Make the most of your business card


The business card. A small, 88mm x 55mm piece of card, which you give to people so that they will hopefully remember you, call you and do business with you. Yes, business cards are small, but let's not ignore them - it's not their fault after all. The business card is possibly the smallest piece of marketing material your business produces - but, it is possibly one of the most important to get right.

Attitude business cards
Some examples of business card designs taken from our graphic design portfolio.

The irreducible minimum

It is so important because your business card holds the minimum, irreducible amount of information about your business. The card is a reflection upon what type of company it has come from. It needs to stand out next to your competitors and it needs to hold all of the relevant information to allow somebody to contact you. At the same time it must not look too busy or desperate.

So what information needs to be there?

Well, we always think the following are necessary:

  • Logo
  • Slogan - saying what your company does.
  • Name
  • Job description
  • Address
  • Office Telephone number
  • Mobile Number
  • Email Address
  • Web Address

Most of these things are pretty obvious, but the first two we find are often overlooked. Your logo is your identity. If applied consistently it stands as the banner of your business and brings recognition and trust. When it comes to business cards we always feel that it needs to be one of the most prominent things. We would normally recommend a double sided business card and give one whole side solely to the logo. This brings impact and enforces confidence.

A slogan - why, you may ask, is this part of the irreducible minimum? Well, logos have become very aspirational, reflecting the values of a business rather than literally what the business produces. If your logo was literal then this might not be so relevant but if your logo doesn't really say what you do exactly, it is worth coming up with a slogan which does. The reason for this is because if this business card sits in somebody's drawer for a few months (as most will) when it is taken out, bright eyed and blinking at the sunlight, if the person cannot remember what you do and doesn't have the inclination to check your web address, the chances are it will find its way into the filing cabinet of doom - namely the bin! If however you have something on there which jogs the memory or re-ignites an interest, then you might get an unexpected call.

Design

The first thing to consider in the design is the ease at which the basic information can be seen. Is it accessible and clear? Is the typography slick and easy to read? You do not want to make it complicated for somebody to get in touch. If that's your telephone number - label it "tel no". It's got to be clear and simple.

The next thing to look at is the over-all 'feel'. Does it fit in with your corporate image? Does it look consistent with your website? This is important because as we've already mentioned consistency builds trust. Is it cramped? Is there breathing space around your logo?

Colours are also important, as they help to bring impact. We often like to flood one side of a business card, (usually the side which holds the logo), with the company's corporate colour. The other side we normally keep white - this gives greater impact when the card is turned over - from which ever side the viewer sees first.

Business card material

DO NOT print your own business cards from your inkjet office printer! It looks - and is, cheap. Business card printing is not as expensive as you may think (if you don't believe us contact us and we'll prove it to you!). If your business card is a reflection of your business and you cannot even get a professionally printed card produced, then it doesn't look great for your business!

Get your cards printed on card! We would recommend around 250gsm. We would also suggest a laminate, gloss or matt. This gives it that superior finish that gives your card a 'quality' feel. Remember everything needs to reflect your brand values and so if you are offering a quality service all of these things help to reflect that.

To give your cards something extra, you could get your cards dye cut - this allows you to cut shapes out of your business cards. For example you could cut the corner off, or round the corners. This really helps to differentiate your card from competitors because it makes it completely unique. One thing we would not recommend though is for a card to be outside of the normal size - remember these have to fit into the business card wallets of your potential clients and they do need to be able to be easily stored in a conventional way. This is why we rarely recommend folded, or even 3d, business cards - although fun, these are bulky and we would suggest they don't have a long life span and are not practical.

Taste my brand / brand chocolates

brand chocolates

We came across a great strategy the other day. To our utter surprise, when we asked our new accountant if she could give us her business card - she took it out of her bag with 2 wrapped, high quality chocolates on top! What a positive way to introduce your business! When we commented on this, she also said that people tend to leave the chocolates for a while and then eat them when she has gone - keeping the memory of her business lingering on. We also feel that it uses another sense in the brand introduction experience - taste! This again helps to enforce recognition and all works in a positive way to get you business (although of course, you need to keep wrapped chocolates in your bag at all times?!). So, maybe arm yourself, and your sales team, with little treats!

Conclusion

Who would have thought there is so much to think about in just a simple little thing as a little business card! Well there is - and there is probably more. Do you have any thoughts dear reader? Please leave a comment below:

Comments

If everyone starts to give out chocolates what do you suggest I do next (as I usually tell people the idea is copyrighted!!)
*editors note - Vanessa is our accountant mentioned above!

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