Your business card often gives prospective clients their first glimpse of your company. A well-designed card can reflect your professionalism and make a positive impression, while an inferior one might cause potential customers to turn you away. Look at your cards through your customers’ eyes and assess how well the cards represent you in the competitive race for new business.
In your quest for a stylish, attractive business card, don’t let aesthetics crowd out practical details such as your full and current contact information. The more connection methods you provide, the greater the likelihood that prospects can find you through the communications channels they find easiest to use. For example, you can add a QR code that links to your website, social media details and, if your business requires that customers provide you with digital assets, include your online file-upload address. Rather than crowd the front of your card with so much text that it becomes hard to read, pay a little extra for two-sided printing and make use of the back as a place for secondary information, answers to frequently asked questions, a map to your office or other useful details.
Perhaps a dull business card trumps no card at all, but an attractive card that sets you apart from your competition works harder for you than one that screams “I bought this on green-ink day at the local quick printer.” While many people fancy themselves to be first-rate designers, not nearly as many actually possess the skills and knowledge necessary to do right by a 2-inch by 3.5-inch piece of cardboard that serves as an important business-recruitment tool. Hire a professional designer to avoid the pitfalls of obvious DIY design. If you already have a logo, include it on your card, and make your typographic and color choices play off the design scheme of this element of your business identity. If you’re just starting out, ask your designer to create a logo and implement it on a full suite of coordinated identity materials, including letterhead and envelopes as well as business cards.
Aesthetics aside, readability still claims a top spot on the list of business-card functions, especially because of the growing use of card scanners to digitize contact information. If your logo crowds the type into a minuscule size, the entire card uses light-gray ink on off-white stock, or you fall in love with a script typeface that’s hard to read, your card may look interesting but fail in its role as your silent spokesperson. Print and cut out samples of the designs you’re considering and pass them around to people you know whose interests or needs resemble those of your core prospects. Watch how they interact with your samples and ask them to critique the cards. This input can help you finalize your choice among competing card options.
Consider choosing materials other than paper if an alternative suits your business and its unique selling proposition. For example, a fabrication shop might use metal cards, while a see-through plastic card might work well for a window company. If you opt for a plastic card, you can print content on the back so it shows through the front and creates a fool-the-eye illusion. Businesses that market to multiple clienteles, such as a photography studio that focuses on both landscape images and executive portraits, may need cards for each individual customer target.