Business cards may seem like a small part of an overall brand experience, but the reality is that a business card is your first chance to make an impression on someone. Business cards are typically only 3.5 X 2 inches, considerably smaller than other mediums such as billboards and print advertisements, which may seem like more important pieces of brand real estate.
But business cards can be extremely effective in communicating a lot of information in a very short amount of time, which is important when you’re trying to get your name out there. And despite the small amount of space you have to work with, business cards can be exceptionally creative. Business cards are essential in being a memorable and reputable brand. Billions of business cards are printed each year, so it’s important that your card stands out from the rest. People hand out business cards all the time, and if yours doesn’t make the cut it will end up in the trash.
Here are some things to consider when you are choosing a business card:
Branding – No matter how cool your design is it won’t do anything for you without strong branding. The brand is what you want people to remember and take interest in, so it should have a solid presence in your design.
Quality – Paper type, gloss or matte finish, and special print techniques matter for business cards. This little card is going to represent you and your entire brand. The last thing you want is a cheap looking card that will present your brand in a negative way. Splurge and get your cards printed by a reputable vendor instead of going for the cheapest option – you’ll be able to tell the difference in quality, and so will your clients. Some of your options include:
Die-Cutting: Die-cutting is a technique used to cut different shapes in mass quantities. Think cookie cutter for printing! It can be used to make different shapes, like a card with rounded corners, or cut shapes out of a larger shape.
Embossing & Debossing: Embossing is essentially a printing process in which pressure is applied to create a raised surface, while debossing creates the opposite. (An indented surface.)
Spot UV: This technique allows you to highlight the specifics of a design by only applying gloss to select parts. This gives the design texture and hierarchy, and it makes it shiny and pretty to look at.
Foil Stamping: Foil stamping is a process that uses heat and pressure to apply a shiny foil finish to select parts of your design.
Letterpress: This technique has been used since the early ages of printing. To learn more about it, read this Letterpress blog.
Scented Ink: Probably not the most cost efficient option for a business card, but it could be relevant depending on your company’s products.
Duplexing: Duplexing is when you glue two pieces of paper together. It makes the card thicker and more luxurious looking, but can also be combined with other techniques like die-cutting to create more unique looks.
Material: There are lots of different paper stocks and types that are available for printing, but business cards don’t have to be limited to paper! Wood, metal, plastic, fabric, and cardboard are also viable options.
Simplicity – 3.5 X 2 inches isn’t really a lot of space, so crowding it up with tons of information is probably a disservice. The beauty of this little guy is that it only really needs to present the basics: what is your brand, what do you do, and where can someone go to find out more? Much more than that, and the business card will risk becoming too crowded, and be less likely to make a lasting impression on its viewer.
Think Outside the Box – Business cards don’t have to be rectangular. Think about other options that may be more suited to your company. Die-Cut machines make it possible to create just about any shape you want!
Interactivity – As with other mediums of design, people love to interact with business cards. Making the card more than just a traditional piece of paper with your contact info will make it more memorable and more fun! Plus, if you create a business card that serves another purpose, like this one:
People will be more likely to keep it around, reminding them of your brand for a prolonged period of time!