Your calling card has the potential to make or break business deals – so get the design right with these “golden rules…”
Of all the marketing collateral pieces at your disposal, a custom business card is one of the most effective ways to leave a lasting memory in the minds of potential clients. A cleverly crafted card will not only sum up your services and skills, it’ll also serve as a reminder of a face-to-face meeting and provide that personal touch so often lacking from digital communication.
Services like MOO and Vistaprint are excellent for cheap, short runs, while services like Republic Design Company prides itself on custom printed business cards that exude class. So what are the components to a beautifully designed and produced business card? Read on…
WHO AM I?
Make your name clear, as well as what you do. The purpose of your business card is to leave a lasting impression of quality, class, and trust: it doesn’t matter how many intricate creative elements you incorporate – if the design consists of your name in six-point type with a mix of caps and lower case, and the tag-line: “Master of all creative solutions in the media ecosystem,” it’s of no use to anyone.
LOSE THE “BLING”
Use gimmicks sparingly. In general, complicated cut-outs, the use of unusual materials, fold-up models and so-on are best left for mail-outs and other marketing collateral. Think about your message: will using silver ink really help communicate what you do? DO NOT FOLLOW A TREND JUST BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE IS! Carefully consider each and every design element, and ensure it adds real value to your message.
YOU CAN REACH ME ON…
It sounds obvious, but make sure you include every way in which you want people to contact you. These should, ideally, include a phone number, email address and website – don’t just throw on your twitter feed and hope people will track you down. Also (of course), make sure you regularly check those points of contacts. Tardy replies don’t install confidence in prospective clients.
KEEP IT CLEAN
Your choices of typeface are critical for giving out the right message about your company, so think carefully. You generally only need two typefaces, (if that). A common error is to use too small a point size – if this seems to be happening then your probably trying to cram too much information onto the card. Keep that data for your website, blog, twitter, newsletter, and so-on.
Don’t clutter your business card design. you need to make sure your message speaks loudly and clearly to your recipient. One pro tip is to leave at least a modicum of clear space for people to scribble on by hand. Business cards are used as ad-hoc note-taking devices all the time, particularly during those all-important first meetings or networking events. You want to give people every chance to look twice at your card.
MATCH THE CLIENT
Depending on your client spread and whether you regularly attend industry events, exhibitions, and so-on, consider having two different sets of cards: one more traditionally plain; and perhaps one showing more experimentation. You can then match the type of card to the type of client your likely to be meeting.
Without getting too Patrick Bateman (of American Psycho fame about it all, ensure you use a decent quality of card stock (or whatever other medium you’ve settled on). Talk to your printer about the different techniques and materials available, and discuss what minimum weight you’re likely to be able to get away with before the price starts ramping up considerably. Any decent printer will happily help.
Business cards don’t necessarily have to be business card-sized (3.5×2 inches), but try to keep them small enough to tuck into pockets, at least. As a rule, unless your card has a dual function (doubling up as a cool bookmark, for example), if it doesn’t fit into a wallet then it will more than likely end up in the trash…
DON’T FORGET THE BACK
The most successful cards are the ones that are memorable, so once you’ve followed the golden design rules here, it’s time to think about added impact. The back of a business card offers a fantastic canvas to make your card stand out from the rest, so think about how you can use it in a way that’s relevant to your services or of use to the recipient. It could be a place for tips or loyalty stamps, or to provide an insight into your style, for instance.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST
Custom Business Cards can be designed and produced in a variety of shapes, sizes, quantities, etc. However, we’ve put together a simple and popular assortment of frequently purchased business cards for our existing and perspective client-base. The following selection of business cards are printed and produced on Full Color, 16 Point Card Stock, UV Gloss and/or Flat Matt, Front + Back: