Guest Post: By James Kim of choosewhat.com
The business card: a tiny piece of paper that can make an enormous impact. Okay, so there is no true "perfect" business card, but there are certainly cards that work and those that don't. So how can you create an eye-catching but simply elegant business card that creates the best impression possible for your unique business? Here are five things to consider that can help you achieve that "perfect" card:
The first order of business is deciding what the most relevant and pertinent information to your company and the image you want to portray. Would you like to include an attention grabbing slogan? Or do you prefer to keep it simple, including only your company name, address, and phone number? Keep in mind, you can always put a catchy slogan, attention-grabber, or logo on one side while leaving the other side for the "cut and dry" info, although this format is less common in corporate business cards.
When it comes to a business card, it's the details that count. The paper is the foundation for the entire card and you should aim for a crinkle-resistant and durable card stock. When printers talk about paper thickness, they will commonly use "pt" or "lb". A nice thick card will usually be 15pt, 16p, or 100lb (the higher the pt or lb, the thicker the paper). You could also play with the texture of the card, opting for a coated, shiny paper with high gloss or for a coarser card with narrow ridges, which makes the card seem thicker. If you are willing to spend a bit more, a thin, matte lamination can protect the card and prevent the ink from smudging.
The design is probably the trickiest part of the business card because the options are infinite – only limited by your imagination.
When it comes to design, the cliché "less is more" often applies. A readable font, minimal effects, and simple colors are much more powerful than the alternative. You can implement asymmetry or color to a card to bring a little excitement without going overboard. To give a unique look to a simple card, you can also emboss or raise the print of the company name or even round out the corners. Striking business cards usually have ample space between information. You don't want your card looking cluttered. A visually overwhelming card will distract the person looking at it (your potential client) from the important information.
You can get a LOT of great creative ideas for business cards by browsing the internet. Below are two excellent places to check out:
Whatever you decide for your business card -- flashy or simple, color or black and white, glossy or matte -- make it memorable. The whole point of your card is to provide a tangible representation and reminder of your business. If another person remembers your name and the name of your company in a way that will encourage them to do business with you, the card has done its job.
Not everybody has the budget to hire a professional graphic design firm, nor is that always necessary. It depends on your business, your job description, your clients, and all these other factors we've talked about. If you want a well-designed business card that performs its purpose and doesn't kill your budget, there are options such as the business card templates by Vertex42.com that let you choose from a variety of designs and edit your information using Word. Then all you need to do is pick a decent printing service.
Also, many online printing companies have large archives of pre-made business card design templates that allow customization (like adding a photo or logo). A couple popular services are Overnight Prints and Vistaprint.