Business cards are the basic marketing tool for an entrepreneur or working professional. They provide the basic information about a person and her company, and if they include a logo, a business card is a potential client’s first contact with the company brand. Because these little pieces of cardstock are so critical to business success, it pays to do them right.
A business logo–the heart of a company’s brand identity–should be prominently displayed on the card. Resist the urge to make the logo very large: It should be big enough to be seen, but let the white space around it call attention to the logo. Avoid using a template business card design that clashes with the logo; colors and fonts should be harmonious across the entire card.
Every card should contain the essential contact information: Company name, personal name, title, department, phone and fax numbers, mailing address and e-mail address. Depending on the industry, a person can include cell phones or home-office phone numbers as well. Tip: Use a professional e-mail address. Entrepreneurs should get a custom domain instead of relying on obscure email addresses like email@example.com or something similar that is branded from a free e-mail service.
Back of the Card
Keep the back of the card blank. Do not put important information on the back; most people file cards in Rolodexes or booklets assuming that the reverse of the card is blank. Give a new contact the space to make notes on the back of the card, or at least limit what goes on the back to things like a mission statement. Avoid using the card to directly advertise, as business cards are marketing tools, not advertising venues.
Avoid cluttering a card with too much information. Although data elements like Twitter handles, photographs and contact info for an assistant are not, per se, inappropriate, it is better to provide basic information and allow the card’s recipient to visit a website for more data. When in doubt, leave it out; the goal is to provide enough information to allow a person to connect, not to provide all possible contact information.
The most elegant cards are the ones that are the most simple: A well-designed logo with basic contact information. Avoid using non-standard media (like mini-CDs or metal cards) or using larger sizes than normal. Use good card stock, but avoid glossy paper–ballpoint pens cannot write on it as well as regular stock. Think twice about using garish colors or clipart, as well.