Moo: Business Cards For the Creative

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Despite the digital age, business cards are still the most prominent way to share contact information about you and your business.  In fact, I feel the digital age has actually made business cards more relevant.  Small side businesses have sprung up left and right, and the photography world is no exception.  Some, like myself, are selling their works as fine art or as stock photography.  Such side businesses are reason enough to have a calling card.  And your business card is extremely important.  They are personal and in many cases serve as a first impression.  Moo, a maker of custom paper products including business cards and postcards, seemed to fit the bill.

I’ll admit that I was introduced to Moo by one of their marketing associates.  Timing was perfect of course – I was looking to redo my business cards.  I wanted something more personal, and I wanted something that was economical.  So my introduction to the company came at an opportune time.  Moo was nice enough to provide a sample set of business cards for my review.  But in case you fear biased on my part, let me assure you that this is not the case here.  I will of course discuss why I like the business cards in greater detail.  However, to clear the air up front – let me attest that I am already nearing the end of my first package of 50 cards, and I will be ordering more cards from Moo.

Moo’s Offerings

My set: 50 standard business cards on 100% recycled paper

Moo doesn’t make just business cards.  They also produce greeting cards, postcards and sell a number of accessories such as frames and card holders.  These products are certainly an added bonus to photographers – especially those sending out postcard mailers.  But it’s clear that business cards are their primary focus.  Moo offers two different sized business cards:  Standard sized (7.17″ x 3.31″) as well as MiniCards (2.76″ x 1.1″).  Prices are quite reasonable, even with customization.  The standard business cards start at $21.99 (USD) for a pack of $50 and the MiniCards are available in packs of 100 for about $19.99 (USD).  Bulk discounts are also available if you’re ordering more than 200 Standard or 400 MiniCards.

Regardless of what product you select, Moo’s real advantage is the opportunity to print every single card differently.  You can use your own art or photos and you can customize the look of both sides of the cards.  You can even have different artwork on one side of the card for each and every card.  That means that if you order a pack of 50, you can upload 50 photos and use a different one on every single card, yet still have the same contact information and presentation on the other side.  I uploaded several of my own photos to serve as the back for my business cards.  The print quality is exceptional – so I consider my business cards almost like a mini-portfolio in my pocket.  In fact, on several occasions, I laid out all of the different cards out for perspective clients and associates to see.  After observing all of my best photos, I let them select which card they wish to keep.  One of my clients admitted keeping the business card on her bulletin board simply because she loved it so much.  Well, guess who she’s going to think of first when she wishes to buy another photograph?  This is why I love the cards so much.

The MiniCards have an appeal of being unique and having a small footprint.  It certainly stands out from the typical business card by size alone.  I spoke to one photographer who uses the MiniCards and she loves them.  She allegedly has received many compliments on the size of them alone.  As I am a bit more traditional in my ways, I opted to go with the standard sized business cards.  Premium card stock is Moo’s standard paper.  But they also offer a Moo Green option made of 100% recycled and biodegradable material.  My cards made out of the Moo Green material.  My first impression:  The cards are fantastic.  As I already mentioned, the print quality is quite good, the finish and durability of the cards is impressive and I absolutely love the cards.

How It Works

Designing cards with Moo is pretty simple and easy to do.  In the most basic setup, you would upload all of your photos that you’d like to use through their web interface.  If you have a Flickr, Facebook, Smugmug or Etsy account, you can choose to import photos/artowork from those sites as well.  This wasn’t my own methodology, so I cannot personally attest for this process.  An artist I spoke pulled a number of photos of the products he makes from Etsy, and he had nothing but great things to say about the process.  Alternatively, you can simply use one of their pre-designed card backs featuring a number of color schemes and patterns.  But as photographers, you’d be crazy not to take the opportunity to upload your own works.

Once all your photos are uploaded, you will have an opportunity to crop the images how you’d like.  After a brief preview of the backs, you will then fill out what you want on the “info” side of the card and you’re done.  The info side can also support photos or graphic designs that you can also upload.  But the info side will be the same for all cards in the package.  As I already mentioned, you can have a different image for each of the backs in your set – you are limited only by the size of your set.  If you want to order 200 cards each with its own photo, you can do that.

The information side is somewhat limited in what you can do through its online interface.  Serious designers have the option to upload their own graphics in lieu of the text that can be added through the Moo interface.  If you have specific branding or if you’d like to control every aspect of the design, this may very well be your best course of action.  Otherwise, the interface does allow you to change colors, fonts, layout and so on.  But you’re limited to a handful of fonts, colors and layouts.  For that matter, you only have the option to control the color of the text or the color of the background – not both.  But despite its shortcomings, there are still a great deal of customization that you can do with the online interface.  But as I said, if you’re willing to design off-line and then upload the design (PDF, JPG or PNG format) of the information side, you have unlimited control.

The Finished Product

Info sides are all the same. Back varies – up to as many alternatives as are in your pack.

It takes a few days for them to print, but I cannot complain about the time frames.  This is quality on-demand printing.  In my experience, such on-demand printing often takes longer.  The cards arrived in a protected bubble-wrapped envelope.  They are stored in a dense cardboard box which can be used for storage and doubles as a place to keep other people’s cards as well.  Moo even provides tabs to keep them organized.  According to the packaging, the box itself is also made of 100% recycled material.  I do not know if that is their typical, or if that is the case because I ordered Moo Green cards.  Also in the box is a reference card noting the batch number and of course the order reference number.  This information will help you reorder your business cards – exactly as you designed them.  But if you create an account on their website, they will also save the information for you to make reordering even easier.  And just for fun, the batch reference card also doubles as a buzzword bingo card for your big corporate meetings.

The print quality of the cards is exceptional.  The cards feature edge-bleed printing.  The colors were beautiful and very true to the source images that I provided.  I even threw a couple of really challenging photos into the deck – at least from a color reproduction perspective – and Moo passed my test.  As I mentioned, I spoke with a few other photographers that used Moo.  One of them mentioned that her cards printed a little darker than she expected – yet I didn’t have such problems.  My business cards were incredibly color accurate.  Though I didn’t not inquire as to that photographer’s setup, I suspect that the case is very likely a color management issue.  I use color management in my studio, and thus I suspect that my source images were color accurate from the start.

As for the paper – remember that I selected the Moo Green option, which is 100% recycled paper.  I try to use recycled paper as often as possible, but sometimes the recycled papers are not always of great quality.  Moo’s Green papers are a heavy card stock with a nice matte finish.  I was quite surprised how heavy the card were.  The paper serves as a fantastic base for the printing.  I have not had any experience with Moo’s other paper options, but I would certainly order the Green option again.

In the end, my new business cards are fantastic.  Moo met each and every one of my goals:  An economical option that is eye catching with an incredible print quality. With the relatively small batch sizes – a pack of 50 as compared to my old business cards which required a minimum set of 250 – the choice is almost a no-brainer.  Moo’s business cards are certainly something I’d recommend to anyone.  It really is like a little portfolio in your pocket.

Things We Liked

  • Can upload own graphics/photos for both sides of card.
  • Each and every card can be completely unique.
  • Easy-to-use interface.
  • Easy to import through Flickr, Etsy and more.
  • The business cards were well received among potential clients and associates.
  • Print quality is exceptional:  Color accurate, edge-bleed printing, clean fonts.
  • The option to print small batches.

Things We Didn’t Like

  • Not many color or font options for information side.
  • Cannot edit items once in your cart.
  • Does not save all photos between editing sessions (if creating more than one product).
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About Author

D. Travis North is a professional Landscape Architect, a Freelance Photographer and founder of Shutter Photo. Ever since he picked up his first SLR, his father's Nikon N2000, he's been hooked on photography. Travis likes to photograph urban environments, architectural details and has a new-found interest in close-up photography. His work can be found at D. Travis North Photography. Follow Travis on twitter: @dtnorth.

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