Top 5 business card mistakes

business card mistakesI was asked to provide some guidance on how to create a memorable business card and also to highlight my top do’s and don’ts. So here are my own ideas for the top 5 business card mistakes.

Many designers will give you a long list of design principles. Before you get that far you really do need to satisfy some fairly simple usability criteria.

But before we get even that far let’s take a look at what your business card should do. It must be consistent with your branding and vision and be memorable (for the right reasons). So before I reveal my list why don’t you try the following.

Take your business card and show it to a) someone you already know b) someone you have just met at a networking event (best explain this bit first) and then hide the face that you showed to them and ask what they remember about it. Don’t show the card for more than 5 seconds. My guess is that the person you showed the card too will most likely remember nothing at all.

Here my top 5 list of the mistakes people make that you should avoid:

Make it memorable for the wrong reasons. Just take a look at the picture at the start of this post. It is a rubber business card. Novel, yes but completely impractical. If you need two hands to stretch it how do you call the number?

Use poor quality paper or card. Thin stationery is excellent for folding in half or tearing to put underneath the leg of a wobbly table. You will not impress the receiver with the poor quality and the card will get dog-eared very quickly. You should not be tempted to print cards onto materials such as plastic. They are novel but the receiver will probably leave it in the glove compartment as they make excellent ice scrapers or implements for breaking and entering!

Make it too big for a cardholder or pocket. If someone gave you a card that was too big, what would you do with it? Enough said.

Missing contact details. I have seen cards with no contact details at all. Make sure that you have at the very least your name, email address, telephone number and website details. You can also add social media details if you wish. Please do not waste valuable real estate on printing QX codes. Most people will not scan them. Use the space wisely.

Says who you are, not what you do. Your card says ‘Fred Smith, CEO’. So what? If you are an accountant, say so either by keeping it simple or saying you help people to pay less tax. For a larger company, then at least say what your company does.

This may sound a little negative but please keep an eye out for my blog article on the top things that you should do to create a great business card for yourself.


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