In this age of digital marketing, a professionally designed business card is still just as important as it’s always been in promoting services. Exchanging business cards with prospective clients or customers is still a standard procedure at networking events and meetings. So having an eye-catching and memorable business card can help you stand out from the rest of your competitors.
Do you recall the last time you received somebody’s business card? Did it make an impression on you? Did it go straight in the bin? Or did you follow up with that person or showed and recommend them to somebody else?
Your business card often gives your prospective clients their first impression of your company. By giving some thought on the design of your card can make a difference in whether people would like to know more about your business or ignore it.
The purpose of a business card is to create something that people would want to keep! A well-designed business card shows professionalism compared to the ones that scream “I bought this at a discount price of 500 for €20!”.
While some business owners think it’s OK to pick a standard business card design from a printing company but hiring a professional graphic designer is the best way to avoid obvious pitfalls of the DIY route.
7 Important Factors To Remember Before Designing Your Business Card
In addition to your branding, your business card should be consistent with the type of message you are trying to send.
If you already have a brand identity then using this on your business card is a great way to connect with your potential customers on an emotional level.
If you do not have branding for your business yet, then check out my post on ‘What Is Branding And Why It’s Important For Your Small Business’.
The shape of your business cards has its own unique set of psychological associations. While square and rectangle are the most common shapes to have they are also convenient to fit in peoples wallets.
Rounded and square with rounded corners are also becoming common and these type of cards are suitable for businesses who have a little bit more fun factor.
Die-cut shapes are also widely available nowadays and this can be formed in whatever shape you want. Ideal if you want business cards that will complement and display your branding perfectly.
Remember that the colour scheme you choose should harmonise with your branding to keep your message consistent.
Implementing your brand colours to your cards should be thought of carefully. Take a look at your logo. Will the colours be a prominent part of your business card? If that’s the case, you should choose complementary colours.
The choice of colours themselves can have emotional associations that could send messages reflecting your business or service. However, colours may be interpreted differently by some, think about what you are trying to say and determine what colour scheme will better suit your company.
For example, using black and gold can be seen as classy and luxurious. Green and earthy colours can be used for ecological and ethical businesses, while bright and playful colours such as pinks, yellows can be used to send a modern and fun message.
Keep in mind that business cards have a limited space where you can place text. Put some thought in what fonts you want to use. If you already have fonts in your branding, then it’s wise to use them to keep the design consistent. Avoid using decorative and script fonts as your main font. These are better suited for titles and names.
When choosing colours for your fonts and graphics, remember contrast is key! You want your contact information easily readable, so use san-serif fonts for informational text such as phone numbers, and sub headers.
What you put in your business card says a lot about your company. Whatever design or colour you choose, your card should include vital information such as;
- Your logo
- Important contact information including your telephone number, email and website address.
- Job title or service description such as – designer, beautician, consultant etc.
- QR Code – not necessary but it’s a great a way to make your card look modern. The code can contain information that can be read with a phone scanner. This can be customised to include a link to your website, social media accounts, or even your products.
The quality of the paper your business cards are printed on speaks volumes and can affect how your brand can come across. A thick stock with the right finish looks professional.
Try to avoid choosing less than 300gsm. GSM stands for ‘Grams per Square Metre’. The higher the GSM number, the heavier the paper.
You want something that people would love to keep, use high-quality paper to let your clients know that you are willing to invest in your marketing and your customers.
- 10 – 35 gsm – the lightest type of paper, mostly used for tracing or tissue papers.
- 55 – 70 gsm – a little bit thicker than crepe paper, this weight is ideal for newspapers and wrapping paper.
- 75 – 90 gsm – this paperweight is mainly used on notebooks and sketchpads.
- 90 – 100 gsm – the weight of most paper for printers.
- 120 – 140 gsm – the weight of the average brochure and magazine page.
- 210 – 300 gsm – this type of paper is thick but still bendable. Mainly used for magazine covers, high-quality flyers or posters.
- 350 – 450 gsm – a premium stock paper that is mainly used for business and greeting cards.
7. The Finish
To non-designers, the finish of your business card might not seem important. But the way your card look and feel also has a major impact on how people perceive your business. Matte, silk or gloss can be applied, this is to protect the paper making it last longer and also enhances the feel of the design.
Gloss Or Varnish
A popular finishing technique for business cards. The gloss effect gives a smooth finish that protects your card from wear and tear. Besides, a glossy finish is great if you want to enhance the colours of your design. This will make them look vibrant and highlight good contrast.
A matte finish gives a smooth finish and works well with designs and colour schemes that are subtle. Matte finish eliminates glare, therefore your design and text will generally appear cleaner. If you intend to write appointment dates on your card when you give them out, then a matte finish will provide a better surface.
Spot UV is used to highlight different areas of your design, whether it would be your logo, initials or graphics. Both methods help enhance the visual effect and colour of your business card.
If you want your business card to ooze luxury then foil stamping your logo or text can set you apart from the rest. Foil stamping applies heat to the foil and then pressed against the business card to give it a touch of extravagance. The most common foil stamps are gold and silver, but other effects are also available.
Emboss or Deboss
The embossing method involves pressing text or design on paper that creates a raised 3D effect. While debossing gives the opposite effect, they can both add texture and emphasis on your design.
Who said you can only have rectangle business cards? Die-cutting involves cutting shapes or designs on your business card. This is a great technique for creating a card that communicates what your business is all about!
When choosing a die-cut shape, keep in mind if you want people to keep these in their wallet. If that’s the case then you do not want to stray too far from conventional shapes.
Business cards are more than just a way to provide clients with your business details. Even in this digital age it still serves as an important direct marketing tool that gives the receiver a good first impression of your brand.
Having a professionally designed business card that is memorable gives you the best chance of making an impact while also serving as a reminder service to your potential clients.
I am a web designer, graphic artist & illustrator in Valencia, Spain. I am also the creative director for Tucanoo Solutions Ltd, a software development company specialising in legal, financial and healthcare applications.