Recently I was asked to say why business cards are important and how to create a great business card. In a recent post, you can read about the pitfalls you should avoid Top 5 business card mistakes. Here I will provide a list of 10 top tips to ensure that your business card looks the part and works for you.
Make it memorable. Flash your card to someone for 5 seconds or so. Can they recall something memorable about the card, such as colour, logo, text etc?
Make your cards a standard size. Yes, you can create a non-standard size or shape. It will be both expensive to produce and may not fit into a cardholder or pocket. You can ignore this advice but you need to know what you are doing.
Use good quality card. If you use thin card or paper then you will not impress the people that you give it to. The card will not look good (if at all) for very long.
Design using CMYK. This is a tip for those designing their own cards. Please do not be tempted by all of the different colours that your design software might produce. You might notice that when you look at a design on your screen and print it out you see slightly different colours. This is because on the screen we see an image made out of Red, Green and Blue (RGB). When you print you see an image produced using 4 or 6 colours. Printers usually print using (up to) 4 colour printing (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black). Designers will also use Pantone colours. You can convert between all of these systems but remember printers will use CMYK, the 4 primary colours for pigments. So if someone else does your design, ask for a sample that uses CMYK.
Allow room for bleeding. You should ensure that images other than a logo or photograph extend over the whole face of the card. To ensure that there is no unwanted white border, make sure that the image (or solid colour) extends into the bleed area (usually around 3mm). This allows for any inaccuracy in trimming. You should also be aware of the protected area within the card boundary so that none of your text is cut off!
Allow some white space. Having said that we want a nice memorable image or log which covers the card, you should ensure that there is some white space somewhere. Many people like to add a note or to after meeting you. Place this on the back of the card if you like.
Employ a designer. Yes you can do this yourself (I have) but it might take many years and several iterations. Find an expert and you will save time.
Images must be of good quality. You should ensure that all images are greater than 300 dpi or else they will look grainy when printed onto your nice new cards. Please also check that you use either royalty-free graphics or that you have the required license.
Proofread everything. I know that you will check but get someone else to do it too. Once the print button is pressed you will have to pay to rectify any mistakes.
Make sure that your shiny new card is congruent with your business. Are you one nice consistent brand, do you believe in what your card says or shows?
Take care of the above and you will stand a good chance of creating a great business card. The image shown at the top of this post is a great example. It also has the advantage that being a stand-up design, people will naturally play with it and hence notice more of the writing on it.