How does your business card stand up?

So today I finished The Documentalist business card design and it looks ruddy awesome! Whilst running the risk of coming over all American Psycho, it did make me think about something as simple as the humble business card and how so often people get them wrong.

Like many other areas, such as document design, presentation, etc., it is tempting to cram as much information as possible into a single space. The MD of a company I used to work at was renowned for trying to cram about 3Tb of information into a single PowerPoint slide. When people ribbed him about it, he tried to cram more in. Bless’im.

But overloading content is, let’s be honest, not great. It’s difficult to read, difficult to digest and, eventually, your audience’s brain just thinks “you know what? I’ll look at it later. Think I’ll surreptitiously play a little Candy Crush…”

Same with a business card. I have seen some cards where there are most, if not all, of the following elements:

  • Logo (fair enough)
  • Name (yep)
  • Professional qualification (fine, but only list the ones relevant to your business. No need to include the results of your Cycling Proficiency Test you took when you were 9. Do they still do those?) 
  • Company strapline (hm, jury out on this one. If it’s part of your company logo then obviously yes, otherwise it’s best to leave it out if you don’t have the space)
  • Company switchboard number
  • DDI number
  • Mobile number
  • Another mobile number, for some reason
  • Social media addresses (LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, MySpace, GeoCities…)
And so forth.

On a 85x65mm card cramming as much information as possible simply creates a mess. A business card introduces your business; it’s not your website. As with many things, keeping it simple is the best way to go.

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, getting people to say, “wow! That’s cool!” is the hook to getting them interested in your business. I’ve received business cards from companies and have ended up using them simply because their card stands out. Okay, so there is the whole “style vs substance” thing but if they’ve taken the effort to get a decent business card sorted out then surely they are worth further investigation?

So many business cards look the same, with overloaded contact information on the front and perhaps something on the back, either a repeat of the company logo or some pseudo-Zen phrase or saying. Whilst this is an okay enough design, a little pedestrian, a little samey, why not think about something simpler and more elegant:

  • Front: company logo overlaid on to an optional image. Nothing else!
  • Back: company logo and contact information. This should only include:
    • Name & position
    • Primary contact number
    • Email address
    • Company website

Remember, a business card is a tool used for the recipient to contact you. It is a foot in the door, not a thirty second precis of the business shouted through the letterbox. If your card’s design is engaging, unique and stands out then it increases the chances that the recipient will check out your company by going to your website. And there, you can shout about how brilliant you are to your heart’s content. Therefore, it is super-important to get your business card design just right and, obviously, The Documentalist can help you with this.

We will handle the complete process, from design to preflight, printing and delivery. All you need to do is approve the design, select the stock and finishing and crack on with the rest of your day!