Staples introduces 30-minute business cards

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Staples Inc. has launched a service that enables customers to design, proof and print professional-quality business cards in as fast as 30 minutes.

The "Business Cards in Minutes" technology is provided by HP's Logoworks. HP announced in April it would acquire Logoworks, a Web-based graphic design service provider that offers a full range of design options through www.logoworks.comáand www.logomaker.com, a do-it-yourself design application for customers with a more limited budget. At the time, HP said it planned to greatly expand both services and use independent print service providers to help deliver them to customers.

The new Staples service enables customers to design full-color customized cards right at the counter by selecting a card template, colors and fonts, personalizing contact details and inserting a logo. Customers can choose from a large database of categorized logos, upload a custom logo or scan an existing business card to be reprinted.

The cards are then printed on the spot, versus the industry standard for the delivery of business cards, which is three-to-seven days. The service also lets customers print as few as 100 cards at a time. Once created, business cards are stored for future printing at any Staples nationwide.

Standard costs are $19.99 for 100 black and white cards and $29.99 for 100 color cards.

Staples sees "a great opportunity to grow this service with both small businesses and individuals who want æsocial cards' for sharing personal and online information with family and friends," said Rob Schlacter, vice president of business services at Staples Inc., in a statement.

In test markets, everyone from teens to soccer moms have used the new service, according to Staples, Framingham, MA.

"The increased popularity of social networking sites like YouTube and MySpace created a strong demand for highly customizable cards that allow people to share something personal about themselves," Schlacter said in the statement.

"Social cards can be used for everything from scheduling kids' play dates and showing team pride, to alerting others of food and medical allergies. Teens are even using these cards to bring their online personas to life û sharing screen names, MySpace identities and blog addresses," he continued.

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