How-To: Design the Perfect Business Card

Your business card matters. Shocker, right? It can seem like you hand out a million of the things and only a fraction of those contacts ever turn into real, viable leads for your business. We seem to be beyond business cards these days. But there is still a need and even an expectation for them. If you want to be perceived well as a professional, part of that involves having a slick, standout business card.

Think of it like mastering the handshake. They're another facet of the first impression. They say something about you. So what are you saying?

Don't let this critical element of networking and business fall by the wayside. Instead, learn what makes a modern and effective business card.

Take out your current business card and look at it. Evaluate it based on the following statements:

What is my business card saying?

  • This was an afterthought.

  • I knew I needed this but I didn't bother to find out why.

  • I needed a professional, but I'm too cheap to hire one.

  • My business is outdated by a solid decade.

  • I'm confident and well-organized.

  • I'm unremarkable.



5 Ways to Construct a Premium, Effective Business Card

Needless to say, there are a lot of messages that your business card can send. In our increasingly digital world, this is your chance to put something in someone's hands. Why not make it memorable? Leave a mark. However, there is a strategic way to do this that is still tasteful and beautiful.

So what are some of the necessities?

1) Hire a Designer

I'll say it once: design is important. If you have not invested in graphic design for your business, it is something you need to do. There is an increasing number of services that claim to design logos, business cards, and other business materials for you without the input of real designers, but these services are not what you need. They don't offer that custom, tailor-made touch that distinguishes your brand from the next guy.

Hiring a designer goes beyond the business card. You're investing in your whole brand's image and messaging, making it consistent, modern, and forward-thinking.

2) Limit Your Palette

One way that people try to make their business cards stand out from the crowd is through color. However, too many colors can look busy and overwhelming. You want to limit your palette to two or three colors—maybe less if you are incorporating difference in texture. An all-color side with a white side, for example, can catch the eye. Keep text one color, except perhaps the company or person's name.

You want to keep things clean and easy to read, first and foremost.

3) Incorporate Texture

We're using a tactile medium. Use this to your advantage. Texture in a business card can mean playing with embossing, glossy and matte textures, rounded corners, even alternative sizes and cutouts on your cards. This will help your business card stand out further. For example, I have seen black-on-black and white-on-white business cards wherein the text was embossed, allowing it to be seen. It was dramatic and classy!  

4) Think Unconventional

We all have an idea in our minds of what a business card looks like. There is a size and format we're all envisioning. Modern business cards, however, aren't limited to flimsy cardstock. You can differentiate yourself from the crowd with different weights of paper, giving your card more heft, bevels, and size variants. You can orient your card vertically, make it square, or make it smaller. Just make sure it will fit in a standard-sized wallet.

5) Less is More

Lastly, remember that less is more. Most of us fret about forgetting to put something on our cards. That said, you really don't have to put every avenue of contact possible on your card. You don't need to list your LinkedIn profile if you haven't touched it in five years. List only what you use and where you wish to be contacted. This can be as simple and streamlined as your name, company, and phone number or email address. That's it!

Ultimately, you don't need to overcomplicate a business card. Let it be consistent with your branding and who you are. Think of it as an extension and reflection of yourself.

What marketing materials have benefitted your business most? Least? Share your experience in the comments.