by Tash Hughes of
are one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to
promote your business. They are an initial contact for
your business and thus are important in conveying your
image and message.
cards you give out or how well you do so, all your
potential and actual clients will be receiving more than
one business card. If you want your card to work for
you, it needs to be well thought out, appropriate and
effective; it needs to stand out from the crowd without
losing you credibility.
Below are some
tips on how to best design your card to maximise its
effectiveness for you.
Go for quality.
Usually, it is best to get them professionally printed;
if home printing, use quality, thick paper for best
results. Consider getting cards printed on thicker than
standard card, too, as this shows you’re a serious
business and may keep your card out of the rubbish.
Accentuate your name as
this is the most important detail after the business
Give yourself a title,
no matter how small your business.
Include all necessary
details. Contact details are mandatory, whether it is a
phone, number, fax number or email address. Wherever
possible, have more than one means of contact listed on
the card to give people choice and ensure they can
Inclusion of your street address
depends on the style of business you operate as to
whether it is relevant, but be warned that a lack of
address reduces credibility to some people and prevents
mailed or couriered items reaching you.
Make it accurate.
Ensure all details are correct BEFORE printing and
update the cards when details change. It is
unprofessional and unattractive to cross out and hand
Include a tag line to
describe your business; catchy and informative ones work
Choose an image for
your business and let your card support it. This is done
by the colour, textures, finish and thickness of the
card as well as the words, colours and images printed
Keep it appropriate.
Think of who your audience is and keep the card in tone
with them; for instance, an accounting or law firm would
be best served by sedate, classy cards whilst a designer
or artists could get away with more creative colours and
styles and a business targeting children could be bright
and multi coloured.
Be creative. You want
your card to stand out and be noticed – but don’t go
overboard. Simple touches like printing vertically (most
cards are horizontal) or shaping the corners can be
effective. Remember that anything too cute or trendy
could actually prevent people keeping and using your
Keep it clear.
Information on the card must be easily accessed, so
don’t add more than necessary – if lots of information
is desirable, then print on both sides of the card
rather than crowd the front. Space around the text and
logo makes the whole card easier to look at and read.
Stick to standard.
Making your card bigger than standard cards will make it
harder for people to add them to wallets so they will be
easier to store.
Contrasts can be a
useful way to keep relevant details in the front of the
card – white print on a dark background makes the words
stand out whilst still having an interesting card.
Text must all be in a
font that is easy to read, in terms of both style and
Include the url
(address) of your web site on the card – for many
businesses, the lack of a web site on the card could
lose some prospects
Use your original logo
on your cards, as well as on your stationary, web site
and brochures. It is part of branding to use the logo
rather than using images than everyone has access to.
Having the back of the
card blank can be very useful for notes, but some cards
include useful information on the back such as a metric
converter, list of major holidays or useful web sites
like Google, weather bureau and the ATO.
A simple design allows
you to scan the card and use it as an email signature or
even an ad in a paper.
cards for different purposes, if appropriate and even in
different languages if you intend expanding overseas.
Designing a bilingual card (one language per side) is
Add logos of supporting
bodies, with their permission. For instance, the logo
for CPAs will support an accountant’s card
In the process
of designing and deciding on your card, look at as many
business cards as you can. Collect them and sort them
into those you do and those you don’t like; try to find
which features caught your attention and which turned
you against the card. Use these answers to finalise your
Unless you are
particularly creative, consider having cards
professionally designed and printed as soon as your
budget allows it.
There is some
debate about the usefulness of adding your photo to a
business card, so some of the major issues are listed
below for consideration:
Are you in a business
dependant upon relationships?
Will you update the
cards regularly so your photo doesn’t date the card?
Can your business
afford the extra expense of printing the card and
getting the photo done?
If much of your
business is conducted via mail, email and phone, would
it personalise things to have a picture included on the
card for your clients?
Photo cards tend to be
kept and kept at the top of the card pile
Do you make
arrangements with clients prior to meeting? A photo card
could make it easier for them to find you at the later
Does the photo clutter
the card too much once your logo is added?
Does a photo complement
the image and style of the card?
It takes time to
devise the perfect business card for your business, but
the effort will be worth it when it brings in more
Tash Hughes is
the owner of
Word Constructions and is available to solve all
your business writing problems! From letters to
policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions
writes all business documents to your style and