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Designing a Business Card That Suits You

A business card may very well be the most important marketing tool you’ll ever use to promote your company and yourself.

Business cards are used in a wide variety of ways to inform people about you and your organization. Chances are your business card may serve as artwork for a small publication’s “business card ad” pages. Prospects and customers need them so they can have your contact information. You’ll include them in letters and in the sales materials you leave with prospects.

It seems ironic that a document that is only 3½” x 2” has to “wear a lot of hats.” Here are some tips to consider when you design your business card. (Or have a professional design it for you.)

Love that Logo

it’s a good idea to have a professional designer create your logo. When your product or service can be represented by a graphic symbol, it helps form a unique and memorable identity that sets you apart from your competitors. The logo should be scalable for use on business cards, letterhead, brochures, and your website.

Say it with a Slogan

If your business isn’t communicated by your company name and logo working together, invent a short slogan that will help people remember what you do or sell. Include the slogan on your business card. Try to keep it to about 7 words or less.

Include your URL and email address

Customers and prospects want to know where to find you on the internet and how to contact you with the ease and efficiency of email. (Faxes are so last decade!) If you’re worried about spam, your webmaster can provide alternate email addresses — one to give out to the public, and a private email address that you can give to trusted associates and friends.

Make it legible

Use (or ask the designer to use) font sizes that are large enough to be readable without resorting to a magnifying glass. The type color must contrast against the background of the card. Light gray type on a white card makes it hard to differentiate text. The goal is to produce a business card that communicates clearly while establishing a visual identity.

Make it the best it can be.

Unless you’re operating a deep discount warehouse famous for low prices, your business card should reflect the best qualities of your company. It should be free of errors. Print it on the best card stock you can afford. Use full color – the days of single color cards being much cheaper are a distant memory. Use both sides. The extra cost is minimal and lets you include additional information.

Make Your Business Cards Memorable

Sadly, too many business cards blend into the crowd of cookie cutter designs. What a waste! In many cases, your business card will have to bring you and your company to mind when a prospect sifts through a pile of possibilities. You need to make yours stand out from the crowd and create an indelible impression. That’s how you win the business and grow.

Here are a few tips of making sure your business card lives up to its job description:

What Stands Out? Here’s an experiment you can conduct on your desktop. Gather up as many business cards as you can – dig into your briefcase, your desk drawers, your wallet, wherever they may be hiding. Spread them out on your desktop. Stand up and step back a bit and pick out ten that grab your attention.

Make a note of the specific feature that caught your eye. Was it the color? Did it have a photograph? How was it oriented: horizontal or vertical? How was the surface area used? Big bold graphics? Negative space? Think about these details.

Creative Enhancements

(No, we’re not going to consult with a plastic surgeon – but you get the idea.)

  1. Size or Shape – Think outside the Rectangle. Consider squares, circles, ovals and triangles. If the shape makes a connection to your brand, that’s a plus that helps reinforce the impression you make.
  2. Sports Cards – If your company is team oriented, sports team style “trading cards” are a fun way to go. They help boost team spirit too!
  3. Caricature Card – you can get a drawing of yourself and put it on the card for extra memorability. (And it shows you have a sense of humor, too.)
  4. Reference Material – Include useful information such as a mortgage interest table or other interesting data on the back. These help position your company as a valuable resource.
  5. Add a Dimension – Just like kid’s books, business cards can be printed as folded, pop-up cards. Visuals in Three Dimensions are a great way to get noticed and remembered.
  6. Die Cutting –Most printers offer this feature for a reasonable charge. Create cards of various shapes or cut out spaces that help communicate your message.
  7. Recipe – Businesses connected to food and beverage offer an opportunity to include a recipe on the back – start making your customers hungry.
  8. What is it made of – Don’t limit yourself to a card — consider leather, metal, plastic, fabric, wood, if it ties to your company, it’s a winner.
  9. Languages – If your business is involved in international dealings or your people speak multiple languages, add information in more than a single language.
  10. Quotable quotes –Include a famous quotation, bible verse or movie line that connects to your brand. These make great conversation starters.
  11. Stickers – Use a business card sized sticker. This gives the recipient a peel off sticker for reminders, appointments or phone numbers.
  12. Magnets– Use a business card sized magnet.  This is a great match for a business that caters to the home – suggest it be kept on the ‘fridge for easy reference.

Suggested Uses

Brag about your new baby! – Tell people you’ve got a new card. In most cases, they’ll be glad to take one, even if they already have your old edition. Highlight the newest features. See what the reaction is and remember the feedback you receive.

Waste Not – Do not indiscriminately pass your cards out to everyone in sight. You’ll waste money and irritate people.

Reciprocate – Always EXCHANGE business cards. The symmetry of giving and receiving is a more positive and satisfying experience. Making the human connection is the magic that transcends the printed card.

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