Your business card is often the first contact a potential customer has with you or your company. This seemingly insignificant, humble piece of card stock is your emissary, your messenger, and your branding message boiled down into a few lines of text and graphics. How well your business card conveys your message – and how well your business card design resonates with your customers – can determine the difference between failure and success. Lets see how a successful business card design is created.
Why is good business card design important? Because appearance counts, and looking professional counts. In business, as in life, you have one chance to make a good first impression. And one chance to grab a customer’s attention with a positive message about your company.
Everyone has seen a badly designed business card. However, knowing what makes a bad business card design looks like is not the same thing as knowing what it takes to create a good business card design.
Let’s review a few elements that will make your business card stand out with your customers:
- Keep it simple:
A good business card design should stick the basic information your customer needs to know about you and your company: your company’s name, your name, your phone number(s), your e-mail address, fax number, and your company’s physical address and web site address. Resist the urge to clutter your card with excess text, and never include links for social media accounts unless they are directly associated with your professional identity. For instance, customers may be interested in your Facebook page if it includes information and photos directly related to your company, not sure much if it just features photos of your last vacation. There should be a clear wall between ‘personal you’ and ‘business you’ that is never broken by giving customers access to your personal social media feeds. This includes not only Facebook, but Twitter, Instagram, and similar social media sites. Also, QR codes look really cool, but take up far too much real estate to be used on most business cards. They should only be used very sparingly, if at all, and even then only if the code links to a mobile or mobile-optimized web site. This is due to the fact that most users who access QR-delivered websites access them through their cellphone.
- Stick to your branding:
It is critical that all business cards in use across your enterprise are consistent with each other, with your branding message, and with your branding image. This means that the fonts and logos used on your business cards should be identical to those used in any other branding, from signs to product packaging.
- Be consistent:
You should have one consistent style of business cards used by all employees in your company. Potential customers may receive cards from more than one worker, and, if they do not match, it can be confusing. Consistency equals professionalism, and also encourages you to stay on brand.
- Be unique:
Remember that bit about a good first impression? Odds are that many of your potential customers will receive hundreds of business cards each year from business trying to entice them to do business with them. And many of these cards will blend together into a bland gray blur. If your card is going to stand out from the herd, it needs to be different. Full coverage edge-to-edge colour printing (also know a bleed) is one way to differentiate your card from the others. Bold, unique graphics in attention-getting colours are another. Classic embossed cards or unique fold-old card designs also guarantee that your card will be noticed.
- The right material for the right card:
No one will deny that wooden, metal, or even plastic business cards are a nice change from the card stock most cards are printed on. However, before choosing one of these materials, you need to make sure you have a real, brand-related reason to go with a non-standard card material. For instance, if your company is a wood flooring company, a wooden business card would be a whimsical yet practical business card material that reminds everyone what your product is. On the other hand, if you are a software company, wooden cards would both puzzle existing and potential customers while also increase the cost of your cards. Be smart about your card materials.
- Your card, your business, your design:
Avoid the temptation to just go down the local copy shop or to some random online business card company and order a box of off-the-rack cards or cards you design using the limited tools these vendors provide. There is a reason online business cards are cheap – limited options and no professional input to help you design the right card for your business. The result is business cards that both look unprofessional and indistinguishable from those belonging to thousands of other business people, and cards that fail to consistently convey your brand message.
Business cards are a critical part of successful branding for any business.
At Red Lounge Agency, we understand what it takes to make your business stand out from the competition. Our professional graphic artists and creative professionals can help you put together a complete branding strategy from logos and stationary, to business cards and brand messaging, to help tell customers your story.
Contact us today to see what we can do to help grow your business.
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