Business cards or as I like to refer to them as conversation starter then memory joggers and aided recall on who was the guy/gal who does that. The power of a business card has evolved from the desktop rolodex or as I prefer, the always reliable zip lock bag, to the online business card manager. Technology has taken us from searching the rolodex to manually inputting in contacts to scanning in the information.
This change in the way we handle business cards has also changed the value of the design of a business card. Creating a cool business card is still a priority however with all the do it yourself templates the coolness can lack and more importantly the differentiation has diminished. Budgets do not always support hiring a graphic design agency to design a business card so here are some tips to keep in mind.
1. Layout. Horizontal or Vertical? The size of a standard business card does not change so deciding if a horizontal or vertical card will work best is determined by the logo design and the amount of information on the card.
2. Information. The amount of information varies generally by size of company, industry as well as the best way to contact you. The logo, your name, title (although some are eliminating this), phone number, email and address (again this is being eliminated). A good rule is to have the best way to contact you. If you are an avid tweeter, then your twitter name should be included, as a small business if your address is your home then omitting this might be a good idea.
3. Color Choice. White or a flood of color for the background? White is standard and safe where a colored background stands out. Utilizing colored backgrounds does differentiate however they still need to be legible. Having a card that looks great at first sight but not easily read does get you remembered but as the person whose card we cannot read.
4. Fonts. The font that is chosen for your logo is not necessarily the best choice for the information on your card. Look at each character and make sure that they are legible. There are so many fonts that can make a number or letter look different that can change the appearance.
5. Font Color. Incorporating your company colors is a great way to further your corporate identity however some colors do not reproduce well together. Red vibrates and with certain background colors it may at first glance stand out, it can very hard to read.
6. Dye Cuts. Dye cuts differentiate and are cool business cards so long as your corporate identity supports it. Graphic elements that are a part of your logo sometimes reproduce better with a dye cut so long as it does not interfere with your information.
7. Single Sided/Double Sided. It used to be that the back was to be blank so people could write on the back. With the emergence of social media and the various applications the back of the business card can be valuable space. This once again comes down to the providing information on the best way to contact you.
8. Paper Stock. 14pt,12 pt,100 pound cover, 80 pound cover – all industry jargon but what is the standard? Generally 14pt or 100 pound cover works best as these are similar. There is ink saturation levels that play a role as well. Another consideration is gloss or matte. Certain colors can get muddy with either a gloss or matte.
The way we interact with business cards has changed however the importance of having a business card that represents your business has not. Meeting someone for the first time face to face is still brings out traditional tried and true business card. The lasting impression, the memory jogger that can set you apart from everyone in the room.