A business card is like a pocket-sized billboard with the power to make a lasting impression. Even in today’s digital-first world, designing a business card is one of the most important steps of any brand identity project.
Get it right, and people will store the business card in their wallet or laptop case—keeping your brand top of mind.
What industry secrets can you borrow to make your business card design a success? Keep reading to find out…
Designing a business card for maximum impact
Think a business card is just a rectangular piece of paper with your contact details printed on it? Think again! Its canvas might be small, but many elements come together to create a winning design.
Find your shape
If you’ve got your heart set on a traditional size and shape for your business card, then that’s okay. Sometimes, traditional works—especially if you’re in the business of building implicit trust (if you work in professional services, for example).
But if yours is a more creative, innovative and tech-y proposition, you might want to consider something less…expected.
After all, you can get playful with custom shapes and still retain a traditional business card feel; you could incorporate cut-outs, for example, within the standard rectangular card.
If you’re considering branching out from the norm to really make a statement while designing a business card, an irregular-sized card could be a great option. For instance, you could round the corners for a more friendly and modern-looking business card, or you could choose a completely unique shape that fits your brand!
Honestly, you could really choose anything you want––today’s printing technology allows you to choose any shape and size, and still print in bulk.
Helpful info on business card dimensions
While designing a business card may have many types of creative freedom, there are also some standard dimensions you might want to keep in mind. Having a card that would fit in wallets and pockets would be crucial on a night-out of networking after all.
For instance, did you know that different countries have different standard sizes for business cards?
- North American Standard: 3.5 × 2 in. (88.9 × 50.8 mm)
- European Standard: 3.346 × 2.165 in. (85 × 55 mm)
- Oceania Standard: 3.54 × 2.165 in. (90 × 55 mm)
Pick the right style
There are a lot of elements that go into the style of your business card. Some things to consider are:
- Colour scheme: Does your card match the brand colours on your website, social media, and logo?
- Typeface: If you don’t have a company standard font, it’s important to choose the right one for your business card—a designer can always help you decide. Your font should represent your brand and can leave more of a lasting impression than you might think. Font size is also important. Your name and company name should be the biggest, of course, and nothing should be smaller than 8pt.
- Composition: Is your brand more about minimalism or do you want to convey a certain level of energy through your card? A modern interior designer may opt for a simple black and white card with just the essential information. Meanwhile, childcare workers could embrace bright colours and patterns on their cards.
Use both sides
While all business cards have two sides, it’s not often that they’re both utilised. So how can you make the most of this extra space?
- Make it a dual-purpose card for your customer by giving them space for appointment reminders or loyalty stamps.
- Share something fun about your business––going that extra mile and adding a fun bit of information about the business while designing a business card will make your customers more likely to remember your company and hang onto your card.
- Turn the back of your card into a coupon for 10% or some other perk. Again, this will encourage people to hold onto your card until they need your business.
- Direct people to your social channels––keep the front of the card for essential phone numbers and emails, while links to Instagram and Facebook can be on the back. You could even print a QR code that leads people to your website.
- Turn your card into a magnet, which makes it a lot easier for people to hang on to.
Include the important information
Of course, you’ll be including your company name and an email address on your card. But the rest is up to you—do you want to add all your contact details or keep it simple? Here are some common elements that are included on business cards, it’s up to you what works best for the brand.
- Company name
- Job title
- Phone number
- Social media links
- QR code which links to any of the above
- Address, if you have a physical shopfront or office
- The slogan, which can help with reinforcing your brand identity
Decide on special finishes
Now that your card is taking shape, it’s time to consider special touches you can add to make your business card a little extra memorable. First, start with identifying your brand identity, and find what kind of impact you want your card to have. Then ask yourself which of these effects would suit your brand identity:
Embossing, which involves creating 3D reliefs that make parts of your card (like logo or company name) literally stand out.
Letterpressing, the opposite of embossing, involves pushing the text into the card stock rather than just printing on top. This creates a similar, eye-catching effect.
Foil stamping to make certain parts of your card—often the logo—shiny.
Sleek varnish, which makes your card shiny and glossy instead of a regular card.
Spot UV coating if you only want to make select parts of your card shiny. You can apply a gloss on only your logo, specific graphics, or even a word or phrase.
Need help designing your business card?
Business cards aren’t as simple as they once were. It’s often the first introduction a potential customer has to your brand and serves as an ongoing representation of your company, so it’s important to get them right.
Are you looking for guidance with a business card or any other marketing design? We provide creative work for small companies, working with you from start to finish to ensure your vision comes to light.
Check out our design services to see how a Design Buffs professional designer can help improve your brand identity, from designing a business card to reworking your style guidelines.