Through the evolution of marketing from all print to largely digital, one form of printed advertising has remained relevant—and effective—all these years: the business card. Your business card is a personal way to put your information literally in the hands of your contacts, potential customers, or partners. No digital networking or advertising tool can do that.
Your business card says so much more than what you choose to print on it. You can communicate credibility, professionalism, and expertise through how you design it. When you choose an effective design, you won’t hand out your business cards only to have them immediately end up in the trash. Here are some tips on how to create a business card people will actually hold on to.
Stay on Brand
Consistency: the keyword for marketing and brand awareness. Your business cards should have a similar feel to the rest of your brand’s channels: other printed materials, your site, your socials, packaging, and anything else with your business name on it.
If you have a color scheme that appears on other printed or digital materials, stick to that. And if you have a logo, absolutely include it on your business card. If your site or other promotional materials are very simple with clean lines, choose a design for your business card that is also simple and clean. Unless you’re going for a total rebranding of your business, your business cards shouldn’t be an experiment in new design.
Choose an Appropriate Size and Orientation
There are many different sizes, orientations, and even shapes that your business card can take. When thinking about these “big picture” ideas for your business cards, know that these factors will determine your text size and the amount of information you can include. They will also communicate moods like how bold or non-conformist you are, how quirky or whimsical your brand is, and the type of audience you’re trying to reach.
Whether you choose vertical or horizontal orientations also says something about your services. Most people are familiar with horizontal layouts, which is the traditional orientation for business cards. But with more and more companies changing up design, we encourage you to experiment in the design process to see what you like best, and more importantly, what looks great and stays on brand.
Keep It Clear
When thinking through design elements for your business card, don’t forget that the main goal is to put your information in the hands of your contacts. Balance good design with your information, and don’t let one get lost behind the other.
This isn’t to say that your design has to be simple to be effective. There are many ways to effectively design a business card that doesn’t fall into the “minimalist” category. But if your contact information is hidden or hard to interpret because of your design, your design is working against you.
There’s no set rule about how to arrange your contact information, but you should include the basics: your company name (if applicable), your full name, job title, phone number, and email. If you have a website, include that. And if you showcase a lot of your work on social media, it would benefit you to include your handles.
Even if you’re just putting the basics on your business card, do not neglect the eternally important task of proofreading. There is nothing that will discredit your brand like bad grammar or spelling mistakes.
Always have a few pairs of eyes go over the final drafts of your business card. Doing this will not only help you catch grammar mistakes that you might have missed, but it will give you insight into how easily others understand who your business is and what they think about the design. The more unbiased eyes you have scan your cards from early on, the more opportunity you’ll have to make edits that make your card both informative and appealing and one people will keep on hand.
Designing a business card is a fantastic opportunity to create something bold, different, and memorable, and when you make a contact, those are three things you want to be remembered for. There is absolutely no limit to the creativity you can put into making your business card.
Business cards are like art. There is no such thing as “one size fits all” here. You can go as complex or as simple as you’d like. With the advent of 3D printers, you can even have a 3D business card, or you can choose a card with cutouts.
The more creative and ornate your business card, of course, the higher the cost. But if your design can mean the difference between someone keeping your business card at their desk or on their fridge versus in the trash, isn’t it worth it? If price is really that big of a factor, consider other offices expenses you can cut down on, like a ping pong table or daily lunches out. A beautifully designed business card makes you unforgettable, and it’s an investment you’ll be glad you made.
Make It Tactile
If you don’t go with a 3D printed business card or one with cutouts, we suggest adding a tactile element to make your card stand out. Raised ink or letter pressed cards have that extra something that makes them look professional without breaking the bank. Even when your card is stuffed in a pocket, it will stand out from the sea of flat, generic business cards, and your contact will be more likely to remember you and save your card.
Make Your Card Useful
In business, the question you’re always trying to answer is this: “How can I add more value to my customer?” When you’re designing business cards, ask yourself the same thing. Can you design your business card in such a way that your contact finds it useful?
This could look like having your cards printed as magnets. Or if you’re a company that provides services, include helpful dates that your clientele needs to know. For example, if you’re a florist, include holidays when you’re running specials. Or if you’re a landscaper, note dates when your clients need to plant grass or aerate their yards. If you can add value to your card, chances are, it will stick around.
A Personal Touch
Business cards are a breath of fresh air in an age of digital communication. Networking is all about relationship building and making connections, and email or texts feel cold and impersonal, regardless of how convenient they might seem in the moment. Eye contact and a handshake is how real relationships begin, and having a well-designed business card facilitates those connections.