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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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