Most business cards are boring as hell. A little piece of paper with numbers and text on it that we’re supposed to keep and reference later? Don’t count on me. I don’t even keep the receipts and I pay them technically.
Business cards are boring. They are fair. We hand them out at professional networking events or leave them in a pile at the front desk for visitors to take with them. And that’s where it ends. The rest depends on fate. In the age of the Internet, some would argue that the business card is as obsolete as a landline. I’m here to tell you that it only seems like business cards are dying because we are letting it happen. Bad design can kill any creative effort, and business cards are no exception.
But how can you make sure your business card doesn’t get left behind or thrown in the trash? Getting a business card that people won’t want to throw away takes a little creativity. There are a number of design elements you can experiment with to ensure that your business card makes a good impression on your name and that of your brand.
Go black… or use color. Everything but white.
Most business cards are printed on white paper and use black ink. YAWN. As such, they’re meant to blend in with the rest of the business cards on the bulletin board or those tucked into a fishbowl for a free sandwich. Instead, why not explore a business card design with a dark background or printed on colored paper?
There’s just something about a pretty dark blue or satin black that conveys luxury. I’m looking at you, American Express Black Card. A simple design change like this can take your business card from forgettable to fantastic. Just make sure you’re using a color that works within the confines of your brand identity. Also make sure you have enough contrast. Imagine using white letters on a black card. When placed next to the other guy’s, yours is sure to stand out at your next networking function.
Explore different shapes
Who said your business card has to be the standard 3.5 inch by 2 inch rectangle? Of course, this is probably the cheapest solution, but is “cheap” part of your brand identity? At Impulse Creative, our business cards are square with rounded corners. People love them and always give positive feedback immediately after receiving one.
There are a variety of fun shapes that you can use in your business card design, if they match your industry. If you own a soap business, explore rounder shapes like ovals in your next business card design. Non-traditional shapes are eye-catching and can go a long way in creating a unique and memorable first impression. If you own an aquarium supply store, shape your business cards like fish. The possibilities are limitless.
Having die-cut business cards is definitely more expensive, so be careful when exploring unique shapes for your business cards. When you think about the long-term benefits, brand awareness and value of the brand, the up-front costs can be worth it.
A picture is better than a thousand words
Sometimes your name, title, and logo are not enough. To get yourself a memorable business card that people won’t throw away, try incorporating photography into the design. Full photos on one or both sides of your business card give people something to look at.
If you are a photographer or an artist, this can be an even more attractive design element, as you can take the opportunity to present a preview of your work. To take it to the next level, you can even use variable printing to create a set of business cards with one image per card. Business card printing services like Moo and others do this very well.
But what if your product is not visual? Don’t worry, you can still incorporate photography into your business card design. Think about headshots. With the rise of social media, our faces are everywhere, from photos on our Facebook page to professional portraits on our LinkedIn profile. The same can be applied to your business card.
There is so much that someone can convey from a name. Sometimes it’s positive, and sometimes, unfortunately, it’s negative. But a smiling face? It can be reassuring. Incorporating photography into your business card can be to your advantage: people like to match a face with a name. Just make sure it doesn’t look cheesy so no selfies here! Incorporate an elegant black and white photo or a professional photo to give it a professional look.
Change your feeling
80 lb card stock quickly gets boring. But that doesn’t mean the paper is canceled. There are many options for popping the paper. You can experiment with heavier paper, embossed elements, or even a more raw, natural cardstock that has charming variations that will make each card in your set unique.
Another option is plastic business cards. Plastic is becoming more and more popular as a material for business cards due to its durability and endless applications. Really, any material other than paper will set you apart from the competition and naturally steer the conversation towards you and your business. From metal to cardboard, the possibilities for experimentation are endless. Check out these 60 unique business card examples.
Throw conventional wisdom out the window
Now I am all for order. And the point of design is to make things easier, especially when it comes to conveying information to the reader. But sometimes we have to push the boundaries a bit. Be bold, be edgy with your next business card design.
Next to the usual suspects like your name and number, include something unexpected. It could be something as simple as your Twitter handle. Or maybe it’s a “fun fact” about you or your business. The ideas are limitless. You can even go so far as to put your coordinates around the edge of the map to force the viewer to interact with the map. Don’t make them work too hard to get the point across.
Mixing up the usual “name, phone number, email address” formatting in any way is sure to get people asking you questions. But be prepared if someone takes a bait and asks about your business card design. Prepare a professional and witty response. For example, if someone asks you why your name is backwards on your card, you might respond with “Because this is what I do in my industry!” “
Really, by combining some or all of the design ideas above, you might end up with a unique and crazy business card design that is sure to say that you are different.
Business cards are not dead
The next time someone tells you that business cards are out of date, tell them they are out of date. Or maybe just politely suggest that they lack creativity. When professionally designed, a business card can be your ticket to a rolodex of prospects and their memory. People still love business cards, and they love them even more when they shut them down.
Plus, if you hand out a creative business card that makes a good impression, that person is likely to show it off to other people, putting your brand in front of even more prospects. But don’t just hand over just any card, give potential prospects and new customers an eye-catching business card that’s uniquely designed.