When a company has been making business cards for millions of business owners for as long as we have, you learn a thing or two about what makes a good one. Each business owner is unique and there are some things that work for some businesses that don’t work for others. I’ve put together a list of business card do’s and don’ts that should apply to all cards:
Business Card Do's
Keep it Simple
The most successful business cards are clean with open space. This will instantly make your card look professional. A business card should be easily digestible for the person receiving it because you want them to absorb the information as quickly as possible. You should have just enough information for them to understand your business, without complicating your design.
Make it Unique to You
Your business card should be meaningful but not overly designed. Every element should have a purpose and epitomize you and your business. Forget the frills and excess, include what is necessary to make a beautiful business card that is easy to read and represents your business. The style of your card can help your audience understand your business better. Use color and font choices that echo your business. For example, a traditional business may want to use a traditional serif font and a more conservative colors palette, or if you have a bold business, go with bold colors and fonts. Start to build a brand personality and business identity based on the common values of your business and let your card telegraph to your audience what your business is all about.
Think Outside the Box
We are constantly inspired with how our customers use their business cards for things other than business cards. A growing trend with our retail and restaurant customers is using business cards for loyalty programs. For example, add “Buy 10 get one free” for your frequent customers. Or use a card as a hangtag for merchandise or for name tags at conferences. We are also seeing our customers use business cards as small greeting cards for gift baskets. The options are endless!
Business Card Don'ts
Stick to Tradition
Another important aspect to think about is, what do you want the person receiving your card to do with it? Not all cards need to have the traditional business contact information included. Do you want them to go to your website? If so, then it should be the most prominent information on your card. If you prefer to receive calls, then make your phone number clear and bold.
There are many paper options that can help make that first impression the right one. With a small budget, you can boost your brand with premium paper and spot gloss or metallic finishes that can help your card stand out from the rest and instantly make your business look well established. Regardless of what you do for a living, your card doesn’t need to be boring!
Let Them Throw it Away
There are some simple ways to make your business card so impactful, that it’s impossible to throw away. One way to stand out is to consider a different size or texture all together. You can break out of the mold by using oversized or square cards; add rounded corners or a matte or shiny finish to your paper. These options can help your card feel different than others in the recipient’s collection.
For more tips, take a look at this quick guide to business card design rules.