Your Business Card - Your Company's Most Visible Asset
Your business card is the front line in your company's identity. It's the first thing you hand a potential client, it's the thing they will keep the longest, and it's the thing you always need to have on hand. So what makes for a good business card? There are a dizzying array of options out there. Let's talk about a few characteristics.
There are several paper options available. Most commonly, you'll find card stock that is either flat or UV coated (glossy). Getting your card UV coated usually doesn't cost any extra, but gives it a thicker feel. This can give the appearance of handing someone a more substantial card. Sometimes, however you'll come across "linen" or "laid" paper. This is paper that has a texture to it, and can provide a classier feel.
You can create a full color business card, or one with only a few colors. For normal printing processes, a full color card is no different in cost. I'm a big fan of full color. I like to use photos sometimes. Look at this example from a jewelry broker I know. The image is eye catching, and always elicits a "wow" from people he hands it to. This card showcases his product, leaving no question as to what he sells.
Adding a photo of yourself to your card is a great way to help people remember you. Often, if you go to a networking event you end up with so many cards that when you get back to your office. You can't figure out who was who. The photo solves this issue. I see this a lot in the real estate industry, but it can translate to any other industry as well. My insurance agent's card is shown at right.
One option many people use is to leave the back of their card blank or uncoated. This allows you to write information on it, which increases the likelihood that it will be saved. I know people that purposely leave their cell phone number or email address off the card, so they can write the information on it. This makes the card more valuable to the recipient. They feel like they really have something special. Sometimes doctors or physical therapists will use the back for an area to write appointment dates. One of the most clever uses I've seen is to use the back as an area to give other people's information as a referral. This is especially useful for well connected individuals that serve as the resource person for their contacts.
Instead of full color printing, one can also choose thermography. In this process, a powder is added to the ink on the paper, then heated. When dried, it results in text that is raised off the card, which gives a classier feel as well. In this process, the number of colors does matter.
My business card is shown below. I opted for two sided glossy on thick card stock. I wanted to give the impression of a hefty business card when I hand it to someone. I also chose to make the logo very large on the front, to make it easily recognizable. On the back, I included some of my products and services. I find that often when I hand it to someone, they ask me what I do, then instinctively turn it over and say "Oh there it is!"
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the options for business cards. There is a near infinite list of options, including plastic cards, rounded corners, cut outs, odd shapes, spot gloss, and more. However, my goal was to educate you on some of the more common options to keep in mind when designing your own card.
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