 AM
# rich said:

Yeah, I recognize some of those people that recommended overnightprints, so at least it's not *all* astroturfing.

I can't recommend a printer, but I wanted to come in and second the idea that full-color photo businesscards end up looking like crap. Specifically, I wanted to recommend


which walks non-print people through the process of designing and producing good business cards.

Do spot color. You can still do full-bleed (so there's no white showing), and you can still get a glider in there, it'll just be a business-card-ish iconic glider instead of a photo.

on January 3, 2007 03:49 PM
# Randy Stewart said:

http://www.greatfxbusinesscards.com/ 35.99 for 250 cards and like 16.00 to overnight and I think they take 2 business days to make.

I was able to get them in 3 business days. I don't recommend their design tools, but they are fast and relatively cheap. I can't remember which side of the Mac/PC divide you are on these days, but I used a Mac design tool called Business Card Composer for business cards called with lots of templates Heather and I designed my card in about an hour.

Instructions are here -


Alas, I never wrote part 2, but it largely consisted of uploading the final card.

on January 4, 2007 02:00 PM
# IncrediBILL said:

What I find most amusing about this post is a guy that works for a search engine that didn't simply use the search engine to find photo business cards.

Makes you go Hmmmm...

on January 4, 2007 07:12 PM
# Whoodie said:

I'll second GreatFX. The cards Randy referred to above are located at http://www.greatfxbusinesscards.com/express2.htm

I've ordered their high-end gloss business cards in the past and they were of phenominal quality. Had no problem using the online design system although I don't remember a brightness adjustment being available. Compared to iprint and vistaprint, greatfx's cards are steps ahead in the quality curve.

on January 5, 2007 05:36 AM
# New Media Blogger said:

I've had wonderful success with print100.com - they are a Hong Kong based site, and for about 3 cents a card I got full colour biz cards (shipping included in the price).

There site design is pretty wacky though, but if you can get past that you can get some really amazing results - they do free uv coating, rounded corners and everything. I live in Canada and it took about 9 business days from placing the order to delivery.

If you want to see the quality of their cards you can request a sample pack from them, or shoot me an email and I'll throw one of mine in the mail :)

on January 13, 2007 03:08 PM
# MikeB said:

I had a great experience designing my own business cards on http://www.printsmadeeasy.com they were shipped quickly and looked great with my own background on them.

on January 25, 2007 11:46 AM
# said:

I highly recommend www.mind2print.com. Though you can't design on the site live they give you a preview via email right away and the quality of the cards are exceptional.

on January 28, 2007 09:02 PM
# SueQ said:

I went with the old research method and found VistaPrint is slammed with lawsuits for all kinds of problems, including claiming being a member of the BBB with they aren't. I have used www.printsmadeeasy.com and they did a great job, and edited my background out for me for free too. I got 500 cards but I think that 100 cards was like $15, everything was full color, and looked awesome. They are doing free postcards right now too, it's for their pre-addressed program (variabled data) which was great, I don't like to write addresses out anyway. I think the free postcards were at www.printsmadeeasy.com/greetings when I used it. But I am sure you can ask their customer service for the page for those.

Anyone know a good source for custom greeting cards?

on February 2, 2007 09:20 PM
# Lmb said:

Hi Jeremy...

I'm a Realtor, but I also LOVE messing around with graphics and do many of my own brochures, all my biz cards, my partners biz cards, etc. I am also the CHEAPEST person on earth.

OVERNIGHTPRINTS.com is BY FAR the best I've found for printing exactly what I want. I've requested many samples from the various online printing companies (which, by the way, are almost always cheaper than you're local printer, due to the high volume they print). The easiest thing I've found is to design your card completely offline (I use Photoshop)...pick a graphic, add your text, then flatten the layers and save as a JPEG. This, as opposed to designing with their "online designer". Then, just upload your design, and you're good to go. They charge $49.95 (plus I think like $10 for regular shipping, free if you spend more than $70)for 1,000 4 color, DOUBLE SIDED printing with VERY high gloss coating on both sides (these are maybe a step down from a credit card). AMAZING quality. You can request free samples from them first, but I tell you, I did my homework and nobody compares.

I've found a little niche in this as well, because they will also "blind" ship (none of their info in the box), so I've started advertising that I do business cards in local businesses for $125 for 1000 (their artwork), or $155 (if they want me to design). I offer it with free shipping, and basically it's still about 1/2 of what they'd pay going with a local printer.

Hope this helps, and btw, these guys BLOW AWAY Vista Print and all the other "top 10" printers in any search you do!

on February 12, 2007 05:16 PM
# Lmb said:

Oh...to ammend my last post, you can order the same, high quality, HIGH gloss photo biz cards in different quantities (including 100, which runs you $9.95 for single side, $14.95 for double).

K...again, hope this helps!

on February 12, 2007 05:24 PM
# said:

I was curious with those using iPrint if you use the standard U/V or have you upgraded to the Matte or Linen paper. Do you like it better? Any opinions?


on February 20, 2007 06:02 PM
# richelle said:

I used cantbeatus.com and LOVED the prices but you have to order large amts. I did get 5000 full color, both sides, UV glossy finnish printed business cards for $80 including shipping.

on February 23, 2008 06:57 PM
# connie said:

Hi Jeremy, I am a photographer and we design business cards with photos. Let me know if I can help.


on February 4, 2009 04:48 PM
# Joe said:

I would not go with http://www.bce-online.com/ , Businesscards Express.

I hade a bad experience. I ordered 1000 double sided printed cards and when they arrived only one side was printed!

To compensate me they said they would give $20 off my next purchase. I will never purchase again!

Also the printing quality and parper quailty are not very good. Similar to Vistaprint. Not very professional.

on March 10, 2009 07:45 AM
# Tom White said:

Thanks for all of the links and adivce. Business cards are a great way to present yourself and what you stand for. I have been using a website called http://www.zimmzang.com. Try it out and see for yourself, I use it all of the time.

on April 27, 2010 08:28 AM
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