Everybody wants to leave a good impression. And there is no better way to do so than by having a business card that shows people what you are all about. You've come across many in your networking days. You're disgusted by a few, entranced by a couple, and completely forget about most. So, how do create a business card that makes a lasting impression that doesn't involve feeling sick? Your business card needs to be like a good vacation: comforting, distinct, and memorable.
Design plays a huge part in drawing people in. Various designs evoke various emotions (some good, some bad). They send different messages, and they resonate in different ways. A lot will vary based on prior branding, but here are a few tips that will help make your business card a good one.
Landscape or Portrait?
Landscape is more traditional, and thus more comforting. But portrait is more unique, and thus more intriguing. So which do you choose?
The most important thing to consider when deciding is your brand. If you work in a creative profession, perhaps portrait could make you stick out from the pack. If you work in a traditional field, the last thing you want to do is alienate customers with a wacky card. Evaluate what is best for your brand before making a decision.
In some cases people throw both of these completely out the window. Some choose squares or circles or even pamphlets! When you get into this range, there's such a fine line between what's golden and what's ghastly. The key is to have as many business card design ideas as possible.
One-Sided or Double-sided?
There's not a ton of conclusive research here either, but the business card printing companies recommend double-sided cards for your top connections. The simple logic being that more space allows for a better impression. Having one side artfully crafted and the other blank can make you look cheap.
On one side, tell people explicitly what you do. Nobody cares about your flashy copy or grand statements. Your business card is supposed to answer three questions: who are you, what you do, and how you can be contacted. Describe your company so that your service immediately comes to mind when people hear your name.
On the other side, tell people about you. What's your name? What's your title? What can people do to contact you? That's all the information you need. People only care to take in so much information, about 10-15 seconds worth of analyzing. Don't clutter your card with a bunch of information nobody needs.
Times New Roman or Arial?
Consistency is nice.That's why most business card companies recommend you use no more than two fonts. After all, you are trying to cultivate trust, not inspire chaos. Keep it simple when it comes to fonts.
As far as which fonts to use, there is varying research available. Serif fonts are often associated more with professionalism. They give a more organized and refined impression. Other studies shown that Georgia and Times are the most legible fonts. However, Verdana seems to perform best on the I1i Test. That means distinguishing between “I,” “1,” and “i,” seems to be easiest with Verdana.
The honest truth: pick something that works for you. And if you don't trust your own judgement, test out a few samples and give them a try.
Black or White?
Branding first! If your brand's primary colors are orange and grey, you have no business using green and blue on your business card. However, if you are looking to add a little flare to your black and white logo, make sure to consider color psychology before making a choice.
Blues are typically associated with trust and comfort, while reds are typically associated with love and passion (and sometimes anger). Greens are often related to fertility and growth, while orange is considered creative and purple is associate with luxury and royalty.
The important thing to realize here is that picking your color is all about your brand. What do you want to inspire in your customers and clients when they see it? What does your company stand for when it comes to these emotions? How will you keep them coming back with your business card? While the answers may vary, the result will hopefully be the same: success.
Photo: Flickr / Clive Darra