From the September 2000 issue of Startups

Even if your graphics knowledge is cut-and-paste and your artistic ability doesn't go beyond stick figures, you can still design your own business cards, letterhead and labels. If you can use the Net, then you have the skills to create professional, unique and memorable communication designs with vendors who make the process a cinch and will deliver the finished product to your door.

Yes, iPrint, you print, we all can print at iPrint.com. This online print shop is the industry leader, and it has the best selection of products to create and brand your business, including large banners, coffee mugs, Post-it notes and magnetic signs. You can also custom-design iPrint's selection of T-shirts, magnets, golf balls, pens and so on. For daily business needs, there's an excellent selection of business cards and mailing and address labels.

And even if you have the artistic vision of a cantaloupe, iPrint's Web-based creation tools are self-explanatory and won't let you create something sub-par. There's no software to download, and even on a 33.6Kbps connection, things move along at an acceptable pace. Prices are competitive, ranging between $20 and $40 for 500 business cards. The company ships internationally and, depending on your needs, can have your order to you in two days.

If price is your greatest motivator, it may pay to comparison-shop. BusinessCards.com is a little cheaper than iPrint for cards (as low as $17 for 500 cards), plus it offers Chinese, Korean and Japanese typesetting and translation.

A to Z Printing Plus (www.printingplus.com) also offers a good selection of merchandise customizable with your company and logo, including magnets, bumper stickers, rubber stamps, buttons, labels and more. Their creation tools worked reasonably well, but their pricing requires a lot of guesswork. However, 500 black-ink business cards for $15 makes them a cost-effective solution.


Webgeek Karen Solomon (ksolomon@wenet.net) writes about technology and e-business for a number of publications, including Wired and Business 2.0.