Posted: Thu 19th Jul 2012
In the second of a four-part series on print marketing, Alex Harrington-Griffin, partnership manager at printed.com, offers his essential tips for designing business cards with impact.
In the majestic realm of printed business materials, your business card is your most valuable marketing tool and, considering its size and cost, is likely to be the hardest working member of your team.Â So, without further ado, here are the five key components of fool-proof business card design...
1. Stand by your brand
When brainstorming the design concept of your business card, you're usually faced with the decision to go bold or keep it simple.Â Both these routes, when executed effectively, can give great results. But if you're not sure which approach to take, stand by your brand's identity and the nature of the service you offer.Â Certain industries go hand in hand with more creative or gimmicky concepts, while others will benefit from a smart, sleek and understated design. Be sure the design rings true to your business.
2. Bells and whistles
If you're designing your own cards, it's worth keeping the old adage 'less is more' in mind.Â Use one or two fonts, favouring legibility and timelessness over those that are experimental or eye-catching.Â If you go to networking events regularly, consider people may want to write notes about how they met you on them, so think about going for uncoated. If you travel around a lot and business cards are likely to sit in your wallet, then laminated will ensure it stays in top condition longer. It's important to stand out, but the greatest contenders will do this in an understated way.
3. Size matters
Obviously, when you hand over your business card, you want the recipient to hold on to it!Â A pretty simple way to increase the probability of this outcome is to design your card to be a standard, rectangular size - if your card does not fit into a wallet or card holder, it's likely to be misplaced.
4. Content - the 85 x 55mm challenge
By nature, business cards don't give you an awful lot of room to represent your business.Â Obviously, contact details are key: include your name, company name, title, phone number and email address at a minimum. One thing we stress to all customers though is don't make people guess what you do, use at minimum a strap line about what you offer. Use the rest of the card according to your business.Â If your business is particularly creative, visual or design-led, it may be worth including an image or your logo; if you work in digital, your web address or links to social media accounts may be more relevant.Â There are two sides to every card though - make use of them both!
5. Time to invest
With any start-up or small business, there are certain areas where you can cut corners to save on cost. But business cards are not a corner to be cut.Â Every time you hand over your card, it's like handing over a mini-representative of your company and they have the ability to say a great deal about your business ethic. High quality paper and professional printing are paramount. If you're not confident in your design abilities, it's worth investing in a graphic designer to do the job. You can browse various UK designers and their work on our Facebook Design Central gallery. Think of first and lasting impressions when it comes to business cards. Everyone has been handed a card that, inside, they think actually lowers their opinion of the credibility of that business. It's harsh, but it happens to us all. The number one item that any new business contact will take away after your first meeting will be this small bit of card, so make sure yours gives off the impression you want. printed.com is an online print company offering small businesses a range of affordable and easy to order print products, from business cards to postcards, stickers to luxury wedding stationery. Check out their website at printed.com__, become a fan on Facebook or follow printed.com on Twitter__.