You may have handled hundreds or even thousands of business cards in your lifetime. You've swapped them with colleagues, kept them on file in a Rolodex, and thrown a veritable avalanche of unwanted cards into your trash can. While you're certainly familiar with business cards as a business networking medium, it's essential to understand their purpose before you design your own card so you don't inadvertently undermine your efforts.
Conveys Contact Information
Above all else, a business card is a tangible object that you can use to provide your contact information to potential customers. Because of this, it's essential not to sacrifice clarity for design elements. Most business cards contain your business name, your name and title, your telephone number, an email address, and a street address. If your company has a website, include its address so that customers can receive more detailed information through it. Resist the temptation to place more information on your card than necessary, as space is limited and it's easy to overcrowd a business card.
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Helps Customers Remember You
While it conveys the means for customers to be in touch with you, a business card also serves as a way for customers and colleagues to remember you after a first meeting. Because of this, many business owners place their photograph on their card to jog customers' memories about the circumstances of their meeting. Other entrepreneurs leave the back of their card blank so that they can use it to write a personal message to its recipient, another mnemonic tool to help customers recall them merely by their card.
Relfects Your Company's Values
A business card is a piece of your company's marketing plan, albeit a small one, so it should work with existing materials, such as letterhead and envelopes, to portray your company's values and its approach to business. Because of this, design the card to convey the spirit of your company's culture. For example, if you're a graphic designer, you may favor a creative, eye-catching design, while a CPA firm might favor a more restrained, understated card that projects professionalism and stability.
Differentiates You From Competition
It's almost a given that your customers receive several business cards from your competitors. A smartly designed business card helps your company stand out among the crowd. Some entrepreneurs choose to use die cuts to create unusual shapes for their card, while others use perforations, folds and pop-ups to differentiate themselves. You don't need to resort to gimmicks; a concise, direct and visually appealing card that projects your company's identity is often as effective in differentiating a company as a novelty card.