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Business card tips: what to do and what NOT to do to make your card stand out

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Recently I had to input the data from a stack of business cards, and going through so many naturally had me thinking about business card design. There were some things that I hadn’t thought of before that made a huge difference to me, as I was trying to take note of the information on the card.

Based on this and other design principles, here are my business card tips:

Design tips:

  • If you don’t have your name, your title, and the company name in an obvious, so-easy-your-elderly-grandmother-could-find-it spot, you have failed to design a good card
  • If your logo is visible, but is all caps/all lowercase/contains artwork, you also need to have your proper company name somewhere else
  • Photos of your industry aren’t necessary (of a film reel for example)
  • Clean design with lots of space is very good
  • NOT ALL CAPS – the brain reads shapes of words and it’s a lot slower reading names and email addresses when they’re all in capitals (lowercase has the same effect but all caps is worse)
  • Colour is good, smart colour is better; use it to guide people to the essential information on your card
  • Use of bold is good to signify key information, eg Your Name | Your Title
  • A photo that clearly shows your face isn’t a bad thing, depending on the design and your field
Practical use tips
  • Instead of standing out, really thick cards often look like two or more cards stuck together. It might be best to save yourself the money
  • Plastic finished cards are difficult to write on. If you want your contact to be able to note where and when they met you, avoid plastic finishing
  • I personally have no particular preference between horizontal and vertical design, as long as all the information is easy to read
Questions to ask yourself before printing:
  • Hold your card at an arm’s length. Can you read all the key information without straining? There is enough room on the card, it’s just how you organize and size everything. Remember: your name, the company name, your title, and the best way to contact you should all be EXTREMELY easy to find and read. Are they?
  • Is my contact information easy to remember? If your email address is firstname.lastname and you have a complicated name, is that the best way to set up your account?
  • Is there room for confusion? Do you have any letters that could be another letter or number? (The number 1 in some fonts looks like a lowercase L; a zero could be mistaken for an O, etc.)

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