A business card is the most important marketing piece that a company will have.
Business cards can contribute significantly to an efficient marketing plan which makes them one of the most powerful tools of marketing strategists.
Remember – you cannot place all important information about your company on that card. What you need is an excellent design that will create memorable, professional impression about your work.
[The following are business cards that SketchPad has designed.]
Impression – that’s the right word! For many customers, a business card will be the first and most important impression of your activity. Running a well organized business with poorly designed business card is like wearing an elegant suit with a poor briefcase.
How to design a business card – make it cool!
Design your business card in a way which will respond to the futuristic requirements of the market.
The best way to decide how to design a business card is to follow the example of big corporations, which employ a professional approach and use cards as opportunities to draw attention to their products/services.
Why should you create your own business cards?
We must admit though, that business card usage had a major drawback in recent years-people decide more and more to use technology and to store contacts in their phones, instead of collecting cards.
Let me give you two reasons to design your business card:
- Business cards reflect your identity. If properly designed, they will certainly draw attention and they will make people remember who you are and which your business branch is.
- Business cards are time savers. As much as a person may like to use his new smart phone, he will not always be able to spend time inserting all of your data in it. Handing a business card will save time (both for you and your potential customer) and it would mean you gave them a carbon-copy of all the information you want them to know.
Make it stylish!
We could all agree that most business cards are not interesting. Perhaps, it is not their purpose to be so. However, outstanding industries handle this problem quite well, as they employ excellent designers to make their brand stand out.
We are not discussing shiny, overdone and unrealistic cards, but rather something that looks sophisticated and can brag with excellent functionality.
The main point is to balance looks and performance in order to create the best business card designs.
A sneak-peak into basics
Basic business cards usually contain a plain white/beige background and bold black text. As simple as it sounds, this approach guarantees utility.
It is a great idea for those responding to basic market needs, whose customers could hardly be impressed by fancy looks and excessive information.
Go basic if you think that your customers want nothing, but the essential information.
Sometimes, putting your photo on a business card (or even a caricature, when your business allows it) can be helpful for people to remember you and to recognize your work.
Applying images of photos and services can be even better, as it helps people associate your company with a particular sector and to understand your work even without further explaining.
Black and white cards could also use bold color splashes, so that people would understand you’re there to make a difference.
Its true-most people will throw the card in some corner and they will not remember to use it when the time comes. That’s why you have to consider multifunctional cards, which promote your brand, but serve another purpose at the same time.
You can provide cards with valuable information (calendars, timetables), discount coupons, or currency lists. Long story short-think about everything your customer may need.
Look at some valuable examples-hotels encourage people to visit them with a location map, while gas stations include a list of all additional services they provide. The more purposeful your card is, the more interesting it will become.
Originality is something everybody desires.
Your business card can be the excellent tool, as long as you’re passionate enough to design it properly.
You can employ a well thought business card layout with fancy details, extravagant means or rich colors-as long as it keeps up with your budget, there are no restrictions.
Time to create your own business card
Before you start, think that your business card is the personalization of your business-it has to reflect the quality of your work; the history of your brand; and it has to tell an interesting story that customers will like.
Basic tips for designing business cards
Think about size
Take a standard format (3.5 x 2 inches) which can easily fit inside the wallet. Making a smaller one (if you wish to include less information) could be a good idea, but including a larger one will hardly make users want to keep it.
Include readable information
It’s not enough to include all the basic information-use fonts and sizes that are readable, and can help potential customers to locate and to contact you.
Find a way to impress customers
Think about it – does your card look as professional and passionate as you are? What would you think if you saw the same card coming from another brand? Is it the real card for your business? Is there something you can do to improve it?
The initial 10 seconds make it or break it. It is the very moment when clients build long-lasting opinions about your work. Sounds ungrateful, but that’s how it is-we’re humans and we judge the book by its cover.
Don’t worry – it is not Mission impossible. There are tricks and tactics to use to create a professional business cards and which can make your card interesting and could even distract customers from flaws you don’t want to be seen.
The W-set: What, Who, Where, Why?
We might be repeating this, but it is very important-the essential factor of a good card is the information it contains. The best way is to pack names, addresses, logos and job titles; and to display them in an understandable manner.
Once again, don’t exaggerate with information-you want to balance between contact data and clear, beautiful appearances. If not sure, stick to the essentials: Name, website, email address, and phone numbers.
Trends don’t necessarily concern you
There are many trends, pitfalls, and even misconceptions people tend to follow when designing a business card.
For instance, you may think that a 3mm bleed, as provided by the printer, is your solution. Don’t do it right away, but check whether it actually suits your style and whether you can do it.
A commonly followed approach is to design cards with sharp borders, in order to avoid misalignment, Guess what? If you did the alignment properly, borders really don’t play a role.
Between too much information and too small typeface, the typeface size is not the thing you should cut.
Resist this temptation and exclude information you think is not so essential.
Be careful with it-text will look more readable on screen than it does on paper, and you don’t want corrections once it is done. Let’s say that the best option is 8pt.
If you can, avoid borders completely.
They may look stylish and elegant, but they can produce a ‘lop-sided’ effect once they are cut.
Most printers have an already established margin for separating your cards, and it might happen that just few millimeters will destroy the visual result you were expecting.
Colors or no colors?
The same as in other design branches, bright colors can be a helpful tool to stand out and to deliver successful messages, Besides, they can make people recognize you and distinct you from all similar providers on the market. However, brave color games are only for those who professionalized in them, and they are the only ones that can create something exiting and original, and not kitschy.
It doesn’t mean, however, that simplicity has no advantages. A powerful black and white contrast can even be more memorable, and it is often perceived as more sophisticated.
That is why you have the back side of your card-write everything you think would be useful for your customer. Put your personal data or social media links, or define precisely your job space.
You’re absolutely free to organize this information however you like. When it comes to content, don’t forget email addresses, phone numbers, websites, etc. You can also use QR codes, to make the web information look good and accessible.
An image is worth 1000 words. That’s especially correct when it comes to awesome business cards. Assuming you already included vital information, you can use the other side to apply more visual tools.
It could be a photo of your product, resources, or whatever that is related to your business. If you have a logo, don’t forget to include it. At the end of the day, the important thing is to fill the space, because people are very likely to look at it too.
Hiring professional help
Hiring a professional for designing the coolest business cards is obviously the best choice, but it’s not like all of us could afford it. In fact, with some modest knowledge and big-time motivation, and you could create a personal card on your own.
It’s not just about cards; it is about every paper masterpiece! Check it as many times as you repute necessary, before you send it for printing. You certainly don’t want to notice there was a tying mistake once you’ve printed and delivered it.
How To Create A Brand Image With A Business Card
As you probably know already, the brand is the sum of all experiences with a particular product or service which is building both reputation and future expectations of benefit.
Building your brand as a designer isn’t an easy task and you should be very careful about it because your image and your future income depend on it.
One way of branding yourself is through a business card which isn’t just a calling card, but a snapshot of your brand.
People are aware that business cards tell a story and they are influenced by that story about you and your work. If you do it right, you will transmit the essence of your brand and it can be a sales piece, a mini ad for your services. However, if you fail at creating a good business card, yours will just be one of many that are forgotten or thrown in the garbage.
You should know, if you don’t already, that a memorable card creates a memorable brand. If you are the kind of person who goes at conferences or meets with various people you should have a memorable business card. The people that you are giving cards to already have dozens of them at the end of the day and you have to give them a reason to keep yours or remember you.
Most of the times, during a so called networking session a person will be unable to associate the faces of the people that he met with the business cards he received. Of those many cards, he will remember only a few which are standing out from the crowd.
Developing a great brand
A vital role in how a market perceives your brand is played by the mixture of colors, fonts and style. The visual elements of the brand need to be considered very carefully if you want them to have a positive impact on your potential clients.
The visual element that you should start with is color because it plays a big role in the decision that your potential clients will make. The colors that you choose will resonate and create an association with your brand.
The meaning of colors are generally the same, but they can be radically different in some places of the world, like the Asian countries. If the people that you are giving business cards to are from North America, Europe or Australia, then you should know the meaning of colors for your audience:
-Red: Passion, enthusiasm, energy
-Green: Success, growth, honesty
-Blue: Knowledge, loyalty, intelligence
-Yellow: Wisdom, optimism, joy
-Purple: Luxury, sophistication, nobility
-Orange: Creativity, vibrancy, activity
-Black: Power, authority, seriousness
-White: cleanliness, innocence, simplicity
Another element that is important in building your brand is the font selection. Fonts are important in establishing the brand image and promoting the brand personality. Each font has its unique way of generating an emotion and it is important to choose the right one for your audience.
For example, serif fonts have a serious style and can be used to transmit sophistication and strength. Sans-serif fonts are not perceived as serious as serif ones, but that doesn’t mean that they are frivolous. Instead their image that they are creating is sleek and modern.
There are people that are advocating for script or handwriting fonts and are stating that their usage on business cards delivers an interesting effect, but the truth is that a handwriting font will only make a business card harder to read.
Regular size or something totally different?
The standard size of business cards is 2 in. x 3.5 in. due to a lot of factors. People are generally conservative about the size of the card, especially because its size is recognizable as of a business card’s. The other reason for this size’s popularity is the lower price than of one’s with a strange shape.
If it is cheaper, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t opt for an ordinary one. On the contrary, you should better pay a little bit more to get a more interesting card. There are modern printing and cutting techniques that can deliver even the weirdest shape that you can think of.
It won’t come as a shock when I’ll tell you that digital printing is the most common way of printing business card these days, being done with inkjet technology or laser printers.
Besides the digital printing methods, there are also other interesting methods which could deliver a really good results. One way of printing cards is with the help of a letterpress. This can be a little bit expensive, but it creates an insanely beautiful effect that will surely be remembered by a person who is used to seeing a lot of flat cards.