Review: Business Card Composer

Quick and easy business cards (May 18th, 2006)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: BeLight Software

Price: $39.95 boxed, $34.95 download

The Good

  • Very easy to use. Integrated with Address Book and iPhoto. Good editing tools. Company responds to user feature requests.

The Bad

  • One-purpose application. Only installs on startup drive. No uninstaller. A little expensive for a one-trick pony. Support via email.

If you need to create a lot of different business cards, Business Card Composer v.3.2 is a great way to do it. It's extremely easy to use, whether you use the Business Card Assistant or start from scratch. It has every editing feature you should need.

Design Choices Galore

When you start with the Assistant, you can choose from six style categories or from the twelve subject areas. Styles include Classic, Conservative, Sophisticated, Text, CD-R, and Folded. There is also room in the menu to add custom categories. Select any category and you can pick from a long list of designs. You have to look at each design, because it's hard to decipher the odd titles without seeing them. Titles such as Bland, Communistic, Handy Dragon, and Poison Ivy, may not yield what you think, and Gaudy could apply to quite a few of the designs.

Create Cards in Minutes

After you pick a design or open a blank card, you fill in the appropriate data from scratch or from your Address Book. The onscreen instructions incorrectly state that you can drag and drop from the Address Book, but in fact, when you click on a name in the panel, the information is automatically filled in. When you work with a blank card, you just click the Text button in the customizable toolbar and a shortcut menu lets you choose where to put your entries. If you want to use the design for several people, choose Print for Several People in the File menu. Basic editing functions, such as moving, resizing, rotating, and changing color, are intuitive. You can easily turn out a card in five or ten minutes because they include card stock templates from most of the popular vendors. You can also submit your creation to an online print shop.

The latest version, adds support for double-sided cards and duplex printers. They've added rulers and the ability to select several fields at once for resizing or moving. This Universal Binary version runs natively on Intel Macs, plus works in Mac OS X 10.2 or later. MacUpdate.com lists Business Card Composer as shareware, but don't believe it. Until you purchase a license, your printed cards feature the message, Made with Business Card Composer across them.

Plenty of Artwork

The downloaded version has 700 clip art images and 400 templates vs. 23,000 images and 500 templates in the boxed version, but how much clip art do you really need? The program also lets you select art directly from your iPhoto library and other folders. (Editor's Note: I was glad to find that their images included a number of Apple products and some interesting masks. I was able to produce a soccer ball in the form of an Apple logo and place it on an Apple mouse in the right size. - ilene)

Not For Everyone

Even though the software is a snap to use, how many of us really need to create different types of business cards? Large corporations have centralized printing, and individuals and small business owners generally don't change their cards often. The product literature describes typical users as people who want special cards to give out at trade shows or events, those whose cards haven't arrived from the printer yet, businesses that need cards for temporary staff, or people who have several jobs. If you're not in one of these groups, you may do better with a multifunction package like MacKiev's The Print Shop, which also does calendars, letterhead, greeting cards, posters, and CD labels, or with the templates and clip art in MS Word.

Those who want to create other products can save money on BeLight's bundles. One of them includes Business Card Composer, Swift Publisher, Mail Factory, and the new Disc Cover for $99.95 boxed.

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Barbara Mende


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