A key element of the elevator pitch and integral to on-the-ground networking, a simple business card is key to increasing both the revenue and reputation of a small business. That 3.5-by-2-inch card can either leave a lasting impression or wind up in the nearest garbage can faster than you can say, “Let’s do lunch.” If you want your business card to work as hard as you do, follow the design tips below and get ready to see your small business reap the benefits.
“The stock on which your business card is printed is one of the first things people notice,” says Hilary Sedgwick, brand-making guru and senior designer for Philadelphia-based agency Allen & Gerritsen. “It tells a lot about your business. A thin card feels flimsy and cheap. A thicker, heavier stock implies you care about your brand and are proud of it. Thicker stock may be more expensive, but makes a bold statement and is worth the investment.”
Don’t underestimate the value of white space. Your business card is meant to be a representational tool, not tell your whole story. “The main purpose of your card is to ensure someone has your information,” says Sedgwick. “It is not a selling piece and should not shout, scream, or overwhelm your audience. Keep it simple, clean to the eye, to the point and legible, making sure to proof it thoroughly before printing.”
“Business card colors serve a purpose and should not be chosen randomly. It is a good rule of thumb to only use colors within your company brand palette, in order to keep the design clean and in line with your brand,” says Sedgwick. If, however, your company’s palette is limiting and you’re chafing at the creativity bit, feel free to add new colors to the design, as long as they are complementary to the existing palette. “Color can make your card design stand out against other cards, but you want to make sure it stands out for the right reasons, not the wrong ones,” she says.
If you want to increase your web traffic or sync your brand with a website, consider adding a QR smartphone barcode to the back of your business card. You can use the code to steer people towards specific sections of your website, such as seasonal deals or your blog, giving potential customers the option of getting to know you on-the-go and making your business card do double duty.
“We intuit what information is most important based on how it is displayed,” says Sedgwick, who suggests taking this into account when designing your business card. “Think about what is the most important information to know and work your way down. For example, start with your logo or mark, list the person’s name and title, contact information and lastly, company address, general phone/fax number and company URL,” she suggests.
Corey Whelan is a freelance writer in New York. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.