What does a business card say about you and your business? A lot. A business card is like a face: it’s the first thing people see when they “meet” your business for the first time. And as we all know, first impressions count. They exist to create a tangible connection between you and potential clients, and if that initial connection comes across as a negative one, the relationship may not flourish.
Of course, business card design is as personal as home interior design– a sleek, modern black and-white interior with blood red furniture might be one person’s lifetime dream, and another’s worst nightmare. So let’s start with the basics of making business cards, the ABCs that everyone should know.
Business Card Basics
First off, you may ask why it’s necessary to have a business card in the first place – especially today, when so many people connect on the internet. The answer is simple: business cards exist to provide necessary information about a company or an individual – such as the nature of a business and contact details – and are usually shared when people meet each other for the first time.
You might already have built up a network of clients – perhaps largely online. But even if most of your business is conducted online, don’t forget that there will still be networking events, talks, conferences and meetings when you can’t whip out your computer.
Business cards contain pertinent information, including the owner’s name, business affiliation and contact information (address, phone number, email address, and website URL).
In the past, business cards were almost always black and white, printed on thick cardstock on one side only. That’s all changed, but no matter what type of design you choose, you still need:
- Individual’s name (Joseph Brown)
- Individual’s position (Website Designer)
- Company (Wonderful Web Designs)
- Contact Information (321 Elm Road, Price, Utah, 82134. Tel: (801) 277-7667. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Web address: www.example.com)
Often, people choose to copy the Ogilvy ad layout formula when designing a business card. It puts the company logo in the upper left or top part of the card, followed by the individual’s name, with all contact information in the bottom right. It may not be the most exciting way to fashion a business card, but it’s direct, to the point and safe.
Current Trends in Business Cards
Once you have the pertinent information that you want to include, the next step is to decide how you want it to appear. Here are some of the latest trends in business card design, which can give your own cards a bit of “je ne sais quoi” that you may find is lacking.
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Die-cut cards. These can create a beautiful card showing your company’s commitment to design and value. Give your cards a bit of added value by turning every one into a design masterpiece.
Photographs. This can be a great idea when trying to show off furniture, home design, or landscape architecture. Or, include a picture of yourself to “put a face to the name”.
Print vertically instead of horizontally.
Textures. Different materials can make a card stand out from the rest, such as cards printed on leather or engraved in stainless steel.
Foil accents. The idea behind this is that the old card is all spiced up, but may look a bit desperate unless done properly.
Folded cards. More like a greeting card, these usually contain the logo on the front with contact information embedded inside. Folded cards provide real estate to include more information.
Gadgetry cards. When is a business card not a card? When it’s a bracelet, a bag, a fridge magnet or even a paper airplane. Many businesses print their logs and contact information on a variety of different objects, then pass them out.
Office gadgetry. These gadgets seem to serve a more useful purpose than just being an attention-catcher. Contact information written on mouse pads, mugs, coasters and message pads can be an effective marketing vehicle, as they provide entertainment or value.
Plastic cards. These are quickly taking over from paper cards, as they last longer.
A Word of Caution: While you may want to get creative with your card, some critics caution that it’s a good idea to stick with the original dimensions of a traditional business, or they may not fit into potential clients’ wallets or other business card holders. And, if they don’t fit, they’ll probably get thrown in the trash.
When it comes to creating the perfect business card, be true to your personality and style, but don’t let design overtake content. Today’s trends are leaning towards clean, simple designs in neutral colors (or black and white), with big logos on one side and contact information on the other. In a nutshell, less is more. And more can be, well, tacky.
Keep in mind that the goal of a business card is for people to be able to contact you easily – but they have to want to contact you in the first place. If your business cards are bulky, littered with misspellings, missing basic information or just plain ugly, clients might not put you first on their list.