With the rise of the Internet and smart phones and tablets storing data, the more traditional “physical” ways of capturing data are often deemed void in today’s world.
However, I would like to politely and firmly disagree with such claims.
Granted, the need for the traditional printed marketing materials may have lessened with more people using online methods to advertise and connect with people, but one thing that has not lost it’s place or importance, in opinion and experience is the Business Card.
For those of you who don’t know my background, it comes from Printing and Graphic Design. My family have a printing business and I have a lot of involvement in the day to day running of this business, and only this morning we had a problem with some cards that were due to be printed, and it inspired me to write this post.
Ok, Business Cards – the FIRST and LASTING impression that ANYONE can leave with potential clients and future business contacts, but do they still have a valid place in the world now with the introduction of things like QR Codes which can take the same data and automatically save to your device?
On an average week for our medium sized printing company we print on about 4 runs per week, with 11 cards on each run, and we are one of many printing company’s in the UK that does the same.
That alone leaves me thinking that no matter how far forward we move with technology – QR codes, the linkedin card munch – people STILL value business cards as the most important marketing tool in their arsenal.
That said, there are good and bad ways of putting business cards together – and I am going to share 50 amazing Business Card design tips a little further down with you, but I also want to touch on some other things to consider with Business Card Printing before hand.
The fastest and most simple way to answer this question is to first answer this question
“Will you come into contact with ANYONE that you could potentially do business with?”
If you answer yes, then you need business cards.
Secondly – How important is the impression you leave with the person taking your card?
If you know that your business card is THE single most important physical reminder you can leave with someone (knowing they might come back to it / find your card later on down the line) then you will want to ensure what you are leaving with them is a true representation of what you stand for – so the design needs to be good, and so does the print quality of the card.
If costing is your biggest restraint, and you know you will work hard at relationship building with said person over different mediums (email, skype, telephone, social media) then maybe you just need to leave a basic card that “does the job” so you don’t need to spend lots of money. Perhaps you are a business start up – money might not be readily available – there are printers online who can provide a fair service in this area.
Vistaprint is the most obvious and well known budget online printer, they offer an excellent range of low cost, in some cases FREE business cards – perfect for those out there who want some business cards to get by with.
Then you have the next level on online printers – MOO.com – slightly targeted at the client who really wants to leave a lasting impression of luxury and quality – and maybe stand out a little bit with their business, they are famously known for their MINI business cards (again a great way of standing out and leaving an impression – you card is different from every one else who leaves theirs)
Lastly the option you have is to support local business, and use a local printer to your town – something I personally prefer (even though my business is internet based) maybe I am biased because my family is your “local printer” what do you get with buying local and supporting local – a first class service, and people you know you can call directly and have a conversation with, the same people that you would want to tell all your friends about on Twitter for providing you a good service.
So like today when we went to print a full run of 11 cards our print operator noticed with his clever eye glass that the quality wasn’t the high level we would press pass for the client. We went back up to pre press department to check the original files, we noticed on one card that there was a problem when we converted the file, and the other card’s design just didn’t work when it went from screen to print. We’ve had to re run the printing plates, doctor the files slightly so the customer got the best possible end result for their card – all at our own cost. That is not something you would get with either types of online print company’s – they are trusting the client to send their files over print ready – which is fair of course.
Those are the options, but how do you know WHAT to include in your business card design?
Here are my TOP 50 Business Card Design Ideas
1. Decide on the shape of your business card when visualizing your design — consider perfect squares, rounded edges, or the traditional rectangle.
2. The only phone number you should hand write on a business card is your personal phone number.
3. Make sure to keep all information, like address, city, and state, up to date on your business card.
4. Lower your costs by ordering large quantities of business cards.
5. Never print your business cards at home. Even if you have a small business, always have them professionally printed.
6. Avoid using any art that may resemble clip art. It will immediately undermine the impression you’re looking to create.
7. Select the highest quality card stock; since so much business is done online, you want your business card to leave an impression
8. Consider adding a QR code that links back to your website or blog.
9. Don’t be intimidated with traditional layout. Think about including short text on how you can help the client or give them a fun fact on the back.
10. Consider glossy UV coated cards if you’re looking to stand out.
11. Get distinctive by utilizing raised ink business cards that literally give a feel to the cards.
12. Try fold over business cards if you need to give your audience more information.
13. Printing your business cards on linen card stock adds texture and depth.
14. The logo is one of the important parts of a business card; make sure your brand’s colors are utilized on any full color designs.
15. Don’t use a personal email on your business card, that’s why they call it a business card. Invest in a professional or vanity URL for your business.
16. Put the URL of your website on your business card.
17. Make sure your card matches your personality and profession. If you’re a graphic designer, it’s ok to be trendier. If you’re a banker, go for a more sober look and feel.
18. Make sure you use the same font and typeface on your business card. Multiple typefaces make it difficult to read.
19. Check the spelling on your business card. Spelling errors are completely unacceptable.
20. Avoid digital printed business cards. While they cost less, it’s reflected in the ultimate quality of the card; instead use offset printing.
21. Print on plastic if you want your card to stand out from the rest.
22. Include a business card with all packages and correspondence.
23. Put important social media links on your business card, such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
24. If you hand your card to someone and they don’t immediately offer a compliment, chances are your card is not memorable.
25. Stash you business cards in your jackets, luggage, car, office, and wallet. They only work when they’re given away.
26. Avoid card stock that clashes with your brand identity and logo.
27. Use the backside of your business card to engage the people reading it with checklists, tips, or interesting information about your company.
28. Don’t be too quick to offer your business card; you don’t want to be viewed as being pushy.
29. If you conduct business internationally, use the back of the business card as a translated version of the card.
30. Want a logo raised up from the card? You’ll have to create a cast die that will emboss your card with your logo or graphic. It’s more expensive, but leaves a lasting impression.
31. Produce multiple versions of your card and encourage people to collect them.
32. Brand yourself with a slogan and include it on your business cards. Readers will have a short idea to remember your business.
33. Bright colors like black, red are given a rich look and are visualized much attractive when given a UV coat.
34. UV coating gives business cards a feel that it is been printed on a thin marble sheet.
35. Print business cards on 12pt or 14pt thickness. If you want to minimize unnecessary bending or tearing opt for 16pt business cards.
36. The 16pt business card comes with a thick card stalk to make the content much more visible to the viewers.
37. For financial business cards, matte uncoated business cards on a 16pt linen stock offer a sober and professional approach.
38. Consider a logo update if your business’ name doesn’t stand out.
39. When laying out a business card, make sure to leave at least .25 inches of room from the edge so your text isn’t hugging the border.
40. Round cornered edges give business cards a fresh look, in addition you don’t have to worry about the corners being damaged by frequent handling.
41. If you are a small business, pick a title that will give the person reading your card the impression that you work for a larger company without having to say you’re a CEO.
42. Add logos of organizations your company belongs to or works with, such as the Better Business Bureau, GSA, or member associations. Third party organizations act as rubber stamps of approval and an endorsement for your company.
43. If you participate in an affiliate program, make sure your affiliate URL links are on your card.
44. Always protect your business cards in a sleeve or case. There’s nothing worse than pulling out a damaged or slightly used looking card.
45. Scan all the business cards you receive with Google Reader (available for the iPhone or Android). It will automatically parse the data and add your contacts to your contact list.
46. Add LinkedIn information to your card in the form of a QR code. It’s an easy way for someone to scan your card and connect with you directly.
47. Collect examples of great looking business cards, then use them as inspiration for future designs.
48. If you’re having trouble selecting what you want on your card, remember less is more; leaving a lot of white space usually translates to a more sophisticated approach.
49. Make sure your cards outline exactly what your company does. Your cards should articulate your core value proposition.
50. Work with a local printer or design firm to get the best possible printing results for your business cards. Local printers and design firms can give you the best options and ultimately be responsible for delivering a top notch product