The Fundamentals of Business Card Design
What is the goal of your business card?
The business card is primarily a tool to improve contact between you and your prospects or customers. While business cards were first used for social reasons (called visiting cards) in the 1600s, they are now an integral part of the business world.
The most important aspect of designing a business card is not the design itself but the reason behind the card.
What do you want to accomplish with your card?
The answer to that question dictates the design.
Like any tool, it’s how you use it that counts. Your goal is not to have a pretty-looking car: it’s to generate more business.
A business card that drives traffic to your storefront (street address) will differ from one that drives traffic to your professional services website (website URL).
Describe your ideal recipient. How will this person respond to your card? Through a phone call or an e-mail?
While e-mail is the fashionable means of contact, the older generation still feels more comfortable with a phone call.
The more details you know about your target demographic, the better you can tailor your business card.
What is your budget?
While the costs of basic business cards are very affordable, adding on more features, such as non-standard materials, cut-outs, raised lettering and a splashy color selection can take a per card cost from a few pennies to over a dollar.
Like any expense, it helps you decide what features your card should have if you first determine the budget.
In addition, head over to our PrintPlace coupons page and use those discounts to give your budget a relief.
Using a professional designer or do it yourself?
Regrettably, business card design costs have misled people into thinking that they can do it themselves. This could not be more deceptive.
People do not realize that it takes training, skill and experience to put together a business card and that it is not just a matter of assembling the information, logo, colors and fonts.
With so many factors crammed into a tiny space, it is much better to bring your design wishes to a professional, who can create something that will not only make you happy, but also communicate professionalism to your prospects and clients.
The value of experience cannot be overstated. If you are not experienced, you are bound to make rookie mistakes.
Just because you can does not mean you should.
Too many cards today emphasize being different in order to stand out. Unfortunately, they could stand out for the wrong reason.
You should start with the tried and true, and then justify any departure from that.
The standard size is 3.5″ x 2″ and made of card stock (50lbs – 110lbs).
Digital printing can be done with either inkjet or laser printers. This is the most common and usually the most cost-effective ways to print cards.
You should have a conservative color palette: ask yourself, or others, how would a splashy choice of colors help you connect with your clients? If you don’t have a good answer, keep the colors simple.
The layout should emphasize clean and simple. Do not try to fill every square inch of space with print. Empty space is good. “Less is more”.
You want the eye to travel in a simple path, not a cluttered one, in which the reader struggles to make sense of the information. Empty space acts as a visual stop for the eye.
The font size should be large enough for easy reading.
A logo is how you differentiate yourself visually. Shapes are much more easily recognizable than words, as Nike’s swoosh symbol shows. The simpler it is, the less deciphering that has to be done by the viewer.
A one-line summary of your service or product is absolutely essential. Better known as a tagline. There is nothing worst than for someone to have your card and forget what it is that you do.
The amount of contact information depends on what you want to do with your card. It includes the basics such as phone number and e-mail address. Usually your website. After that, it could include Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIN information if you’re online or your physical address.
Remember that you should have a good solid reason for departing from the norm. “Standing out” is good only if it stands out for the right reason.
In 2010, Dan Gilbert, the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball team, brought down upon himself vast public humiliation when he wrote an open message to Cavalier fans regarding the departure of his star player, LeBron James.
It wasn’t the words he used or what he said, but the font used to write it. He chose the Comic Sans font, a font designed for a children’s computer program, and the most controversial font in existence today.
The fact that he chose Comic Sans overshadowed his strongly-worded message for a while. It goes down as one of the worst presented messages in American culture and his name will be forever linked to standing out for the wrong reason.