Within a few seconds, that new contact or potential client is creating an opinion about you that is going to last. It sounds rough, but it’s a fact: people do judge your business based on these first impressions, and you have just one shot to make that awesome, lasting first impression. Being able to present whoever you meet with the truly perfect business card is a tremendous step in the right direction, so here are our best tips for creating the perfect business card.
Make your brand the basis for your design
Your brand values should be at the heart of your business card design. Who is your ideal customer or client? How would you tell that person the story of your business? Your colors, fonts, textures, and images (if you use any) must all be consistent with your current marketing materials—and your brand values should distinguish all of those from the materials of any other business. If your service or product is strictly business, your cards should be classic looking with minimalist colors and fonts. If your business is more fun-loving or creative, prove it with that card! Show it with humor, striking colors, interesting shapes, or arresting images.
Decide on the basics first: size, orientation, and material
The most common business card size is 3.5 inches by 2 inches. If you go bigger or choose an odd shape, you spend more and risk your cards being thrown out when they don’t fit into the card keeper or rolodex. Choose the orientation of your card: landscape is the traditional choice, portrait is the vertical view of the card, and custom or square cut cards typically have their own orientation. Finally, these days paper isn’t your only choice for a business card as they come in anything from metal or plastic to slate or wood—but most cards are paper, which remains the cheapest option. If you do choose paper, you still need to choose coating, color, thickness, and weight, which all affect the price.
Next, move on to more interesting details: colors, fonts, images
In the past, full color business cards were extremely expensive, but that was before the days of digital printing. Now, if you’re ordering more than 500 pieces and you really only need 1 or 2 colors, you can save a small amount by skipping full color printing; however, in general, you’re just as well off printing in CMYK full color mode. When you choose a font, remember to choose fonts 8 points or larger so your cards can be read; for a classic look opt for serif fonts, and for a more modern feel, choose sans serifs. Avoid decorative or script fonts unless you have a compelling reason to use them. Finally, if you’re using images, remember they should be at 300dpi least for the best quality image reproduction.
Mock up your plan: everything in its right place
In general, people take your business card and, hopefully after they use it, they put it into a rolodex or card holder. Always make sure all of your important information is on the front of your card: your name; your business or organization; your job title or what you do; your contact information including e-mail, phone number, social media profiles, and website; and your logo. Go wild on the back of your card if you like—but remember, a lot of people like taking notes on the back of the card, too.
Double check everything
The last thing you need is some silly typo being printed a thousand times! Check and double check your design, and let another set of careful eyes check it, too. While you’re checking, make sure the background color goes all the way to the edge of the card, and the text stays within about 1/10 of an inch of each edge.
The bottom line
Creating the perfect business card is within your reach, and failing to take this opportunity on behalf of your business is a real mistake. Keep these tips in mind and you will end up with the right look for your brand, and a business card you can truly be proud of.