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What Makes A Good Business Card

Business Cards

What Makes a Good Business card

Originating in 17th-century France and known as ‘visiting cards’, they were handed to the servant of the house by the particular suitor for the attention of his desires. The earliest forms of true business cards – trade cards came from England, and were used as both advertising and small maps.

What does your Business Card say about you and your company

Business cards: we all have them, but how much thought do we give to our most cost-effective marketing tool? In our world today, with all the latest that technology can offer, they are still the one thing that is essential for any business. Take a look in your local newsagent‟s, takeaway or chippy and there they are in all their glory – proclaiming the benefits and services of individuals and companies alike. But when you see them all grouped together, which ones catch your eye and why?


Here are some pointers as to what makes an effective business card


The Obvious…

Your details… your contact details are the number one priority. You’d be surprised at how many people seem to want to hide these by using a small font size or by placing the information against a colour that totally masks their legibility. Why make it hard for potential clients to contact you?

Your details should include: Your name, company name (if this is not apparent in your logo), mobile number, land-line number, email address, website address and, if you‟re feeling brave, your social networking contacts (Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc.) or even just their relevant logos – it can help to show you’re ‘on the case’. Always make yourself as available as possible via whatever channels you are using.

The Not So Obvious…

The Design… should be uncluttered, and the use of colour definitive. If you want to use a background colour, how does this sit with your logo?

Use the back… how many people don’t use the back of their business card? It’s there to be used – it doesn’t cost twice as much to have something printed on the back; it’s not a cost-saving, but when you use it, it gives a full message about your business. Work on a design that will make you stand out from the crowd; talk to a designer- they should always be at hand to give advice.

For instance, you will undoubtedly have your company logo before you reach the business card stage, but how can this be used in this format to best effect? You may want to re-brand. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking ‘Well I have boxes of stationery and cards, I’ll wait until they run out’. If you think it’s needed, then it’s needed now! A freshly branded business card is a talking point and shows positive progress for your business.

The Text… make sure that the typeface and font sizes are easily readable. This might sound crazy, but there are countless examples of cards where you have to squint or use a magnifying glass to get what the company is all about. If a potential client has to work to understand your message, then it isn’t going to happen.

Very important: if you are qualified and feel that you would like to put your hard-earned letters after your name, consider whether this really adds credibility to your profession, or is it a distraction (or vanity!). For instance, if your company provides ‘business services’ and your contact name shows ‘Dr. Peter Sommers’ it just doesn’t sit right – there’s an instinctive urge to question what the ‘Dr’ is about…

The Media… consider the weight (thickness) that your lovingly-created card is printed on. We can all produce our own cards on our desktop printers, but to be handed a card that is flimsy and has poor colour quality reflects badly on your business. A good weight for your card stock would be around 250gsm. By the way, don’t oversize or undersize! You may want to have a flashy fold, but if the recipient can’t fit it in their pocket, or leather-bound business card holder, then it‟s going in the trash. A good standard size is 85x55mm.

Find a reputable printer… or even better, get one referred to you. Ask for some samples of different weights and finishes, including cards that have been embossed, foil embossed or spot uv’d. This may spur you on to go the extra mile with your design. A decent price for a quantity of x250 double-sided, quality printed cards without any enhancements should be around 3p / card. You may be able to find a better deal but don’t skimp on the quality. Also, think about their shelf-life. In a few months you may want to change the details, maybe you’ve added services or benefits or you may have some new contact numbers. Thinking short-term rather than long-term may save money in the long-run.

The Journey… 3p per card (on average) brings us back to where we came in.

The business card is your most cost-effective marketing tool. Once it leaves your hands it has to have a life of its own and has to do the job it has been designed for: create interest, communicate and stimulate.

After all once they are out there if they don’t create the right reaction then they are not doing their job – resulting in something that costs money and is inefficient. If that were a member of staff you’d be doing something about it….

The next time someone hands you their business card check it out, because if they don’t care about their card then you know what’s coming…

Keith Mawson