When you print business cards by yourself or order to print them in a print shop, you must think about maximum quality at acceptable pricing. The following tips concern mostly the quality while printing on a desktop printer.
The price of a single printed card will mostly depend on used paper stock. Cards with blank background will take less ink or toner, so they will be cheaper.
These tips don't refer to printing from Business Card Composer itself. This article will tell you how to get best results with a certain printer, choose the paper, select the most appropriate design and avoid common mistakes. Also see the How to choose a printer and How to choose paper topics.
If you want to create (or already created) in Business Card Composer a business card which contains a photo or a picture with gradient colors — choose glossy paper to make sure the printed cards look as nice as on the screen. Otherwise, the print output may disappoint you.
If your cards contain a background color or background image, choose the paper with gaps between cards (see details in “How to choose paper”). The gaps allow you to compensate the inevitable imprecision of the printer paper feed mechanism. Don't let the pictures on your design end exactly on the edge of the card. Allow a small distance to the edge, or, on the contrary, let it go over the edge (if it's background).
Inkjet printers have a nasty habit of slightly zooming the print output. For this reason each next row of cards may be slightly offset up or down with respect to the previous one. By the end of the sheet the offset may come up to 0.5—1 mm. This doesn't seem to happen with laser printers.
How to fight this? Use the Scale field during the printer calibration process. This additional setting helps to avoid this problem.
Don't forget to set the desired print quality and color options in the Print dialog. It's convenient to save the most frequently used settings in the Presets list.
On most business card stock cards follow each other closely, without gaps. If you don't want to have trouble with printing on such paper, make sure images and text are located at least 3 mm off the edges. Then the slight printer imprecision won't spoil your business cards.
When choosing business card stock, make sure it's compatible with your printer type. For instance, if you use paper with Glossy coating (Magnetic even worse) in a laser printer, you may end up with broken printer!
When printing on a monochrome laser printer, avoid using too many colors in the design — or there'll be no difference between, say, the green and blue colors on the printout.
Inkjet and laser printer use different technologies to process incoming data. To avoid printing problems (such as slow printing or even program crashes), we recommend that you disable the “Print card as raster image” option in the Business Card Composer Preferences for laser printers. For inkjet printers it's better to keep this option enabled.
As the printer resolution is much higher, than that of the monitor, you need to use high-resolution images to make sure they come out well on printed cards. Try to use the largest possible image — if it appears too big in Business Card Composer, resize it right in the program till the desired size — then the print quality will not degrade. Also, try to use vector images whenever possible. For raster images, at least 300 dpi resolution is recommended.
On some Hewlett-Packard printers paper feeding accuracy can be not very good when using the default print settings. Most HP LaserJets have driver settings where you can manually set the type of media in the tray. Set it to “card stock” mode in the “printer features” panel — the printer will feed the paper slower and the accuracy will be much, much better.
With Business Card Composer you may print plastic cards and ID badges using special Evolis printers. The list of supported models includes:
Last reviewed: April 2008