By Diane Berkenfeld
What is Variable Data Printing and why is it important to a photographer? Well, variable data printing means that each item that is printed—business card, notecard, stickers—can all be personalized with individual data, or in this case, photographs. MOO, a printing company based in London, England, now with a U.S. printing arm in Providence, RI, is offering photographers one of the best uses of variable data printing we’ve seen. MOO prints business cards, notecards, postcards, stickerbooks, greeting cards and mini cards.
The business cards are double sided—a photo printed on one side and your logo and/or contact info on the other. You can get a package of 50 business cards for $21.99, and that includes a box that’s nice enough to use as a business card holder. Say you want to have 50 business cards made up, and because you’re a photographer you want an image on them, but you just can’t decide which image to use—well, you don’t have to decide because MOO allows you to use as many images as you want—even putting a different one each of the 50 cards. MOO sells the Business Cards in packages of 50 and 200, and offers bulk pricing for larger quantities. In fact, MOO offers bulk pricing on large quantities for all of the products they offer. Check out the website at www.moo.com for more details.
Business cards are printed on either MOO Classic or MOO Green [recycled and recyclable] paper stocks. The Green paper stock has more of a matte look and feel than the regular Classic stock.
Each order also comes with a cardboard business card holder that holds 50 cards; the Green cards come in a brown box, the Classic cards in a sleek black box.
Real-Life Touch Test
I had MOO business cards printed up on two different occasions, the first time ordering the cards printed on the Classic paper stock. To create the fifty cards I used about 40 different images. The problem for me was—I didn’t want to give any of them away—the printing made my images look so good. I actually ended up using this set as a mini-portfolio, displaying these cards but not giving them away.
So, for the second printing, I decided to use fewer images, making sure there were multiples so I wouldn’t want to horde them. I mean that’s the whole reason you get business cards printed up, right—to give them to prospective clients and other people you network with. For this printing, I had 200 cards made up and chose the Green paper stock. Personally I like the Classic stock better. There is more visible detail in the shadows of the images printed on the Classic stock, and the colors seemed to have had a little more punch than the Green stock. The Green paper is also thinner than the Classic paper, which you would expect of a Green paper offering and that is one difference between a laminated paper vs. non-laminated paper.
When you upload the images, the site allows you to crop the image exactly as you want it, so you can see exactly what area of the image will be printed. Printing and shipping takes about 10 days once you submit an order.
One of the neat things about the packaging is that MOO includes two dividers with your cards, one marked MINE, the other THEIRS. For folks like me who put cards I get at a tradeshow in the same case as the cards I give out, this can be a lifesaver, keeping you from accidentally handing out someone else’s card.
Although MOO business cards can cost a little more than regular business cards, the response you get when you hand them out more than makes up for the extra cost. The real difference between MOO business cards and regular ones is the variable data printing aspect, because each one can be unique—you aren’t limited to using only one image.
The MOO range of products includes:
Little cards, think of them as a business card cut down the middle the long way (28 mm x 70 mm). Your photos go on one side, up to six lines of text on the other. Pricing: 100 for $19.99
MOO Business Cards
MOO Classic Stock or the new Green stock (80% recycled & 100% recyclable). Double sided, the business cards can have an image on one side with logo and up to 10 lines of text on the reverse. Pricing from: $21.99
NoteCards are square prints with a flap on the side, so they can stand up on their own. NoteCards are 100 mm x 100 mm. Pricing: 16 for $24.99
A MOO StickerBook holds 90 different stickers, made from your photographs. Each of 15 pages contains six stickers that can be removed individually or torn out as a sheet. The stickers are vinyl, acid-free, and measure 22mm x 22mm. Pricing: 90 for $9.99
Create a package of 20 ready to send postcards, each with a different image. With MOO, it’s your choice. Postcards measuring 105mm x 146mm. Pricing: $19.99
MOO Greeting Cards
Take personal greetings to the next level. Ten folded cards measuring 148mm x 105mm each with a different image, come with envelopes in a gift box. Pricing: $24.99
The company also offers a range of business card and mini card holders.