The swapping of business cards is a universal ritual that dates back to the 15th century China, when ‘visiting cards’ were issued to announce the arrival of royalty. Later, European merchants invented trade cards in the 17th Century to advertise their wares and guide customers to their shopfronts.
Today, despite our ever increasing digital age, 10 billion business cards are printed annually in the United States. In many countries, the process of swapping cards in boardrooms still follows strict protocols, particularly in Japan and China, where cards are seen as an extension of the individual. Statistics also show that a company’s sales increase by 2.5 % for every 2000 business cards passed out.
“Business cards communicate your brand story and help create meaningful connections.”
So the ritual still stands! Entrepreneurs and small business owners can particularly benefit from well designed business cards – they add credibility and can reinforce a bond if you’ve previously met only virtually. Business cards also serve as tools to generate leads – in my own BNI business networking group, we all carry around a folder with each member’s business card, so if we see an opportunity to solve someone’s problem and pass on a referral, we have the right contact’s business card on hand to give out. Business cards communicate your brand story and help create meaningful connections.
5 TIPS FOR EFFECTIVE BUSINESS CARDS
LESS IS MORE
Consider a clean, simple design. Your card should be a simple introduction to you and your business, not a full page advertisement. Try to avoid cramming your card with as much information as possible. There is a certain air of confidence with a simple card – it makes you look professional and credible. Simple doesn’t mean boring either, there is a fine art to making creativity look effortless.
CAN YOU READ THE TEXT?
Our number one complaint from our clients when considering a business card makeover is that their clients can’t read the text – the font size is too small. With increased use of devices, our eyes get tired faster and our ageing Australian population means that your clients are likely to wear glasses. This is annoying for them if they don’t have their glasses on hand when they first meet you. Make it easy – make sure your fonts are large enough for your clients to read without needing glasses.
USE IT AS A SHOWCASE
Digital printing doesn’t have the set up costs associated with traditional printing methods, making it more affordable to print multiple images and designs, so consider using your cards as a showcase for your business. If you have a product based business you could include images of your products on the back of your cards, or if you have a photography business you could showcase your portfolio. Make sure your images are shot professionally and include a good cross section that tells your brand story. Leave a few behind, for impact.
CONSIDER THE PAPER STOCK & FINISH
A beautiful design can come undone if you choose the wrong finish. Our digital world means we’re so used to swiping screens that our fingers are literally hungry for texture! Psychologically, a heavier paper weight gives the impression of importance, so make sure your card is not too flimsy. You can also consider beautiful finishes such gold or silver foil, embossing or the traditional art of letterpress printing. More importantly, makes sure that the finish you do decide on is in line with the message you want your brand to convey.
PICK A BRILLIANT PRINTER
Printing is an art form in itself. If you’ve invested money in branding and a professional business card design you can quickly ruin that effort with cheap and nasty printing. Your graphic design studio should recommend a preferred printer to you – someone who has a keen eye for detail and is passionate about print. You want cards that are registered properly; printed true to colour without errors and trimmed to perfection. It’s the sweetest icing on the cake.
Does your card make the best first impression possible?
If not, let us help you design a memorable business card with our Business Card Makeover. We have teamed up with our favourite and trusted printer to offer some amazing Business Card Design + Print Deals that will give you a beautiful business card you can be proud of. Check them out here!