A great business card is absolutely essential to set you apart and it is often the first peek a potential client gets into who you are and how you conduct your business. A sloppy card will speak just as loudly as a stunning one. If you want to leave a lasting impression, you need a great business card (not just a good one).
The fact that most people have very ordinary, familiar business cards works in your favor. As soon as you hand someone a unique card it will almost always lead to a positive reaction, and hopefully a positive working relationship. They will also most likely hold onto the card even if they’re not planning on doing immediate business with you, this could lead to future business or a referral. You are in fact conveying a feeling, establishing your brand and transferring crucial information in one efficient unit.
our own cards have brought us more new business than anything
It doesn’t hurt that they’re freaking awesome and currently ranked 11th out of 346 top rated cards on Creattica. The return on investment on a great card is very high. If you think of the amount of money it costs to print a single card (usually under a dollar, even for one loaded with features) it pays off hugely if it lands you even one new project. Special care and attention to detail say a lot about how important your image and your business means to you, and sometimes it just takes that extra edge to land the project.
not just for designers
I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t need a crazy business card with all the bells and whistles because I’m a (not so creative job title here)“. Well, what if you took the same approach to how you dressed for an important meeting, or how you write your emails. Sure, you can write an email in ALL CAPS and no punctuation and it still gets the message across, but what does that say about how serious you are when it comes to peoples perception of how you handle your business? A great card doesn’t have to be loaded with graphics or printed on meat with lasers… sometimes the key to great design is simplicity.
but it doesn’t fit in those damn card readers
Perfect. I’m not saying make a card that comes with a backpack to carry it or requires a Cryptographer to read it, but being a little different is a good thing. At the same time, you can’t lose sight of the core purpose of the business card, it has to be legible and clear to understand. If it takes someone more than a few seconds to try to make out your phone number, don’t expect a call.
content is king
When you’re creating content for the web it can easily be changed on the fly. If you change your phone number and you’ve just printed 2000 cards, you’re out of luck. Make sure to only include essential information on your business card and leave out what may change over time. If they need your hours of operation, they can get that information on your website.
I say keep it simple:
- Name (first and last)
- Title (if its unlikely to change before you run out of cards)
- Mobile #
- Office #
- Fax #
- Address (if its unlikely to change before you run out of cards)
- Maybe add in your tagline or a short mojo statement that carries through all your marketing material
Anything else is really overkill, and you run the risk of cluttering up your card.
temp cards for now
If you really don’t have to wait, or you just need “something” for that upcoming tradeshow… consider getting some temporary cards made up to get you going until your real cards are done. A temp card (even one sided black and white printed digitally on regular paper) can still look absolutely great. Try to stick with the same core design elements as your final card to ensure a smooth transition once they’re ready.
printing techniques that will really set you apart
If you want a certain element on your card to really stand out, try using some of these printing techniques (click for examples):
Don’t go the inexpensive route just to save an extra 4 cents per card. Take the extra time to go the extra mile, and when it comes to printing you really get what you pay for. Also, build a good relationship with a great print shop. We use Universal Printing in North Vancouver, BC.
Some online resources and books that are sure to tickle your creative senses.
- Best of Business Card Design 6
- Best of Business Card Design 7
- Best of Business Card Design 8
- Business Cards 3: Designs on Saying Hello
- Business Cards 2: More Ways of Saying Hello