There’s a famous passage in Brett Easton Ellis’ 1991 novel American Psycho, and its cinematic release of 2000, whereby the main antagonist Patrick Bateman and a bunch of his colleagues share their latest business cards. The tension created as they compare, although compounded by satire and the bizarre nature of the fictional characters depicted, does prove one thing – business card design is crucial.
True, business cards may often end up stashed in the bottom of a bag or behind a couple of credit cards, but they’re nonetheless permanent touch-points between you and a contact. Unless they decided to chop them up or burn them, that is. (Very American Psycho, indeed).
So, to discourage the recipients of your business cards from going full Patrick Bateman on them, here are some simple tips for good business card design:
Packing a lot into a little.
The standard size of business cards is generally only 2 inches by 3.5 inches, which isn’t a whole lot of room to play with. However, quality design, materials and printing are what do the work for you – as long as you keep it all simple.
– If you have a logo, use it and make it the primary feature of the card. It obviously can’t overpower the rest of the print, but it should generally be the largest item on the card itself.
– Secondly, there’s the colour. Usually, you would have fully branded business cards, although the sector in which you work will also define whether you opt for full colour or black and white. Whatever you choose – two colours is certainly sufficient for a business card.
– Never lose track of the importance of typography, either. If you don’t already have a precise typography for the rest of your branded materials, choose one that you feel reflects your business. (You could also pick the most appealing from all the business cards you’ve been given over the years.)
– Include only the essential details: your name, job title (if relevant), company, phone numbers, website address and physical address are more than enough. Also, do make sure everything is spelt correctly (unlike the business cards in American Psycho, apparently).
– Print on quality card to create a tangible touch-point. This is where some business cards don’t just cut it, unfortunately. Even if all of the above is done well, if the card doesn’t feel high-quality for the moments it’s in someone’s grasp, it just isn’t memorable. Consider texture, finish and thermography (raised print) to add a little extra flair. In fact, these are all things to consider for all your marketing materials. If you’d like more control over the quality of your print merchandise, consider the modern print products developed by Duplo International and how you could benefit from them in your business.
Alternative options for different impact.
Finally, there are numerous other options you could consider. As long as it’s not going to cause too many raised eyebrows in your sector, there’s the option of an originally-shaped business card, too. A cookie, for instance, or even a teddy bear could create a different kind of impact altogether.
Another increasingly popular option is something akin to a mini-brochure, with several layers of imagery or information. True, such concepts may sound unusual, but they’ll certainly leave an impression when you hand them over – which is exactly what you’re trying to achieve.