“The only constant is change,” so the saying goes. Thanks to digital innovation, our world has changed faster in the past few decades than ever before. Where the telegraph was once a marvel and the fax machine the height of technology, we’ve blazed ahead with email, instant messaging, and video calling from devices small enough to carry in our pockets. Along the way we shed our rolodexes and portfolio-style business card holders. The humble business card is on the way out, but thanks to printable and adhesive vinyl, along with a computer and printer, everyone has the means to create truly impactful business cards alternatives that keep your company or service top of mind and ahead of your competitors. These alternatives are not just for businesses. From exchanging names and numbers for playdates to setting up carpools and creating save-the-date cards, vinyl is the way to go.
Curious as to why? Let’s find out.
What are the alternatives?
The problem with business cards is that they are redundant. Between contacts list on your phones and LinkedIn, most people digitize the cards they receive and/or toss them out. In order to make sure your contact details remain top-of-mind for clients, or your number is handy for your playdate group, carpool, babysitter, event guests, etc., you need a better method.
Some great alternatives are:
- Magnetized cards
- Promotional/customized products
The best part is you can make all of these at home!
What is a magnetized card?
A magnetized card is a business card or reminder card that is fused with a magnet. It attaches to a fridge, car door or locker.
How to make a magnetized card
To make a magnetized card, you need:
- Magnetized adhesive sheets
- Printable vinyl or printable photo paper
- A printer
- A computer/laptop/tablet
- Optional: laminating sheet
Start by designing your card. You can use free templates in Word or Canva that allow you to create a business-card sized design, then automatically proliferate it for the entire sheet. This makes it easy to make changes without having to update all eight cards on the sheet. However, don’t be afraid to get creative! You don’t need to stick with the standard rectangle. Circle cards, wavy-edged cards, oversized cards – choose the design you like best. You can use a photo too. Simply scan it or upload one from your phone or computer’s picture gallery.
Once your design is ready, load the vinyl into your printer. After printing, remove the protective backing from the adhesive side of the magnetized sheet (and the adhesive side of the printable vinyl if using self-stick vinyl) and attach. That’s it! If you want a little more durability or waterproofing, layer a laminating sheet on top. However, for most indoor applications, the vinyl is durable enough without the extra layer.
What are stickers/decals?
Stickers and decals have one side that has an image or text, and an adhesive side that attaches to most smooth surfaces. Stickers and decals are a fun way to give out information because they can be bright, colorful, and part of the décor. People love to decorate their notebooks, cubicles, journals, binders etc. with stickers, so making ones with your contact or reminder details is a great idea.
How to make a sticker or decal
To make stickers and decals, you need:
Use any computerized program to create your design. If it is mostly text, use Word. If you want color, vibrancy, and graphics, use a program like Canva or freehand in Paint. You can even draw out your design and scan it or use photos.
Next, load your printable sticker vinyl into your printer, and hit print.
You can add a laminating sheet on top of printable vinyl if you know the sticker will spend most of it’s time outdoors, or will be adhered to a washable item like a mug or tumbler.
What are promotional/customized products?
Promotional products are business card alternatives that have some kind of everyday use. These are the USB sticks, pens, mugs, coasters, etc., that you receive at events. You don’t have to be in business to need these types of products. Wedding and party favours fall into this category too.
When you need a branded or personalized item to give away, DIY vinyl is the answer.
How to make your own promotional or customized products
To make your own promotional or customized products, you can follow the steps above to make magnetized cards, stickers, or decals, or you can use adhesive vinyl and transfer tape to put your own designs on things like mugs, tumblers, frames, planters, USB drives, cupholders, etc. There is no limit to what you can do, so let your imagination run wild!
How to use adhesive vinyl
To customize a product using adhesive vinyl, you need:
- Adhesive vinyl
- Transfer tape
- An item to customize
- Scissors or a paper cutter (for simple/straight edges)
- Optional: a cutting machine (best for complicated designs, intricate fonts, and edges that are difficult to hand cut)
- Optional: a weeding tool (to clear unwanted vinyl from your design)
Unlike printable vinyl, adhesive vinyl does not go into your printer. Instead, the vinyl itself is cut to create the design, then transfer tape is used to move and adhere it to a surface. Your design can be as simple or as intricate as you wish, and since adhesive vinyl comes in many different colors, patterns and finishes, you have a huge range of options for your end result.
- Create your design
- Cut out your design with scissors or a machine like the Cricut®
- Weed your design (weeding removes excess vinyl from areas such as the loops between a swirling font)
- Use transfer tape to move your design to the object
- Carefully smooth down the design and tape to remove bubbles
- Slowly remove the transfer tape
Business cards are not very relevant these days because most people store contact information digitally. However, there are many times when you need your contact information or reminder details to be front and center for your clients, friends, event group, or social circle. Rather than printing up business cards, get creative with magnetized cards, stickers or decals, or a useful customized product. You can easily make these at home by using printable or adhesive vinyl. You can use a laminating sheet to add waterproofing and durability if you know your design will be subjected to the outdoors or washed (such as on a tumbler). The basics you need to create your own products are crafting (printable/adhesive) vinyl, a computer, and a printer. If using adhesive vinyl, you’ll also need transfer tape and, for complicated designs, a weeding tool and a cutting machine. When you replace your business/event/contact card with one of these fun and memorable alternatives, people are less likely to lose your number, and they will appreciate not having to sort through hundreds of names in their contact list.
Royal Elements sells adhesive vinyl, laminating sheets, printable vinyl, and more so you can easily make your own business card alternatives and customized products. Check out the many options on our online Amazon store at https://www.amazon.com/royalelements. We love to see the projects you make using Royal Elements vinyl. Post your results online with the hashtag #royalelementsstickers so we can feature your designs on our social networks (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube).