Business cards are often overlooked or tucked away for later. But when properly done, a business card is the first thing potential clients will look at after meeting you. It will identify your business, and provide a way to get in touch – which makes your card an essential part of your brand. The design, the message, the ‘feel’ of your card – these are all clear signals to your new clients that will help them work out who you are and what you stand for. A clean, simple design suggests you care about appearance – while a cluttered, over complex card might scare people away.
So how do you communicate everything about your brand on a simple business card?
The main reason you hand your card out is to be contacted, so don’t hide your details with cluttered design and unnecessary text. Your card is always one glance away from ending up in a pile with all the others, so communicate your USP as simply, and memorably as possible. What makes your brand stand out from the crowd?
If your design looks amateurish, then so will your business. Highly detailed and complex designs don’t scale well and lose detail when printed (particularly for logos). You need to find that vital balance between design and content, with some space for people to write additional notes on your card.
Legibility is essential, but it’s the font that helps depict personality! The right font sets the tone, speaks in the voice of your brand, and expresses your style. Remember, a fun or modern font may end up undermining a ‘serious’ business such as a law firm or accountancy (let’s not even mention Comic Sans!).
It may sound odd, but colours are imbued with relationships and meanings. If you choose a colour that matches your message, you’ll find our card unconsciously communicates what you want to say.
A professional business should look just that – professional. Low print quality can be disastrous for the look and ‘feel’ of the card. If you offer a high quality product or service, don’t be let down by poor quality print just to save a few bucks. After all, what does that tell people about your brand?
Paper / Material
Whether you like it or not, the quality of the paper you use says something about your brand. Cheap, thin paper can give the wrong impression. Touch is an important sense, and cheap, thin paper never feels good. If you choose plastic or metal instead, think carefully – a rigid card may suggest a similar trait in you or your business.
As everyone knows, size matters – so choose yours wisely! Smaller business cards can be perceived as cool, innovative or cute while really large sizes might help you stand out! But would a small, funky card suit a very corporate brand? And would an oversized card get thrown away because it doesn’t fit neatly into a wallet.
So before designing and printing your business cards, consider some of these points. What do you want your business cards to truly say about you and your brand? If you get it just right, you’re much more likely to get that all-important first phone call.
Have we missed anything? What other factors do you think affect the initial perception of your brand?