What Makes a Good Business Card?

For a bit of white paper that typically measures 3 ½ inches by 2 inches, a business card packs a powerful punch. Business cards offer a quick first impression as to the kind of person you are as well as the kind of business you run; they should be designed to grab the user’s attention and make that all-important first impression in a few brief seconds.

What happens when you proffer your business card to somebody you’ve just met? Will they pore over it for hours on end? No, of course not- what they will most probably do is take it, glance at it for a few seconds and then whip out their wallet and tuck it away for future reference. That’s it- that’s all the time you get to impress somebody with your business card. Considering that you would have spent hours poring over getting the design and the format just right, was it really worth it?

Why a Good Design is Important for Business Cards

Here’s why it is important to pay attention to the design and layout of your business card. A well-designed business card instantly identifies the giver with a certain product, brand or company. A business card that is designed to adhere to your branding standards is likely to make a stronger impact as opposed to a design that has nothing whatsoever to do with your profession or your business at hand.

A zany, colorful business card will certainly grab the receiver’s attention for the first few moments but will leave him struggling to make the connection a few months later when he is really looking for a lawyer to represent him. Should he trust a lawyer who looks like he’d rather flout convention or should he look for a more conventional lawyer with a proper lawyerly looking business card?

What to Consider when Designing Your Business Card

Here are some of the most important factors you should take into consideration if you want to design a memorable business card:

  • Shape & Size of the Business Card: As tempting as it may be get yourself an exciting diamond or circular business card, keep in mind that it does not fit into a wallet or conventional card-holder it will more than likely end up in the trash bin.
  • Hierarchy and Positioning of Elements: The essential elements of any business card in order of importance include the contact information, company name and the visual identifier or logo. While hierarchy of the elements is decisive, the importance of positioning should not be underestimated. Proper positioning of the elements adds weight to the hierarchy.
  • Importance of a Relevant Visual Identifier: One of the tenets of good business card designing is to “put what you do on your card”. This way, someone looking at your card a few months down the line will immediately connect you with the services you are offering. Cards that don’t actually say what they do will end up in the thrash bin sooner rather than later.
  • Balancing Design with Readability: So you love colors and you’d ideally love to incorporate all the colors of the rainbow onto your business card. Err… Bad idea. Regardless of how colorful or flashy your card may be, if your 3 essential elements cannot be easily decoded from among the cacophony of colors, then your card has failed its purpose. While you may have the whole town talking about how great your card looks, you are not likely to get too many business calls if nobody can find your phone number.

The best business cards are those that are bold but simple; attractive but neat.

Article created on 11/10/2008

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