|What Are Your Business Cards
Saying About You?|
Your business cards tell customers and clients much
more than just your name and contact information. These cards send
messages about how well established you are, your level of creativity, and
what degree of success you've achieved. After you meet someone at a
conference or in some other situation, the card is usually all that
represents you--what does that card say to the person looking at it? Take
another look at your business card. Can you offer a more positive message?
Business card content
- Choose your focus. If you have more than one
business, create more than one business card. For example, if you do
public speaking, wedding photography, and Website design, you need three
cards. People want expertise, not "jack of all trades."
- Keep it simple. An important thing to remember is
not to make your business cards too complicated. You want your message
to be simple, but compelling.
- Avoid clutter. More isn't necessarily better.
Include what's essential, but no more than that. Design the card to look
"clean," not crowded.
- Provide essential information. Clutter is
unacceptable, but a card that doesn't provide essential information is
useless. A short slogan will tell people what you offer. Include your
business name and contact information. Do not use an AOL e-mail address
or an address from one of the free e-mail services--doing so marks you
as an amateur. Your e-mail domain should be the same as your Website
- Stay conservative. With some exceptions, the
image of business is conservative. The main message you are trying to
deliver is that your company is stable, well established, and
professional. Therefore, avoid bright, garish cards. If you are a
comedian, of course, you can "depart from the script." In general, you
want to avoid "cutesy" gimmicks and other attention getters. Your card
may get attention, but it won't get respect. And that means you won't
get business. People want to trust those with whom they do business.
- A logo (or photo, if engaging in professional
services) helps dress a card out. If you use a logo or photo, think
carefully about the image it presents. Ask your printshop for advice.
- Don't use tiny fonts in an effort to cram more
information onto the card. A business card isn't a resume or Website.
It's not a magazine article. Look at other people's cards, and note
which ones are visually appealing with information that seems to jump
out at you.
- Go easy on the colors. Choose one or two colors.
Black on white stock is almost never a bad choice. Another good choice
is dark blue on white stock. If you use a light color of text on a dark
background (think of "reverse printing"), you are going to sacrifice
ease of reading. People overwhelmingly prefer dark print on a light
The physical card
- Be careful about the type of stock you use. Don't
use cheap stock--doing so tells others that your business is not doing
well. The quality of the stock reflects the quality of your service or
product. Buying good stock does not cost much more than buying the cheap
- A newly popular idea is to create business cards
on a desktop computer. Sure, it's fine to create your cards that
way--for a professional printer to review and tweak. The many details
you don't know about are ones the printer is intimately familiar with.
Rather than have your card give the subliminal impression that
"something isn't right," have your final design done by someone who
specializes in business card design.
- Another popular idea is to print your cards on
standard desktop equipment. Even most untrained eyes can spot cards
printed this way. The amount of "cost savings" is dubious at best, plus
your time is involved. And again, you have the "something isn't right"
message being sent out. This will reflect on the quality of your
business. To make the right impression, use high quality, professionally
created, professionally printed business cards. The printing machines
that professional printers use are very costly, and there's a reason
why. That reason shows up when you compare cards printed by them to ones
printed by desktop machinery.
Six point summary
Remember, the purpose of your business card is to generate sales leads
that help you get business. Keep these six points in mind:
- Focus your card on what you are offering to a
- Think carefully about your message.
- Provide what people need to know, but no more.
- Use a conservative design, for a professional
- Ensure the information is easy to read.
- Have your cards printed on quality stock.
Jeff Delpress is the Webmaster and operator of http://www.rateprinting.com, an
Internet resource for printing information.