Business cards generate the first impression of you and your business. If you’re an avid networker, a great design makes a big statement and leaves a lasting impression. Whether you hand out cards to a group of people at a large event, or just a few at a local meeting, extraordinary design evokes emotion and makes you and your company memorable.
If you’re like us and enjoy these events, think of the last few people who gave you a business card. Which ones come to mind? There are probably a few that got lost in the middle somewhere. For us, cards with bright and bold colors stand out, as do the ones with a thick and luxurious paper stock. Below are some tips and considerations when it comes to designing your own business card.
It’s important to pick a color that’s associated with your brand. Whether it’s a solid color or some kind of pattern, you must consider text that will compliment the design and make it easy to read. You’ll also want to work with a professional printer that can do PMS or CMYK color matching. If you are testing the color on your own printer at the office, keep in mind that each printer is different. Work with a representative at your printer of choice to make sure your color is matched perfectly.
The Copy (and Font)
How much information do you need to have on your card? Less information is the best rule of thumb. It should have all of your contact information, but your business card is a starting point of contact, so make it easy to read. If you have a lot of details that you want to include, shrinking the text is not the best solution. Remember, the card itself will typically be smaller than a credit card, so any online design will appear larger before printing. A general rule of thumb is to keep text at 8pt font or larger. And while we’re on that note, avoid using fancy display fonts. If you used a condensed font, usually 8pt type is too small. A simple blend of serif and sans serif fonts are best. Remember to ALWAYS stick to your brand fonts. If you have a style guide, follow those rules. If you don’t have a style guide, call us, and we’ll help you out.
We recommend a specialty paper or a heavy weight stock. A specialty stock that has a specific texture is unique and memorable, but might not be affordable. If you’re working with a low budget or on a digital printer, opt for the heaviest stock available. Thicker cards will ensure durability, while thin business cards can feel cheap. That is not the impression you want to leave with your new contact.
The Orientation and Alignment
While the standard is to have your card positioned horizontally, some businesses opt for a vertical structure. Depending on the orientation of your business card, you could have room to play with the alignment of the text, but your logo is key to setting up the proper alignment. The “go-to” might be a center position, but try aligning the text to the left or right. If you opt to have a logo on the front of your card, you can play with the way it interacts with the text.
The Safe Area
Whether you are printing at home or sending it to a shop, printers will include a “safe area” in the center of the card. Our rule of thumb here is a quarter inch all the way around the card. Any details that go outside of the border might get clipped in the printing process. Online programs like MOO and Vistaprint will include the border on the design to set a guideline.
Beyond the color, text, and alignment, there are other things you can do to spruce up your business card design. Consider the use of imagery. With all of your business details on one side of the card, use the other as an opportunity to be creative. Even if it’s just a logo or a design with your initials, cards with content on the back speak louder than those that are blank. You can also opt for a stylized cut or emboss. Cards with these features can add an extra feeling of style to your business and make it memorable, but may be outside of your budget. It’s important to consider all of your ideas and expenses in your decision making process.