Your business card is one of the most important pieces of your brand identity and marketing collateral. Frequently, your business card is the first item prospective customers receive from you, and it can leave a lasting impression. You need to be certain that impression is a good one.
There are many do-it-yourself card design and printing companies online, but most of these sites offer one-size-fits-all solutions that end up looking cheap and unprofessional. If your card looks cheap, then your business and brand will look cheap, too. That’s not a perception you want to instill in consumers’ minds. Instead, you need to design and print cards that uniquely represent your business and effectively communicate your brand message.
1. Get the right help. Hire an experienced graphic designer or use a do-it-yourself design and printing site that has a reputation for producing unique designs and quality products. The design of your card must work together with your logo design to create a consistent brand image, and that design should carry through to all of your marketing collateral, stationery, signage, website, social media profiles, and so on.
2. Less is more. Standard cards are just 3.5”W x 2”H. That’s not much space to work with, so it’s important that you use the space wisely to ensure your business card isn’t cluttered. White space is your friend and make sure your logo design isn’t too big for the page.
3. Practicality trumps originality. It’s better to use a standard card design that fits in wallets and business card holders. Choose creative design elements such as rounded corners rather than using a non-standard business card size. Convenience outweighs creativity when it comes to business card size unless you’re willing to trade practicality for memorability.
4. Print information on your business card strategically. Determine what is the most important information to print on your business cards and eliminate any extraneous information. For example, your name and a way to contact you are essential, so your telephone number or email address must be on your business card. If you have space, you can include your physical address, fax number, mobile number, website, Twitter profile, Facebook page, and so on. Make sure your business logo fits well on the business card as well. Remember #2 above, less is more, so don’t allow your business card design to get too cluttered with content.
5. Don’t print on the back of your business card. Many people use the back of a business card to write notes about the card owner or business. This is particularly common when people receive numerous business cards at a conference, tradeshow, or networking event. Therefore, keep the back of your business card blank or print a very small amount of non-critical information. Furthermore, once a recipient of your business card stores it in a traditional business card holder, the back will be hidden, so that extra information you paid to print on the back is useless. Your business card isn’t an ad, so keep it simple and avoid the temptation to print marketing messages on your business card — even on the back.
Bottom line: Consider how you use business cards that are given to you by other people. How do you react to a business card that is printed on cheap paper? Do you get annoyed when you can’t find the contact information you need? Do you end up throwing cards that don’t fit into your business card holder into the trash? These are the types of emotions and actions you don’t want people to feel and do when they receive your business card. Avoid these types of business card design mistakes and make sure your business card provides a positive and accurate reflection of your brand and business.