Business Card Design Essentials December 12, 2011

Business Cards are the most essential, low-cost, advertising tool that you have. No matter what size the business; many firms fall short in this area and it is by far the least underutilized marketing tool in business. These cards are a snap-shot of your company.

First of all, don’t go cheap. I’m not saying go for broke, but there are some key things to avoid. If you want to save on cost, consider printing them yourself, so use the benefit of saving the labor costs by purchasing quality materials. Construction paper or standard printing paper is not suitable for this task. Flimsy cardstock is just that, insubstantial and unimpressionable. Also, recyclable materials are always a skill move - make sure to get credit for this effort, print on your card "Made from 100% recycled paper"

Color is GREAT! It’s fantastic, black and white is BORING! So, avoid black and white and red, it’s overdone, lackluster and easily forgotten.
Spruce it up, don’t be timid, and stay within the parameters. Use at max three COMPLIMENTARY colors, which provide “awe” without it looking like your child took every crayon and went to town all over your first impression. Use complimentary colors, the color scheme should be amicable with your company logo or image. It should “pop” but not blind.

Your card should have ONE, yes JUST ONE central font, and YES add bold for emphasis on critical components, underling and italics are considered additional fonts. When deciding on font, from someone who has gone through more business cards then I will elaborate on, I recommend using a max of 2 alternating font sizes. What I mean by alternating font sizes is highlight the important information by alternating between the 2 font sizes, no underlining, bold, or italics necessary. If you’re eyes are in their prime and can read it, now you need to go out and find someone older and make certain they can too. After all it’s more important that customers can read your information.

There are some simple things cards should include: Name, Phone/Cell Number, Address (at least the City & State), and a direct message about what your business offers. This is information that should be in the larger of the two Font sizes. Avoid pointing every little detail on your card, the information should be easily seen with a quick glance or it’s too much. If there’s too little information, they may have your name, but don't remember what you actually do or why they should call you.

Never use cards that do not have your current information listed, where as it may be regrettable that you had to change your name, address, or phone number, while you still have 100+ of these cards waiting to go out, DO NOT cross or white out the outdated information just to replace it with the new information on new cards. These types of cards say “I’m too cheap to buy new cards” thus implying business is not so much booming. If you’re cards are dated order new cards immediately! Even order temporary cards if you’ve been considering a revamp. The old card can go in the recycle bin.

Keep the layout and graphics of your card simple and clean, avoid over doing the graphics, it just creates too much “noise” and your message is therefore completely lost. I highly recommend putting your brand logo and a headshot on your business card. I'm not certain at what point in time it was determined that only Realtors or Insurance salespeople should put their headshot on their card, but it is the single fastest growing business card technique for becoming unforgettable. Now wait, don't sigh, this is very important on a couple levels:

1) When you call to follow up or they come across your card at a later point in time or they meet you at a future event, they will remember you. You are now remarkable.
2) Think security, it's an additional form of identification and will prevent someone else from ever trying to steal your cards or sell a product or service fraudulently using your name.

Often times people leave the back of their card blank...WHY? This is an opportunity to add a message about services or include an offer. It is the equivalent of buying a two-side ad and only utilizing one side. Yes, it may cost a little bit more, but it is worth it! Your offers can range to 10% off, free consultation, anything you deem business appropriate. Give them the reason to ACT NOW!

For the sake of keeping up with technology, somewhere on your card should be a QR Code, make it easy for others to scan and obtain your contact info. This works especially well for folks who are tech-savvy and also if you are down to your last card at a marketing event or opportunity! For more information on QR Code you can read: Decoding the QR Code

Think of your business card like a miniature billboard, convenient and pocket size. Do yourself the favor and do not miss out on the opportunity to stand out!