Business Card Design: 9 Rules Every Designer Must Know

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From personal to brand-oriented business cards, there are a number of critical factors into creating the right business card for any purpose. Generating a business card that maintains brand integrity while also expressing individuality and uniqueness, is important. However, it’s easy to get caught up doing too much with your business card. Unless you are creating a business card with a unique shape, you need to understand the limitations of the size of a traditional business card.

A business card is only so big. Whatever your goal is for your business card, it needs to be short and punchy. Trying to do too much will quickly maximize the small amount of space you have to work with. Recognize your opportunity within the size of card you select and effectively fill your card without getting away from your message. Most of all, create a business card that inspires the holder to take action. From visiting your website to scheduling a consultation to find out more about your products or services, it all comes down to your design choices.

Business card design tips:

#1 Include The Information That Is Most Important

what every business card needs

You need to be a bit selective when including information on your business card. It is tempting for companies reduce font size and include as much information as possible on their business cards. For instance, including the sales pitch, the company mission statement, graphics, detailed list of products and services, etc. are some information which you do not require printing on the card. This only distracts attention from the key purposes of your business card. So, it is always advisable to keep it simple.

#2 Less Is More

Just as you would want to fit your entire site copy on a business card to inform the holder on your entire brand, it’s also tempting to insert a number of flashy design elements and images to make your business card standout. However, there’s a difference between standing out and making the right impression. If the reader can’t clearly see the purpose of the card, your swanky designs are doing more harm than good.

#3 Make It Legible

how to design a business card

Along the lines of less is more, you can easily run the risk of doing too much in the limited space of a business card. Being creative can help you stand out, but ultimately the main goal of your business card is to send a message. If you get too unorthodox, all of your efforts can be for naught if your text is illegible due to font choice or design error.

#4 Professional Printing Is A Must

Every business has to consider budget. One way to cut budget is to print your own business cards. However, when you’re making a first impression, as is the case when you give someone a business card, it needs to be highly legitimate. What will it say about your brand if your first impression is a floppy piece of cheap paper. Business cards are extremely affordable to print professionally. Let your design shine with quality professional printing.

#5 Get the Size Correct

unique business card designs

Whether you’re sticking with the tried and true traditional 3.5 x 2”, or something more unique, the size of the card matters a lot. What is your audience expecting from a brand like yours? Is tradition more important than something a little more out of the ordinary? Will a vertical business card better represent the information on your card? No detail is too small to consider when it comes to making the right first impression.

#6 An Impressive Logo or Image

A great way to make your business card pop and promote your brand is to include a high-quality logo or image. Whatever properly represents your brand and creates a resounding impact on your network is worth considering. From your storefront to your products, to a unique design to a picture of yourself, a picture or logo is the perfect way to make your business card unique.

#7 Get Social

modern business card design

With more and more brands operating entirely through a digital platform, it’s critical to bring your business cards to the 21st century by including all of your social profiles. This not only creates leads to your social networks, but it also establishes your brand as modern and savvy. Include your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and even Snapchat username in addition to your traditional points of contact – phone, email, website and physical address.

#8 Material Matters

You can be innovative or creative in your card design but it won’t matter if you don’t invest in quality material for your card. Cards that are made up of plastic or metal are serious attention grabbers. While it will cost more, you will have to consider the true cost of your business cards against what it is worth to create a long-lasting impression on the minds of your business partners, associates and new business connections that you may develop. Understand that this is an investment with a purpose. Make sure that your business card is of enough quality to properly represent your company. Even a going one extra step to put a nice glossy finish on your cards can make all the difference to potential leads.

#9 Embellish The Background

business card ideas

Gone are the days of those traditional cards having plain, boring white backgrounds. It reflects complacence. Why not grab people’s attention by being more innovative to represent your brand? While adhering to the previously mentioned points of business card best practices, think outside of the box and don’t be afraid to push your comfort zone. Be experimental by adding fun designs, calendars or a space to make some notes. Inspire a unique thought. Start a dialogue. Encourage engagement. Do not hesitate to explore your creative skills. Ensure that your background looks novel and is able to seek the attention of clients, thus highlighting your brand.

While business cards have their roots in traditional business networking, marketing and branding, this doesn’t mean there is no place for business cards in the modern business landscape. By utilizing the breadth of knowledge on business card effectiveness and design, you put a modern flair on this print approach to increasing exposure.

Whether you are rubbing shoulders with design industry leaders at SXSW or you’re picking up your week’s groceries at Trader Joe’s, you never know when you’ll make a critical connection or potential lead. Having a punchy and unique business card to provide to new acquaintances can reshape your business or personal brand in an instant.

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