What does your business card say about you and your business? If you have a small business (actually any business for that matter), business cards are one of the best marketing and networking tools as it gives your customers, vendors and strangers the first impression of your business. It is the only thing that will help the person judge your business by in limited amount of time with the limited amount of information they have. Your business card actually says a lot more about you and your business than the information that is printed on it.
It tells the person, How good is this business doing? Does this business have creativity and professionalism? Do they give importance to details or are they sloppy in execution? Should I call him/her before or after the other person who had the err….better card ?
Creating a good memorable business card need not be that hard. It comes down to spending some time in its design and avoiding many of the common mistakes that happen mostly due to oversight. To start with collect a bunch of business cards from other people in your industry. Lay them all out on the table and try to find the common theme among them. Are they classy and elegant or are they all colorful? Do they have pictures of the people in front of them or is it just the company logo?
Here are some simple tips to make sure that you have a great looking business card which matches you and your business…
It is important that your card has a unique and pleasing layout. The first step is to avoid the generic templates that are offered by many of the websites. It might be worthwhile to browse through to see what you like and what you don’t like, but do not use them. Spend some time to create something unique and simple which matches your business.
Keep your business card design simple. Complicated layouts are usually not worth the hassle and also does cost more. If you are not very versatile with the design, just sketch them out in a piece of paper and get your graphic designer to do it for you.
Choose either a horizontal or vertical layout and stick to it throughout the card. Do not mix and match orientation of text in the card design.
All the information on the card should be legible and readable. The font sizes should be large enough for almost everybody to read. If somebody has to fumble for their reading glasses before they could read your name, then it is too small.
Also, avoid using more than 2 or 3 different types of fonts. As far as possible try to stick to the classic fonts. Look around at other business cards from your industry segment to get an idea of the font styles that are used. If you are in the creative industry, you do get more leeway than if you are in the financial industry.
All the information that you have on the card should be up to date and correct. It should have enough information on it with out being cluttered. It needs to have your name (or your business name), address and phone number at the bare minimum. Add in your website and your social media information if you do have one (or many).
Another good idea will be to insert a QR code which could contain a lot more information that you probably can put on the card. Also, it makes it easier for geeks or anyone with a smartphone to get you into their address book faster.
Your card has two sides, so make use of both the sides. You don’t have to cram all the information on one side.
Think carefully before putting an image in your card. An image if not done right does cheapen the card a little bit. Also, it does takes much more of the already precious real estate on your card. Do you really need an image? If you think you do, then make sure that image that you use is of high resolution. Image which gets stretched out or pix-elated while being enlarged would look really bad.
If your image is anywhere near one of the borders on your card then go ahead and bleed them.
Unless you are going for a very classic black and white design, you should have some color to give it an extra pop. Red color on a business card is usually the best at giving it an eye-catching effect.
That does not mean that you should use all the colors under the sun. Be careful in using colors, as too many colors takes away the classic look and gives it a more playful look. Depending on the industry you are in it may or maynot be a good thing.
If you are using more than two colors, use a color wheel to match your colors. Remember that not all colors go together. You should pick out matching (or contrasting) shades of colors from the color wheel so that it does give an eye pleasing effect.
As a rule of thumb, stick with the standard size cards which is usually 3.5″x2″. If your card does not fit into a standard size card holder or a wallet, then it is more annoying than anything and will get tossed faster. It should also fit into a business card scanner and a card holder to make others’ life easier. Conform to the standard size as much as possible.
If you are looking for something different, try a vertical orientation with the same card size.
You could also try rounded corners but only if you have enough space on the card. The text on the card should not feel like it is too close to the rounded edges.
It is of greatest importance than you get a premium card stock if not the best available card stock. You should get at least a 100 pt stock. The feel and durability of the card is probably one thing you don’t want to compromise on.
You can consider other materials such as plastic or metal depending on your budget. Obviously, they come at an extra price so consider your industry before deciding on them. It may be worthwhile for a financial banker on Wall Street to get a metal card but if you are selling paper for Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, PA then stick with the card stock.
You should get it done where the print quality is really good. There should not be any smudges, fuzzy text, bloating or anything of that nature. Also, make sure that the ink can withstand a resonable amount of water damage. You don’t want your ink to start flowing and smudging as soon as somebody spills some water on it. That would scream poor quality.
Consider different variations of your business card. If you are the owner of a small business, consider creating separate cards for the business and your employees based on the same template but with slight variations in design and color.
Think about all the situations that you would be giving the cards away, it could be a trade show where people pick up your card in droves or it could be a sit down black tie dinner with the echelons of your industry. Consider a slightly cheaper version of the business card which describes more about your store and business for the trade show but a much more expensive version with more of your own personal information for the latter situation. I am sure you can come up with couple of more variations for your business where the information on the card could be different for different situations.
Make sure that there is at least one unique thing about your business card design which has the potential to start a conversation or get a compliment. It could be anything from the Quick Response (QR) code you have on the card or how elegant and minimalist your card design is……
And before you send out that print order, make sure that you have not made any mistakes. You can read about the 14 mistakes and faux pas that you can avoid…