The Real Deal About Buying Business Cards Online
Founded in 1995, Vistaprint quickly became the industry standard for online business cards using a patented template-based web-2-print system that allows customers to customize a variety of business card designs in real time online and purchase prints thereafter.
The initial success of the online print company was fueled by a very clever “free business card” promotion wherein any new customer could use the online design tool to create and order 250 business cards for free, aside from paying for the shipping charges.
The only catch of course, cause there’s always a catch, was that the backside of the card included the Vistaprint logo and web address. For an additional fee, something like $5 – $8.99, the customer could opt to have the logo removed.
You Get What You Pay For
For millions of new startup companies and aspiring entrepreneurs the ease and convenience of these cheap business cards was very enticing. But as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. So let’s take a closer look at what you’re actually getting when you order business cards from Vistaprint.
Digital Printing vs Offset Printing
First of all their entire automated print operation (as I understand it) is driven by high-volume digital printers. Digital printing technology is what allows them to create small runs of made-to-order prints at exceptionally low prices and with quick turn-around.
The downside to that is though, in my opinion, that digital print quality still to this day remains inferior to offset printing. The two areas where this is most visible is in color quality, saturation, and fine detail such as small text.
Here at Print Peppermint, we exclusively use Offset Printers with a 500 line staccato FM screening process that allows for the finest print quality possible. Examine your cards with your printers loupe (magnifying glass) and see how crisp the curves and nuances of your type really is.
Paper Selection & Paper Quality
Although Vistaprint recently introduced two new paper stocks called “signature” and “ultra-thick”, many customers will find the paper selection lacking. Their ultra-thick paper stock is 400 lbs. cover and is their heaviest stock.
At Print Peppermint we have an ever-growing variety of premium paper stocks to choose from, ranging from 16 pt all the way up to a massive 60 pt. And, as a custom service, we also offer duplexing and triplexing, which allows you to adhere multiple paper stocks together to create a layered paper sandwich.
Vistaprint’s paper finishing options are basically gloss, matte, uncoated, and linen. We offer all of those and then some! We have 100% cotton stocks, recycled stocks, precolored paper such as black, we have suede stocks, recycled chipboard, and we can even print on plastic.
Another thing print buyers may find frustrating about purchasing from Vistaprint is that they only offer standard 2″ x 3.5″ sized business cards. From what I can tell, they do NOT offer mini business cards, square business cards, or any specialty shaped die cut business cards.
As you might have guessed, here at Print Peppermint we offer several a size options including: 2.5″ Square, 2″ Mini Square, 1.5″ x 3.5″ Mini, and a wide variety of pre-made die cut shapes. We also offer custom die cut shapes for those looking for something truly unique.
Standing Out vs Looking the Same
Another unfortunate bi-product of purchasing cards from Vistaprint and using their ready made designs is that thousands, maybe millions of people could be walking around with that exact same design in their wallet.
In fact, I’ve even been at a party/networking event and watch two people hand their cards to each other and both had chosen the same template… how embarrassing!
So even though they are arguably the market leader for online customizable print products, their customers suffer in the end. The incredibly cheap price is enticing in the beginning but will ultimately leave you with an unoriginal and inferiorly produced product.
When you are ready to do something special, because you care, and you want people to believe in the integrity of your brand or business… check us out at www.printpeppermint.com