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Top Tips for Amazing Business Cards

Rod Kelloway - Monday, October 06, 2014

So many business owners overlook the value of professional business cards.

Think about it. Business cards are so often the first piece of branded collateral that prospective clients receive from a company. It might just be a teeny, tiny piece of paper, but you have the opportunity to make a strong, lasting, positive first impression on a client. As long as you have professional business cards, that is.

There are plenty of inexpensive DIY online business card design and printing companies promoting their wares. The problem is: the end product delivered by these DYI-ers can sometimes be less than optimal. It is easy to spot a cheaply produced business card. Tell-tale signs include flimsy stock, amateurish design, missing important details, and blurred or smudged ink.

If your business cards are sporting any of these tell-tale signs, what message are you sending to prospective clients? Are you really doing yourself, and your brand, any favours by passing out cheap and nasty business cards? What image do you think people will take away of your brand, your company, even you personally?

Cheaper isn't always better when it comes to first impressions. Instead, give clients a great first impression with our tips and tactics for amazing business cards.

Tip #1: Enlist the Help of a Professional Designer

Unless you are a graphic designer yourself, enlist the help of a professional graphic designer. Leave design to the experts – it’s what they were trained to do.

Tip #2: Design Your Business Card in Line with the Rest of Your Marketing Collateral

This follows on from tip number one. If at all possible, don’t have your business cards designed in isolation from all your other marketing collateral. You should always work towards building a consistent feel across all your branding. So, your business cards should match your brochures, your website, your letterhead, your email signatures. You want your clients to recognise, and resonate with your brand instantly. For instance, we all intuitively know what golden arches and a bright red soft-drink can symbolise. Consistency is key to brand recognition.

Tip #3: Keep the Design Simple

Business cards are usually around 9 cm x 5 cm. Quite small. Not a huge amount of space to work with. So, don’t try to jam unnecessary content into the small area. Don't make your logo too large, and don’t include extra, unnecessary graphic elements.

Tip #4: Make Sure It’s Easy to Read

Following on from tip number five, make sure that your clients can actually read the important contact details listed on your business cards. So, don't make the type too small, and don't be afraid to use white space around the important information. Ensure that the colour of the font can be read easily, particularly if you opt for a dark or coloured background (for instance, red and yellow can be quite difficult to read when overlaid on particular shades of grey). Above all, don’t sacrifice space (that should be used for your contact details) for unnecessary graphics or enormous logos.

Tip #5: Don’t Get too Creative

We know that you want your business card to stand out from the crowd. But make sure that it stands out for all the right reasons. Don’t get too creative. For instance, a card in the shape of a triangle will stand out, but it won’t fit in (to a standard business card holder). More likely, it will end up in the bin. Stick with smaller creative tweaks; maybe a rounded corner, some embossed writing, or a splash of spot gloss.

Tip #6: Use Quality Stock

Human beings are naturally quite tactile beings. So, use a quality stock: one that isn’t too flimsy or bendy; one with a little bit of weight to it. Using quality stock makes your business card feel like a premium product, not a cheap and nasty knock-off.

Tip #7: Make Sure You Include All the Important Details

When it comes to business card content, there are some non-negotiable items. You must have your name, phone number, and email address. Company logo and website are also really important, followed by your position or title, postal address and social media handles (if that’s your bag).

Tip #8: Use the Reverse for Non-Crucial Details

It’s often a good idea to reserve the back of your business card for less important information. Maybe your company logo and website feature on the reverse. It can be quite handy to keep the reverse of a business card clear. Oftentimes, you can use it to write pertinent details on for specific clients.

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