A business card is an essential tool for all businesspeople. Not only does it allow you to give others your contact information, but it can also help you start conversations and build connections.
A standard business card measures 85.60mm x 53.98mm, and a good one should be able to convey the overall image of your business as well as get your message across within a small amount of space. A well-designed business card will also make your company appear like a legitimate business, and make you stand out from the crowd.
Although you can’t put everything about your business on the card, you can at least present a professional image that people will remember.
Here are some tips for designing an effective and innovative business card:
1. Good design principles
- Have a modern and clean design – it’ll make you look professional.
- Key copy must be at least 5mm away from the edge, or it looks crammed in.
- To reproduce a good-quality image, work at 300dpi.
- Your typeface and font size must be clear and legible.
- Use the CMYK colour system unless you’re working with spot colours – use only one or two main colours on your business card.
- Use a grid to lay out your card in order to hierarchize your info correctly, and ensure it is all aligned.
- Make your logo the largest element on the card, and use it as the cornerstone.
- Keep it simple – just put your name, title, business name, address, phone, fax, email and website.
There are a lot of different ways that you can be creative with your business card. For example, you could use a card that measures 160mm x 106mm and fold it over like a small brochure, a plastic card, or a card in a random shape (though this makes it hard for people to keep in their wallet). Textured or coloured paper will also add interest to your card – use light shades to enhance readability. Or you can make a point about yourself on the card to help it stick in people’s minds.
Your card can also double as a useful tool, e.g. holds hairclips, turns into a small chair for holding up your phone, cheese grater, straw or bike tool. To prevent people from throwing away your business card, make it useful.
4. Breaking the ice
Your card should be able to start conversations. For example, you could create a funny card, as this can open up a conversation with prospective customers. A funny card will also make your card memorable and unforgettable, so you can be sure that people will remember you later on.
5. Showcasing your work
If you’re a designer or photographer, use your card to create a mini portfolio. If you have Instagram, put the feed on the back of the card, so when it’s fanned out it’ll show your work and travels. A card with your portfolio gives people a piece of your work to keep.
6. Special finishes
Make your card tangible, visually appealing and memorable by using thermography (raised, shiny print), embossing, foil stamping, metallic inks or spot-UV, e.g. a guitar tutor’s card could feature spot-UV to highlight fret positions.
A die-cut process can cut out shapes from the centre of the card. It can also change the shape of your card – grab people’s attention by having a card with a non-traditional shape, e.g. a teddy bear-shape card for a childcare centre, or a birthday cake-shape card for a party planner. You can also combine the process with letterpress or creasing to create architectural features in the design.
8. Unusual materials
You can print on transparent plastic, metal, wood or slate. For example, if you were an IT specialist, your card could be made from a printed circuit board that also works like a USB, offering extra information about the specialist.
9. Recycling old cards
Use old business cards, postcards, Christmas cards, screen prints or packaging to make your business card, and get some stickers printed or make hand illustrations on them.
The colours, words and texture of your card must be relevant to your business. For example, if you sell children’s toys and games, use bright, primary colours and words in child’s script. If you’re a financial adviser, show that you’re professional and reliable by using traditional looks like black print on a grey, beige or white background.
11. Showing off your aesthetic
If you want to entice a design-savvy individual, make your card unique. Also treat your card like it’s a piece of art – if you’re a real estate agent, use it to show off the spaces on offer. Your card doesn’t need to summarise everything about your business – view it as an introduction and guide to where people can find out more about your products/services.
12. Common border error
Don’t use a straightforward border around the whole card – if the card isn’t cut perfectly, any misalignment in the trim will show up.
13. Double-checking artwork
Double-check your artwork and text before sending it off to the printing company – you don’t want to find out there’s a typo after receiving your batch of cards and having to reprint them.
A good business card can set you on the path to success. It’s important to not only make a good first impression, but also a lasting impression. Having a cleverly-designed business card ensures that people will keep it and find out more about your business.