How To Design An Unforgettable Business Card

How To Design An Unforgettable Business Card

 

You have probably been handed hundreds of business cards, but how many of those cards do you still hang onto? What saved those cards from being recycled and housed in your wallet or purse instead of in some landfill? Perhaps you were intrigued by the person that handed you their card or the service on the card. Chances are you kept a card because of the design.

A well-designed business card can boost your business all on its own. Below are a few pointers to design a memorable business card:

Concept

The most important item to consider when designing a business card is the concept. Think of your business cards as an extension of your company’s marketing. Your business card must directly communicate what you do and who you are. This can be achieved by including your logo and similar design elements from your website. Don’t forget to utilize both sides of your card.

Content

Your name, title, company and contact information should be clearly displayed. This may seem straightforward but far too many business leave off a crucial piece of information on their cards leaving the recipient asking the question, ” What do they do again?” Chances are those cards made it in the recycling bin.

Font

Typography creates emotion and an overall feel in design. Choose a font with optimal readability. For more about selecting the right font check out this blog post. Avoid using a thin typeface. Thin typefaces are hard to read with smaller point sizes. Do not go below 12px when choosing a font. Be mindful of character spacing when designing your business card.

Color

Design your business card using CMYK: Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black. CMYK is a subtractive color model; which works by masking colors on a light or white background, reducing the amount and color of the light that is reflected by the paper. This will ensure the end result will align with expectations. If you design using RGB: Red, Green, Blue; the colors will not transfer exactly into the final print. Studies have shown that individuals will keep a colorful card 10x longer than a standard card.

Bleed

Designing with a bleed will ensure that your design will not be affected if there is a slight inconsistency or movement during the printing process. I recommend designing with a .25 inch bleed around each sides of your business card.

Die Cuts

Die cuts can take your design to the next level. However, die cuts are a more costly option. Rounded corners are a common die cut that are not that expensive. Die cuts pricing varies among print shops.

Paper Quality

How many times has a business card bent in your pocket? Be mindful of the paper quality and weight that you choose. A heavier card will not bend in a pocket and will be memorable. There are different finished that can be applied to your card. Glossy, smooth, matte, etc… Make sure that the card is still legible after choosing a finish to apply to your business card.

The Future of Business Cards

Are QR codes and cell phones going to make business cards obsolete? QR codes have become as essential part of European design but have not made the dominant transition to the North American market. QR codes are now customizable and can store all the information needed for a customer to know what your company does. However, you will need an app to decode the information.

Virtual business cards are being shared from cell phones now by using a “bump” feature where users tap their phones together to exchange contact information. Using a picture saving software, contacts are stored into cell phones. Cross compatibility between I-phone and Android users needs to be considered if you would like to exchange virtual business cards. Keep in mind that business cards are not battery operated or data driven. Virtual business cards may be the future, but still have a few issues that need to be solved.

Recap

A great business card can make a long-lasting first impression that may grow your business. Include your name, title, company and contact information on your business card. Design using CMYK colors for better printing results. Use a legible typeface and design with a bleed. Business cards are an essential part of every business. Well-designed business cards are memorable and are more likely to be kept by the recipient. Here is a collection of business card designs that have captured my eye over the years.

Best of luck designing your business card!

By: Aaron Ward
  • Jason Corrigan

    Great article Aaron! Just like a website, business cards can either be a static means of conveying simple information or they can be a channel for capturing users attention in a way that allows you to become top-of-mind. Thank you for the great tips!

  • Chuniq Inpower

    I’ve received many business cards over the years, and you’re right, a colorful, memorable card makes me more interested in that particular professional, no matter their industry. A business card should be not only an extension of your brand, but also of your personality with an appropriate blend of professionalism.

    Also, I think many are under the old standard to only use one side of the card, yet there are many opportunities to fill that space with additional content to add more value to your card. Even adding your picture can help new contacts remember your face, which is what I’ve done with cards before. Thank you for sharing!

  • Adam Baxter

    Business cards really are a reflection of you and your business. It can look neat, but if doesn’t have the proper information, its worthless, and vice versa. Making sure you hit all the right notes is very important. Great Job bringing them all together!

  • Samantha Torres

    Do you think QR codes will ever make the jump to “normal” in North America? Atlanta tech startups started including them in their marketing a couple years with little success, think it’ll come back?

  • Rebekah Faucette

    Though virtual business cards are an exciting option, it does seem to take the factor of design out of the equation. Is there a way to include a company’s personality in a virtual share or is that a feature solely for a paper business card?

  • Alfredo J. Rodriguez

    I never thought about the importance of color to business card design. That part that struck me the most was that colorful cards are kept 10x longer than standard business cards! Thanks for this tip and the rest of your article, Aaron.

  • Elizabeth Weaver

    This is awesome, Aaron. It’s crazy how much thought can go into a business card design but that’s what makes them really appreciated, when done right. The technology of using QR codes and virtual business cards is really cool but in some ways I hope it doesn’t become too popular. I really like having something tangible to look at to see what design choices the professional/business made. Very interesting points you’ve made! 🙂

  • Joshua Bains

    Tech is the next step in harnessing Aaron’s business card graphics. QR codes, now maligned or ignored by increasing numbers of the public are less exciting than Touch Base Techologies’ business cards that have on-board “conductive ink,” which transfers the contents of the card to your phone when they touch.

  • Naima

    Most people design business cards based on their company colors. It is very nice to know that even company colors might not work for business cards. The power of business cards are often underestimated, but can be very helpful when designed properly.

  • Kara Lane

    Some business cards are definitely unforgettable. I loved how many of the designs you shared had a recognizable brand consistency, and that is important to see when you come across a business card. Also, I see there were some really creative examples, like the card that turns into a box. What was great was not just that the card turned into a box, but that it made sense for the company, a cargo box company.

    I know virtual cards are available, and the technology for business cards could change. However, having a hard copy of a business card can be very valuable when networking, and just having a business card not only shows professionalism, but does deliver crucial information (as you mentioned) at the same time. I have handed out many business cards, but I can’t say I have ever passed along a virtual business card, even after creating one. Do you think printed copies will stay around in the long run? Sharing a virtual business card seems impersonal to me. In my opinion, I think the printed may stick around for a while, and the virtual cards will be more for sharing online.