Ten Tips for Creating a Great Business Card.

Dollar for dollar, your business card is  one of your best forms of advertising. I’ve been looking at my  card lately and thinking it’s time for a major makeover. It’s not that it’s terrible. It’s just not memorable. So I’ve been doing a little research on what makes for a great card. I’ve distilled it down to these ten key points:

  1. Include only essential contact information. This means your name and principal contact number. Don’t include  a fax or a cell number or address if you rarely use these for business.
  2. Keep your card clean and clutter free. You want it to be easy to read. Clutter is confusing and conveys a sense of disorganization and poor design sense.
  3. Don’t print your cards on your home office printer. You simply can’t get the same quality card stock as a professional printer and your cards will feel cheap. That’s not something you want to convey.
  4. Make  your design reflect your business. Put what you do on your card. For personal historians, you don’t want cartoon characters in neon glow colors. That would be fine  for an animation studio.Think legacy, books, film, memories, families, passing time, love….anything that suggests the work we do.
  5. Show your personality. You want your card to be memorable. Add a dash of color and an image that says something about you. Perhaps you could include a studio portrait of yourself or an image that conveys your style.
  6. Add a tag line. Create something that’s short and memorable. I’m thinking of using what I coined for my brochure, Preserving Memories Is an Act of Love.
  7. Make it readable.  It’s surprising  how many people  put light type on a white background or dark type on a darker background. Don’t use italicized or script fonts. They’re hard to read. If people have to squint to read your card, you’ve lost them.
  8. Leave your card back blank. Some argue that it makes sense to use every inch of your card. Others believe that a blank back gives you room to add more information or space for people to make a note about you. I’m for the blank back.
  9. Keep the standard format. Offbeat formats may be clever and fun but they’re hard to store and too often get trashed. If you can afford it,  a slight variation on the standard is to have one curved end or rounded corners. It’s a classy look.
  10. Hire a graphic designer. It can be expensive but the results are worth it. Business cards are a design challenge. To convey creatively information, style, and values all in a memorable wallet size card is not a job for amateurs.

Check out these books for more inspiration:

  • It’s in the Cards. “Ivan Misner, Candace Bailly and Dan Georgevich review more than 2,000 business cards from 10 countries and select more than 200 examples of some of the best, which are shown throughout the book in full-color.”
  • The Best of the Best of Business Card Design (Graphic Design) “…readers will find hundreds of unique and memorable designs in a broad range of colors, styles, and shapes for every type of client. Filled with inspiration for designers and their clients, this creative resource shows how any individual or business can make a tiny space speak volumes about who they are and what they do.”
  • The Business Card Book. “This comprehensive book contains all the information you need to create an effective business card. It is divided into four parts: deciding what messages you want to communicate; crafting a powerful card; using your card to build business; finding useful resources and references.”

Photo by Kariann Burleson

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15 Responses to Ten Tips for Creating a Great Business Card.

  1. Dan,
    Great points about professional-looking business cards. I’ve tried to print temporary cards at home, but even the ones that supposedly “break clean” leave a tell-tale ridge that shouts “homemade.”

    I also recommend leaving the back blank for a peronal touch or comment to the customer. They also make great bookmarks, so I always include one in each book I sell.

    Beth
    http://www.bethlamie.com

  2. Great post, Dan. Here’s a link to a site showing a bunch of VERY creative cards, but I’m afraid that these pretty much break the rule of “standard format”!!
    http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/05/100-really-creative-business-cards/

    dave

  3. Pingback: Attention Professional Photographers: Photo Books Are A Great Option | Crafts Making

  4. I suggest you ditch the caps for your tag line and make it

    Preserving memories is an act of love

    Pat
    http://writersandeditors.com

  5. @Pat McNees. Thanks for the suggestion, Pat. I’ll keep it in mind. I’m curious as to why you’d drop the caps?

  6. Ches Applewhite

    I agree with Pat on dropping the capital letters.
    Your tag line is a sentence and the caps are a distraction. cheers, ches

  7. @Ches Applewhite. Thanks, Ches. The “dropping caps” seem to be the winners so far. Anyone for keeping the caps?

    The argument for keeping them is that it causes the eye to pause ever so briefly on each word. In so doing, it gives more weight to the statement. It’s more of a slogan/title than a sentence.

  8. Susan Carpenter Sims

    It occurred to me while reading this helpful post, that a lot of what is said here comes down to principles that should be applied to websites as well. I see so many cluttered, “homemade”-looking, user-unfriendly sites these days.

    I agree about dropping the caps as well for the same reason as Ches Applewhite. I also think it can be nice to put the tag line in italics or a different font from the contact info.

  9. When you are ready to print your cards you should check out these guys.

    http://www.jukeboxprint.com/?refer=5558&hash=a267b709dcf9e7361a24d356bb582739

    They have a special for 1000 super glossy cards for $15. If you use the link above you will get an additional $10 off! At that price you can leave the cards on the ground behind you like bread crumbs cause they were so cheap!

    Dont forget to have a QR code in there too. They are important now more than ever

  10. The most important thing to remember about business cards is to carry on your person at all times! It’s always the one time you leave home without them that you run into all kinds of potential clients!

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