Do you know a fun fact about business cards? They are seen as an extension of you in many Asian countries. In fact, for Japanese and Chinese people, exchanging business cards is almost a ritual. If you hand them your business card, they will hold it with respect, look at it and say something nice about it. Also, they will store it somewhere it won’t be damaged. At the same time, they consider a huge disrespect to put a business card in your pockets. As you can see, they take business relations very seriously. Isn’t that amazing?
Many people use business cards regularly, but don’t know the fact that they have been around us for centuries, yes, centuries! Business cards first began as trade cards, back in England during the 17th century. Merchants used to hand small cards with their info as a primary form of advertising. They also used them as maps, as there was no formal numbering system on the streets of London.
Trade cards became popular later during 1870, mainly because merchants and salespeople found an effective way of advertising with them. They would leave stacks of business cards on offices, general stores, hotels, railroad stations, and restaurants until they became the regular cards we know now.
Business cards are usually tiny rectangular pieces that have all your business’ info written on them. They are one of the most popular printed tools used by almost every business owner, as they work as a small summary of an organization. Also, you can use them to promote your services; designers, personal trainers, photographers, and people who work independently use them a lot, too.
With all the ongoing growth social media and the internet have, one might think business cards are too old-fashioned, or elegant business owners only use them with huge corporations, but that is not true. Anyone can use business cards, and they are not outdated. Business Cards are an easy and personal way to advertise your work and also handling all the information a potential customer or commercial ally may need from you.
We highly believe that every professional must have a good looking business card. Here are a few reasons why:
They give people the ability to follow you: A business card’s primary goal is to provide other people with your contact info and a summary of what your business does. When you display your phone number, e-mail, website, even social media accounts, you’re giving people many “channels” in which they can contact you.
And yes, people have smartphones and can save you on their contacts, but you take the risk that they might forget who “Ben (lawyer)” is, for example. There’s also the possibility that your potential client is out of battery. Or don’t have a pen and paper to write your number. Business cards are small and practical, have them always in your pocket, and you’ll have more chances of people contacting you.
They give you a professional look: According to business studies, around 72% of people form their first impression on someone/a business just based on their business cards. If your cards look great, with a good design, with quality materials, potential customers and allies will look at you as a professional. Even if you’re not the one designing them, you were the one who approved the design, so your taste and your critical sense will show up every time you hand a business card.
They make you “referable”: Business cards aren’t only for displaying your contact information. You also must summarize your skills or the things you do in your business. It can be through a short written line or in a more visual way (we’ll talk about it a bit later) so people can have an idea of your services and what you do. Even if they don’t contact you, they can give your card to a friend who might need your assistance.
They represent your business: especially if you or your designer take the time to think about the design and make it represent your work and your vision. A great looking business card will give people an idea of how you do things. Some of the best business cards show people what you specialize in even before reading your info.
They are handy and easy to carry out: Let’s say you’re looking for a new job, or you work independently and want to look for new clients, do you think is a good idea to carry around your printed CV? Or your portfolio? Business cards aren’t bigger than 2×3 inches, they fit in every pocket, and you can carry a pack with you everywhere. What is more practical than that?
They give a personal touch: with today’s technologies, and people sometimes lack the individual approaching. Yes, an online business strategy is beneficial, but when you get in contact with people, talk to them face-to-face and finally give them something tangible to stay in touch with you, you get stuck in their mind for sure.
They have a substantial cultural impact: as we mentioned earlier, business cards are seen as a ritual in many different countries. There’s even the possibility of disrespecting someone if they hand you their card, and you don’t give yours in exchange. Also, they make you look more open to negotiation, mainly if you write some information in their native language.
They are marketing tools: some people see business cards as tools made for potential commercial allies, but the latest trends set them as marketing tools as well. Potential clients can have a brief look at your work through a business card, and they will guide them towards your other marketing strategies.
They can incorporate technology: printed products are incredibly flexible and technology-friendly. You can add your QR code or even integrate augmented reality on your cards; it has become an enormous trend that makes a great impression on people.
They are cost-effective: just like many printed marketing tools, business cards are more affordable than you may think, and of course, you get to print a vast number of them in one order, so you’ll see they are a good investment for your business.
We know, you’re now convinced on how important business cards are, that is great. Still, there are a few things you have to consider before ordering a pack of business cards. Let’s see the basic stuff a business card must have:
Your logo: your logo is your visual representation and the fastest way for someone to recognize you/your business. Your logo should always be on your cards, with a proper size that brings attention to it.
Basic contact info: things as your name, title, your company’s name, phone number, and e-mail. If you consider it essential, add your website or other forms of contact.
Enough white space: remember that business cards are small pieces of cardstock; they need balance because too many things will make them completely useless. Try to find a balance between text, your logo, and the blank space.
Good quality: Printing wise and paper wise, business cards need the best quality you can afford, as people won’t take you seriously if your card is made out of thin paper, the printing looks old, or there are spelling mistakes.
A proper design.
We want to extend a bit more on the design part. See, there is a little bit of a challenge when designing business cards, not because they are small, but because they have to fight for people’s attention. If you hand your business cards at an exhibition, for example, they only have a 20% chance of being noticed by the person before trashing them. Why does this happen? Because people will be receiving business cards from many other people. If someone has a pile of different business cards, they’ll probably discard 80% of them.
What can you and your business cards do to fight the statistics? It is all on the design. Here are the things you have to consider when it comes to the designing process of your business cards:
Call a professional: Just because they are small, it doesn’t mean they are a small project. It either means that you, someone who has no experience in design, can make them. The best thing you can do is contacting a professional and explain your vision and the identity of your brand. They can understand and guide you in the best direction. Graphic designers are everywhere, contact a few, check their portfolio, and work with the one whose style suits you better.
Include only relevant information: It is so easy to go overboard and add too many things that are not necessary. Only add the essential information to contact you, nothing more.
Make it cohesive with your brand: If your website, social media, and logo have all the same colour palette and fonts, it is not the best idea to make your business card look different. Make sure it all seems matched and put-together.
Less is more: minimalism is a trend in graphic design nowadays, and it is your best friend if you want to project a clean, serious look. We recommend minimalist designs for people who work on banks, law, and corporations.
Show your skills differently: some businesses can take advantage of the next technique: if you work with wood, for example, a business card that looks like a piece of wood will match your business and draw attention. Even if you didn’t “do” the card, people would understand what you “do” on your business. Get creative with this, we know about a bakery that made their business cards into cookies, isn’t that amazing?
Get creative: if you work on an art-related field, or simply don’t have to project a “corporate” or elegant feeling, the possibilities for you are endless.
Think outside the square: literally, no rule says business cards must be rectangular. Try a different shape, like a circle, a triangle, or even an object shape. A camera shaped card will look great on you as a photographer.
Make them more than just cards: Think about a landscape company, nothing too exciting, right? But If we tell you one company made their cards into envelopes that contained flower seeds? Now that grabs attention. If your business lets you be funny and playful, take advantage of that! Make a ruler-like card for a stationery shop, or a stencil if you are an artist. Creativity is key.
Some printing techniques for business cards:
Varnish and UV spot printing: Varnish is a protective coat of material that makes cards appear glossy, and they also feel thicker than regular cardstock. UV spot lets you apply that glossy finish on some specific places, creating a matte and bright pattern on your card. This technique adds a lot of visual interest to them.
Embossing / debossing (letterpress): both techniques use heat pressed into the card, giving it a dense texture. They create a 3D feel and visual effect that is commonly used on logos and letters.
Foil printing: Foil is a form of printing that gives a glossy and shiny finish to the typography and logos. A foil is a heat printed on the cards, and it provides a sophisticated look, especially over black and dark colours.
Die and laser cutting: laser and die-cutting let designers go crazy on business cards. They can create much more intricate patterns that look stunning.
Laminated card designs: either glossy or matte, there is no need to make all business cards on plain cardstock. This also makes the cards more durable.
Business cards are powerful tools that will help you gain contacts, commercial allies, and customers. As you can see, the new designing techniques let you showcase your business in more creative ways than you imagine, not just plain cardstock business cards. Having an outstanding design is the key to get people’s attention. If you want to give business cards a try, definitively choose a reliable printing company that offers you designing service, they will help you with creating the best looking cards that will help you and your business grow.