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Designing the Perfect Business Card

Business cards are one of the most critical connection tools in both business and personal marketing. Whether you are a representative to a business as an employee or promoting your own brand, a business card is often the first impression a client receives when meeting you outside of your actual place of employment. 72% of people judge a business by the quality of their business cards, and 39% claim they would choose not to conduct business with a person or company whose business cards were “cheap.” Designing a business card with a perfect balance of choice typography, a solid paper stock, and keen color (where appropriate) is tricky, but when utilized correctly will leave have a positive impact on your clients.

Example of business card produced by Sun Graphics Media, Sheboygan Wi

Since sales have been shown to increase by 2.5% for every 2000 cards handed out, approaching their design requires business people to keep their target audience at the forefront of their mind. 88% of business cards handed out are thrown away within a week. Therefore, choosing colors, fonts, and shapes that represent your brand and portray a specific image in prospective clients’ minds is vital when approaching initial designs. If you’re an investment banker, you will likely take a different approach to your business card’s design than a coffee shop owner.

Color. Color is a crucial decision for both the card and the font. A colored card typically lasts about 10x longer in the hands of clients than a plain one. Colors need to be representative of your brand message while also being easy to read. Specific colors send specific messages and represent different emotions or ideas. A real estate salesman is unlikely to use bright pinks and greens, whereas an organic food store would be more open to such a pallet choice. Choose colors that represent who you are, who your brand is, and what message you’re trying to convey.

Typography. Typography choices are just as equally important for business cards as they are for logos and advertising. Many business cards will be issued by companies with preset logos and fonts, making the design process much quicker. However, when starting from scratch, choosing a legible, yet appropriate, font is a key decision. Script fonts will be used for expressing class and elegance, while firmer or bolder fonts might convey structure or strength. A font will create a voice and tone in your client's mind when they read it, so choosing fonts that come across as more masculine, feminine, playful, professional, young, or established will go a long way in strengthening your brand’s identity with your target audience.

Shape. Today, more than ever, a business card is not limited to the same old bland, rectangular shape. Today's creative brands and entrepreneurs have broken the boundaries of how a business card can appear, or even what it can do! Rounded edges, custom shapes, and even cards that contain removable stickers are all new waves of creativity seen in business cards today. Choosing a design that compliments your services and intrigues your clientele is a great way to stand out in the Rolodex.

Stock and Finish. Firm paper stock and proper finish are vital to conveying an accurate portrayal of yourself or your business. The touch and feel of your business card present an excellent opportunity to impress clients. Flimsy, cheap paper will send a similar message about your business, your services, or you as a professional. Investing in quality card stock shows your client you are willing to invest in establishing professional relationships. A glossy finish can even give off the feeling that you are easy to work with. There are so many options when it comes to choosing business card stock that it may be overwhelming, but taking the time to select a stock that feels comfortable in your clients' hands will go a long way in creating lasting impressions.

Vital Information. Creating a unique, defining business card is important, but don’t let the essentials fall by the wayside! Every business card should include the most vital information:

- Your name or name of your business.
- Your job title.
- Email, phone number, or contact information.
- Website
- Social media links (where applicable)

A business card in many ways is like an advertisement. Your clients will likely visit your websites and social media to get a better sense of your organization before they contact you. Design is important, but a good design without this information is just a pretty piece of paper with no use. Some professionals even include a headshot photo on their cards so clients remember meeting them and have a face to associate their call or email with.

Don’t settle for last minute, poor quality business cards to represent your brand, your business, or yourself. Utilizing creativity and uniqueness in the design of your business card will ensure that yours is not among the 88% that are thrown away. An investment in quality business cards is an investment in yourself and your relationship with clients.

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