What makes a great business card?
There is definitely an art to creating a business card that has that ‘Ooo’ effect.
Over the years I have printed a wide variety of designs, some of which are bold and memorable and others have just missed the mark. Today I thought I’d explore the wonderful world of business cards and examine what key aspects make a good business card.
Keep it simple – Don’t put too much on your business card
I’ve seen it time and time again where people want their business card to do the pitch for their business card. If you have a paragraph of text on your card you may be putting too much text on there. Unless you’re something such as a copywriter or writer then it could work in your favour! This might sound a bit obvious but for the majority of businesses I would simply put the following details onto your business card:
1. Company name/logo
2. The tagline of the business
3. Your name and job title (if it’s not a generic business card)
4. Phone number
7. Social Media Handles
8. Address (If you want it on there)
I always try to think of every easy method in which your potential customer might want to get in touch with you. If you don’t have all of these, that’s not a problem, if your only point of contact is via DM on Instagram just put that on. Think of your business card as the analogue (and better!) version of your name card on your phone. If you add any more details than that and you may run the risk of overcrowding your business card.
As a result, you might be tempted to reduce the point size of the type to try and gain some more room on the card, you can do this but I wouldn’t go any smaller than 8pt as it can become unreadable at that size. If you do opt for 8pt type I would avoid a lightweight font, if you haven’t dealt with font weights before you may have seen when you select the fonts that you can either have it as light, medium, regular or bold. I would avoid the light weight of the font.
Give your text room to breath
This again is a simple point but I have seen it a lot when people design their business cards. From a print point of view, you should always have a margin around the outside of the design, just in case the print shifts during the print and cut process. By this I mean, if you have any text nudged to right to the edge of the design if the print has shifted even a couple of millimetres it runs the risk of cutting off your text – which nobody wants!
From a design point of view, you should always give your text some room to breathe. As you can see in the Cookie business card example below, if I was the but the contact details were right to the edge the card visually doesn’t look right. However, if I then add a 5mm margin from the cut edge the design and move the text outside of it the design now looks more balanced. The point I’m trying to make is that sometimes less is more with your design. Your business card isn’t huge and you can quickly make the design look amateur when you have to cram everything onto it.
Keep your business card on brand
You should always keep everything you create in the same visual style. If you have a website that has a distinct colour and style and then your business card is black and white with completely different fonts, it just won’t match. Consistency is key with your business and the last thing you want is that someone has your business card, they then go to your website and it looks like a completely different business. It’s a bit unsettling and your business instantly loses credibility.
If your business is minimal and simple, everything visual should follow that style – I’ll admit I have fallen into this trap early in my career. You look on Pinterest for business card inspiration and you end up focusing on some truly amazing designs that you really would like your business card to look like. However, the problem is they just don’t match the style of your business. You should use inspiration for inspiration and cherry pick certain aspects that you know match your visual style.
The stock and finish of your business card
The stock and finish can have a massive effect on the overall impact of your business card and if you use it correctly it can be used to help enhance your design. This doesn’t have to be something hugely extravagant it could be a super smooth soft-touch finish on a thick stock to just create that ‘phwoar’ effect when you give your card to a potential customer. Or it could be a textured uncoated stock to give that more rustic feel. You could even opt for a spot UV finish to add a bit of a contrast to a matt finish. All of these don’t have to cost the world.
If you are after a higher end finish you can get your cards hot foiled, embossed and even triplexed (3 pieces of card glued together) to really make your cards stand out from the crowd. But you should pick a finish that suits what you do. Having a super thick, embossed business card that is foil will firstly cost a lot but if you are a plumber it will be a bit of an overkill. On the other side of the coin if you opt for the cheapest thinnest card stock and finish it will make your business look cheap. If in doubt It’s always best to go for a good middle ground.
So there we have it, these are my basic tips on what key aspects make a great business card! Hopefully, they come in useful for you and I always find it’s best to not overthink the design and always show other people your design before you send it to print!
As always, thank you for taking the time to read this, it means the world! If you have any comments please let me know. Thank you for your time and see you next time! Bye!
by Rob Moore
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