November 17th, 2020
There’s no getting away from the fact that there has been a downturn in the amount of print we have produced over the last few years. Digital has become so accessible and is a common replacement. I would imagine considerable motivation would be financial, but there is hopefully a growing element of the environmental impact less print has on the world.

Print most certainly is not dead, but a less is more approach is definitely the key. A more targeted, better quality, higher spec piece of print will often have more cut through. Environmental considerations can be made to make sure that whatever is produced leaves a smaller footprint, too.

One of the areas we have decided to try cutting back on are our business cards. I’ve had some incredible business cards handed to me over the years, and some absolutely horrific ones. So many have been laminated, making them an absolute pain in the ass to recycle. We’ve personally created some lovely cards in the past (and yes, I've even sent laminated ones to print early on in my career) but our own have often been a bit of a vanity project. I’m going to miss that vanity project, but we don’t give out a huge number of cards and often the size of the batch we need printed to make it cost effective means they often sit in a drawer for a long time, putting off their imminent trip to the recycling bin.

With that in mind, we’re giving digital business cards a go. They are a super simple image file that contains a QR code, that when scanned by another smartphone will offer to auto populate their address book with all your details. Below we'll show you how you can do this easily too, by showing you exactly how we made ours. It’s worth clarifying we are working on the basis that everyone we have given a business card to in the last 12 months has had a smartphone.


Find your phone screen resolution. At this point in time I’m rocking an iPhone X. So that’s 2436 x 1125 px. Use a bit of design software to set up a canvas that size at 300dpi in RGB. We will use Photoshop for the purposes of this exercise, but use what you know, or if you don’t have access to any of the Creative Cloud family then try a free online editor like pixlr. I've also made the decision that my canvas should be portrait in orientation as this is the most comfortable way for me to handle my phone.


Save the file and remember to save throughout. Now you have your canvas to work on, pick your background colour, add your logo. and add all the text you want to include, in the font you want. Leave a space somewhere for a decent size square.


Now we want to create a QR code for your contact details. There’s a number of companies that can do this for you online. I would create a V Card, here. Fill in your details and download as a .EPS or .SVG if you are confident with such files and potentially want to edit them in another vector based design program, like Adobe Illustrator. However, this service does allow for a lot of customisation of your QR code, so have fun with it. Just remember if you make any post-download changes, a QR code relies heavily on contrast, so whatever you do needs to maintain a decent level of contrast.


Then you will need to import your QR code into your design and position it where you want it. Once you’re happy with the composition we need to check it works before exporting. Open the camera on your smartphone and hold it up to your screen so it can read the QR code. It should be pretty quick and it should prompt you to add to contacts. Accept and check you are happy with all the info.


Now export/save your file as a jpg. Keep your resolution at 300dpi (or highest setting if not given the option).


Transfer the image to your phone. Depending what hardware you have, you may have to email it (making sure you don’t compress the image). Once or your phone, find a way to keep the image handy, not allowing it to get lost in your image library. On an iPhone, the best way is to create a new folder and keep in that.

Now when someone says have you got a card, whip out your phone, ask them to do the same and open their camera. Let your phones do their thing. Ta-da… no awkward, what’s your number, let me ring it once and hang up, then you add that number as a contact. Saves on print costs. Saves on energy.

Need more help making your brand work harder, whilst being kinder to the environment? Get in touch and find out how we can help.