Business Card Design and Use
Business Cards: Never out of fashion
Business cards don't fall out of fashion even though the online business world is growing.
To tell you the truth, even people who negotiate online mainly need business cards - I'm one of those cases. Here are some reasons why business cards are something that will stay in our world for years to come:
Networking Purposes: Even the average businessman knows the importance of networking. If you are a businessman or businesswoman (don't want to discriminate here), chances are that you are in a chamber of commerce or registered at another place that joins several merchants and business owners together. How can you possibly turn those connects into leads if you can't give them a business card?
Guaranteeing Professionalism: Business cards are used to "show off" sometimes, but that's a vital part of making clients perceive quality and professionalism. If you are an online professional like myself you need to assure your suspicious offline leads that you are a "legit" entrepreneur. Business cards give you credibility - I still have them.
Lead Exchanging: Business people usually hang around with other business people - and they keep stacks of cards of other business people too. They usually engage in Lead Exchanging: they recommend people to their friend's services and they do the same. So, you see, business cards are a must.
These are the 3 most important reasons people still cling on to the old habit of handing out business cards. Feel free to leave some other reasons in the comment section at the end of this article.
What should I include in my business card?
Here are some tips on things you might want to include in your business cards - as well as some insight on some things to be left out.
Name of the Bearer: You always have to include the name of the person handing out the card - if it's the salesman's card include his name and if it's your personal card, well you guessed it, include your own name. People need to know who are they talking to when contacting your company.
Company name: Don't leave your costumers in the dark.
Logo: Make your company instantly recognizable by associating an image or a logo to it in all of the advertising materials.
Contacts: Off course, or you won't be contacted
Following this info, here are some things you want to avoid having in your card.
Stock Clip-art: Cartoons or amateur looking clip-art is a huge turn off!
Legal Information: Nobody cares about these details. Be memorable, not boring.
Well, I could go on, but here is the rule: Avoid wasting space in your card! It must be simple and easy to digest.
Keep it simple...
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Design Tips for Business Cards
There isn't a "Holy Grail" tip to get a perfect business card. It isn't a one size fits all kind of thing, but one that needs to be thought about carefully. What is the personality of the target market? Are they the conservative type? The young and rebel type? What are they looking for? And another important factor to have in mind - what are the values you want to convey?
Vintage Design: Vintage design tries to pass out the values of integrity, elegance, expensiveness (even though you may think this last one is bad, don't forget price is perceived as a quality measure).
Grunge Design: Totally the opposite, it represents jovial energy, originality, creativity and a rebellious nature. Used in most sport shops aimed at teenagers.
Sleek Design: Conveys the values of professionalism, responsibility, organization. Good for financial institutions for example.
Abstract Design: If you aren't sure of what values you want to pass out by this point you should use this design, it can be used in many ways and it's a more generalist choice.
Some Design Suggestions
Bars and Clubs
How to properly use Business Cards?
There are some tips I can share with you about the proper business card use. You should keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you - but at least consider these options.
Write something: When you are handing out a card, write something in it with a pen, like your personal number or an indication - the person will feel a special attention was given to him and is more likely to hold on to it.
Give several copies: Never give just one card, give some of them and ask the person to pass them on to any friend that may need your services.
Always have them: You can't leave home without them and you can't let the stock go dry. Keep an eye out for possible shortages and keep some extra in your car.
"Forget" them everywhere: Leave them in crowded places, place them in bulletin boards, on coffee shops counters and such.
Make cards for your employees: They will feel proud of having their name on a card, thus feeling enticed to hand them out
Be creative and create your own philosophy in card usage.
The best tip I can possibly give you:
- Be memorable!
Everyone uses business cards, so standard business cards get tossed to the garbage pretty quickly. You got to concentrate your design efforts into creating something that will keep your card in your client's wallet. Something original and creative, something memorable.
The concept on the right, a creation of mine for Origami, includes a guide on how to make the company's logo from a square of paper (using origami techniques).
Take some times to browse the web and get inspired by some of the amazing ideas out there.
I hope this article helped you out, and as a final note I'll sum up the things you have to prioritize when designing and using your business cards:
- Match your company's personality with the cards design;
- Make sure you keep it simple;
- Never run out of stock;
- Give them out often and in number;
- Never leave home without them;
- Make them memorable;
Feel free to leave me a comment regarding this subject or article.
How to Give Out Business Cards
What kind of design works best for your company?
Rui Carreira is a Marketing Major who graduated in the ESGTS - Santarém University in Portugal.
A design and writing freelancer, his passion about marketing inspired him to create this article.
If you liked this article feel free to browse his writing profile here.