The question rattling around my brain was how do you get a business card to make such a great impression, people buy into you right away? I was leaving for a blog conference in 2 weeks, and as a new blogger who was fairly unknown to fellow bloggers, it was important to make an impression and do so in the first minute of meeting. A regular business card just wouldn’t do it.
The average person sizes you up in the first few seconds of meeting you…so what about the first moments they glance at the card you just handed them? Business cards are a dime a dozen and can easily slip into oblivion. My goal was to create a card that worked hard for me, I wanted my card to tell people that I was innovative, had design capabilities, and great original content on my website. That’s when the idea hit…I needed to create a business card sized portfolio! I promptly set out to design an accordion foldout that could house my business card and say everything I desired it to say.
I know, I’m asking a lot of a business card. But why not? I say take a chance, be creative, and think of ways to portray the important things you want your business card to say about you and your business.
Here is a peek into what my brainstorming session looked like, and how it was translated into content. Now, these thoughts were specific to meeting other bloggers and brands. I am creating a second portfolio card designed solely for the general public and potential readers. Sometimes we need narrow our field of vision to our target audience and create more than one business card portfolio. This allows us to passionately articulate that one message designed for that one person we want to reach.
There were a few extra details I could have added, but I chose not to include for specific reasons…remember, in my case some information could already be assumed, and some information was simply traded out for my most impressive information. You will need to determine your own message, your purpose, and make sure each item accomplishes that goal. The tricky part is keeping it clean and uncluttered while portraying as much information (non-literal) as possible. 
A few things you might decide to include are:
  • Business Name, URL, & Contact: Don’t take contact info and URL’s for granted…if they can’t find you or reach you, they won’t make the effort. Under contact you may want to include relevant social media symbols (just to show you can be found there).
  • Description/Mission Statement/Tagline: What does your business do? Unless everyone who will receive this runs in the same circle, clear descriptions and taglines are important. 
  • Profile picture: Are you a part of your brand? Then making your thumbnail recognizable is just as important as your logo being recognizable. 
  • Niche/Unique Message/Goals: What makes you unique? What is the message you want to convey…this is your brainstorm session from above.
  • Media Kit info: Perhaps your portfolio is being designed as a media kit to reach out to various brands and companies. You may want to include website stats (pageviews, social media follows (#’s), etc.
  • Projects: Show your outstanding work. Make sure it reflects the whole of what you do.
  • Features/Who you’ve worked with: It’s not always what you know but who you know. List people, companies, brands, you have worked with, or who have featured your work.
  • Reviews/Recognition/Testimonials: Have you worked with big clients? Has your business been recognized or given a great rating somewhere? Sometimes it is important to humbly “brag”, suddenly others will want to work with you, or at least see what you’ve got!
  • Experience: Maybe in your particular business you are seeking clientele. Listing your most brag-worthy work experience is a must!
  • Special Offers: Does your business provide a service or product that you can offer a discount on? Create a coupon and your card is less likely to be thrown away.
How To Create Your Portfolio
I used Photoshop, which is the best option for creating a professional graphic rich portfolio. However if you do not have access to a photo editing software and you have existing graphics… you could use any program that allows you to import and resize photos, and select a variety of fonts. 
Specs: Simply put it is half of an 8-1/2 x 11 sheet>> A folded portfolio card is 4-1/4 x 2-3/4. Opened it is  4-1/4 x 11. Printed in color on plain paper.
When designing your portfolio you will need to employ rulers in the program to know where each fold will go and how much space you have to work with. If you are using Photoshop start by creating a new project, change pixels to inch, input width: 4.25 inches, height: 11 inches. It is best to leave a 1/4 inch allowance around all edges for printing, but if you find that difficult to execute don’t worry about it, your printing company will do it by default.
When designing the inside and the outside of the portfolio, remember that the outside will also become the front and back of the portfolio once it is folded. Your “front” will need to be upside down. 
There are two options when you are done designing. You can copy and place two of the same side onto one printable document (psd, jpg, etc.), and do this for the inside and out, and have the printers align, print, and cut. OR you can simply bring (on a thumb drive of course) each half sheet you have designed and let the printing company do the work! It is often better to let them do it, as they will have the expertise to make sure everything lines up properly. Ask for a test print, then fold it to ensure all your graphics line up properly.
How To Prepare Your Portfolio
Fold in half, careful to line up the ends before creasing your fold.
Then fold each side in half again, opposite of each other, this creates an M fold. Crease all folded edges using your nails to create a crisp crease.
Cut the corners off of one of your business cards to use as a template for where to cut slits in your portfolio. You will be sliding an uncut business card in here. Use a sharp exacto knife to cut your slits. 
Insert business cards into your fold-out portfolio. Be sure to design it so that the same information on your card is on the fold-out portfolio itself…this way if the card is removed (for filing), the portfolio still contains the business card logo and info. It is better than having a blank space in your design and allows you the flexibility of handing out the portfolio without business cards (if necessary).
And there you have it! An accordion styled business card/portfolio that actually does the work for you!
I had great success with it at the conference, many bloggers commented on it and voiced their assurance that they would be visiting my blog (for which I was eternally grateful!). In addition it got the attention of brands impressed enough to “talk shop” right then and there. 
Whatever your business, make an impression and give your business cards a voice!

8 Comments on How to Make a Fold-out Portfolio Business Card

  1. Hey Ursula! I’m totally working on an accordion card now…thanks for the inspiration. Where did you end up printing them, and what type of paper did you decide on?

    • Glad to be of some kind of inspiration! 😉 It was such a cool design it didn’t require any fancy paper, they printed it on plain paper (the cheapest one). I had it done by Staples, but I think maybe there are better places you can do it. Just do it instore, and bring your laptop for any color tweaks after they print the test page. Good luck!

  2. These are SO COOL! I love that it’s a business card AND a portfolio/media kit all wrapped up into one. Just bummed I didn’t get to snag one of these at Haven. Thanks for sharing the how-to, though! Hopefully we can swap cards next time!

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