Ever wondered what makes the perfect business card? What makes people go "wow"? and more importantly what will make people remember your business card? The answer is the design. Business Card Design is something of a mix, its both an ultimate / endless creative but it's also likened to a mysterious mythical creature - the perfect business card and the loch ness monster brother and sister? Designing a business card is about more than putting a little text on a small piece of card that fits in a wallet. It is about making you and your business stand out from the crowd, making you stick in someones memory and being the first person they recall when they want a job doing. There are four key aspects to the perfect business card design; being top of the pile, standing out, enhancement and implementation. These may sound quite confusing and it may take you some time to get your head around the almost endless possibilities for business card design - but when you do, it will be worth it.
Being Top of the Pile
Think back to the last networking meeting, conference or trade show you went too - I am sure you gave out lots and lots of business cards right? Good. When you passed them over what was the reaction of the majority of people? Did they compliment the design, did they shove it in their pocket, did they show your business card to someone else or maybe well erm they ripped it up? Regardless of what they did it will explain how good or bad your card is. Great stuff if the compliment the design and ask for another one or two, pitting it in their pocket is ok, showing it around is good stuff - ripping it up well I hope for that rudeness you walked away!
Top of the Pile in business card design means that you will be literal top of the pile when it comes to them saying "hello" following an event, stay in their collection of cards (or better still their wallet) and it also means you will never be forgotten.
To be top of the pile though you need to have an amazing card, to do this you need all of the below ideas and then some awesome content!
Standing Out from the crown
To give you an idea of what stands out with business cards, I want you to try something for me. Take a selection of anywhere between 20 and 50 business cards, lay them out on a table and then go and grab a coffee. When you come back the idea is you won't remember most of the cards, now look over the cards briefly spend no more than 30 seconds in total and pick out maybe 5 to 10 cards that stand out to you. Hide the rest of the cards. With those cards think about them for a minute each, why does that card stand out and does it in some way relate to their business? or is it just a gimmick? maybe it's actually their brand?
Some things that may stand out to you are:
Colour Colour is a fantastic tool in any designers arsenal, the colour of a business card doesn't have to respect guidelines (oops did I really say that?). What I mean is there is no reason why your business card can't be bright red or bright yellow. It's attention grabbing and even when at the back of someones wallet will stand out from other business cards and well debit cards.
Use of Imagery An eye catching graphic (maybe in the logo) made to stand out, or a great photo of a person means that a brand or that person will be instantly recognised next time you see them. Add to this there are VERY few business cards with the picture of a person on them and it adds to a business card which stand out from the crowd. An example of this is Councillor Kevin Peel's business card (check my design site to see this).
Horizontal vs Vertical vs Other! I could spend a whole post talking about these virtues in design, but suffice to say business cards which stand out maybe be vertical (not many are) others may be an awesome trifold design!
Simplicity in design It speaks for itself, but above you can see an example of a business card for Councillor Jake Morrison, the business card is very simple but for this reason alone stands out from others.
Now you've done this exercise you may have some more ideas of what should be on your own business cards, but now lets take a look at how you can go even further with your business card design.
Ways to Enhance Your Business Card
Now you've seen other business cards, hopefully, in a new light you will want to go further with your own business card design. Why not think about the following ideas, some will be more expensive than others, some more effective than others, and some will just (well) be out of your idea of "good" and ignored! I don't blame you but here are some suggestions.
Funny Shape Business Cards (a bite out of a card?)
Something On or In your business card (seeds for a flower business?)
Chocolate Business Cards (mmm expensive and may melt)
Trading (or playing cards)
Information Business Cards (hair dressers with prices on reverse)
Pop-up Business Cards (offer a unique perspective on your business)
Credibility Additions (logos of accreditation)
Rubber Stamps (instead or as well as business cards)
Unique Material (use felt or metal business cards)
Multiple Language Business Cards (why reserve yourself to just english?)
Implementation of Business Card Design
Someone once told me "great ideas are a penny a dozen, but great implementation is priceless" and it is very much true. In a world with some many people out networking continually, yes your card has to stand out, give that something extra but it also has to be implemented amazingly well to make that special difference.
There are many companies out there that will print your card amazingly well, there are also just as many not to trust. If you are working with a designer who has come up with a unique shape or a card that requires die cutting - then always go with the suggestion of the designer when it comes to printing (because not many places will do these jobs complete justice). If your card is a normal rectangular shape my advice is to try somewhere like Moo.com or UK FastPrint or VistaPrint.
Once your business card is complete, send me a picture so I can post it and show it off for you! Simply email it to me - contactatandykinsey.co.uk You can also do the above if you already have a pretty awesome business card.
We recently also posted 25 amazing business card designs - take a look at them and send us yours today.