We live in a digital world, but business cards are needed even today. In this age of e-cards, business cards give you an opportunity to stand out and make a mark right when it is required.
Your business card design says a lot about you and your company. It makes a subtle statement without you even uttering a word. Such a powerful business tool it is that many top executives insist on using very high-quality and impactful business cards.
With business cards being such an essential tool for your image, here is a step by step approach to designing a perfect business card.
AUDIENCE, GEOGRAPHY, AND BUSINESS.
Design for your audience
A lot of people search the internet for business card designs. However, not all business cards may be suitable for your business. The styling of your business cards should be for people who you’d present it.
Keep in mind your target audience’s perceptions and thinking pattern. It would make no sense to give an excellent looking flashy and vibrant card to a corporate honcho. Remember, the purpose of your business card is to create an impression of you and your company.
Consider the geographical factors
Colors and shapes have different meanings in different parts of the world.
You must ensure the colors and shapes do not clash with traditional and cultural roots of your target audience. It becomes even more critical if you are from the United States and doing business with Chinese or German companies.
You aim to impress the people you meet and not put them off.
Our world is very diverse, and so are the people living it. One phrase that summarises it all is “Do in Rome as Romans do.”
Business card should reflect your business.
Your business card is all about your business. It must convey the feel and emotion related to your profession.
You could be in the fashion business, or you could be a lawyer. Your business card must reflect the nature of your business.
Lawyers would use simple but powerful looking business cards whereas fashion designers may prefer something hip and flashy.
Cards that are not in sync with the image of your business could result in lost business. It is because most people go by their perceptions of you and not by what you tell them about yourself.
THE DESIGN ELEMENTS
Colored v/s monochrome
A google search for business card design shows up endless options. There are multi-colored, bold colors, subtle colors, white and black cards.
Some cards look classy and elegant; others look stylish and trendy. Your situation could be like that of a kid in a candy store, not able to decide which ones to take and which ones to leave.
At this point, you need to stick to the needs of your business and your brand image (that you want to create).
A white background used to be the universal choice but that has changed in the past decade. Most businesses now want to look modern and vibrant. Color becomes an essential identifier of your brand styling.
There are many other options to use the color on business cards.
You could use the brand colors in the background and keep white logo and text.
Another option is to use a solid background and have colored logo on it. There are also ways to use colors in background graphics on monochrome cards.
Single or double sided
Business cards can be single or double-sided, meaning, you could either print on the front side or print on both front and the backsides.
A card printed on both the sides incurs a little extra cost towards the printing.
Here are a few options that will help you decide which way to go.
1.Print on two sides when you have more than one brand.
Some businesses are multi-brand and displaying all the brands on your business card gives good exposure to your business.
A standard way to do it is to print all the brands on one side and personal details on the other side of your business card.
2.Print on two sides to show a more prominent and bold logo.
When the business card is one-sided, the logo gets a smaller share of the available space. Using the logo on other side gives it all the area needed.
With this approach, the logo stands out well and consumes all the attention.
3.Print your logo with address and contact details at the bottom.
It leaves one side free for writing your name, your designation, and your contact details.
The shape of your business Card
Once upon a time, business cards used to be rectangular pieces of thick paper, but not anymore.
Today, business cards not just share your contact info but also create an impression on the person you meet.
With your image at stake, you should go for the best.
A process called die cutting can give business cards any shape.
You can have the rounded shape of your logo cut on one edge of the card so that the logo stands out while giving a distinct form to the business card.
A distinctly shaped business card is easily identified and thus makes you stand apart from the crowd.
For a simpler version, you could also go in for cards that come in irregular shapes. Sometimes a “sleek rectangular card” with low height also looks good and stands out.
Some cards are printed horizontally (landscape mode) while others are written vertically (portrait mode).
Most cards print in landscape mode. One of the main reasons to chose portrait mode over the landscape is when the height of your logo is more than its width.
There are numerous ways to play with the shape of your card. A brief online research will give you enough options to select.
Make your card the best you can.
Placement of other elements
Other than the logo, your business card contains your name, designation, company name, address and contact details.
Sometimes there could be too much information to accommodate on one side of the card. You need to see the length of each sub-element and make the best use of the available space.
For example, if your website domain name is short, you could look at the possibility of placing email id and website URL side by side at the bottom of the card.
However, some domain names are longer, and it may not be possible to accommodate a higher number of characters in the given space.
In such cases, you may want to group the contact information and put it on one side of the card along with your name and designation. Logo, company name, and address can come on the other side.
There could be many other scenarios where a usual placement of information may not be possible, and you’ll have to either reduce and regroup the info.
One way to find the best option is to group the information and write it down on paper in as many ways as you can. Comparing the arranged pieces of information will give you good clarity.
Selecting the right font is essential to maintain the overall balance of your business card design.
A thumb rule is to use the same font family as your logo fonts. But other combinations are very much possible.
For the sake of readability, some people want to use Serif fonts in printing. In such a case, it is a good bet to trust your graphic designer with his knowledge of fonts and font families.
Bottom line is the font should be readable and look good with your logo.
Printing the business card
Now when your design is ready, you need to take it to a printer for printing.
You can print the cards on many types of paper. The paper could be thick or thin, handmade or machine made, glossy or matte. Handmade paper has a unique texture and stands out well.
Another thing to note is that handmade papers come in their colors. You must ensure a suitable design to go with handmade cards. Handmade cards look best with old style screen printing.
Just like the handmade ones, you also have the option of textured machine-made business cards. These give a more consistent look, and the finish quality is better than handmade ones. One significant advantage is that machine-made cards look good with digital printing too.
If you are going with a simple card, you may want to consider getting matte lamination to improve the overall finish. Matte laminated cards are not easily affected by water and have a longer life than their counterparts.