Business cards are an extension of your branding, lending potential clients your information in a memorable package. While business cards are usually an afterthought for conventions, business cards should be seen as small, personal advertisements for your company. I believe that an effective business card clearly answers the following three questions in order:
- What do you do?
- How do I contact you?
- Who are you?
What Do You Do Exactly?
The main focus of your business card is to quickly (think a millisecond glance) communicate your company’s service or product. While an effective logo and/or descriptive company name can help with recognition, a name like “SunTech” does little to elicit a core purpose. Since most company names do not fully communicate their core service, these three devices are usually employed to help with recognition:
- Taglines add a creative summary of your core services
- Photography / Illustration of your core services for a fast visual comprehension
- Media changes from the standard sized paper card can add instant appeal and create a memorable business card.
A note on changing the media – while it makes your business card stand out, it also limits the use as the 2.5 x 3” business cards are standardized to fit into wallets and Rolodex for later retrieval.
How Do I Contact You?
There is a wealth of contact information that you can present to a viable customer including phone numbers, toll free numbers, cell numbers, fax numbers, physical addresses, emails, websites, and social media accounts. Unfortunately, business cards are small and space is precious. Usually a main phone number (local or toll free) along with an email address provides the two optimal venues of communication. Contact information should be legible (larger than 6 point type) and easily located.
Who Are You?
With business card in hand, your potential client is looking to contact YOU, and probably needs a little memory jogger as to your name. Your business card should clearly display your name along with your position within the company for reference. Some industries, like real estate which depend on personal connections, also include portraits to aid in further visual recognition.
Other Design Considerations
While a business card is a great place to showcase creativity and design, keep in mind that the three main questions must be answered legibly. Black text on a white background has the highest contrast. Also san serif (no feet) fonts reproduce better at smaller point sizes.
Finally, the back of your business card can be seen in one of two lights:
- A blank space to write notes or leave a personal message
- A venue to review services or have larger graphics
How you decide to use the back of your business card will have more to do with your particular business and contact goals, but keep in mind that the back of your card can also reinforce and answer the three questions addressed above for maximum effectiveness.