It may come as a surprise that, in today’s highly digitized world, business cards are still highly useful networking tools. A good card is like a good suit or even an office: it’s not necessary in the strictest sense of the word, but it signals to other professionals that you’re the genuine article. Your business cards should be an extension of your professional persona, one that reminds the holder of why they got your information in the first place. When tailored to your personal brand, they can be a gateway for professional opportunities. For such small pieces of paper, business cards carry a lot of weight. Here are some tips to help you get the right print.
Don’t Skimp on the Stock
One of the easiest ways a print shop can make business cards more affordable is by reducing the thickness, or stock, of the paper used. While fiscal responsibility is always an important principle in business, this is one area where you shouldn’t cut corners. It’s more than a piece of paper; it’s a lasting reminder of that first impression. A flimsy piece of paper sends the signal that the professional it represents is flimsy, too. You want to convey success with your card, even if you’re just getting started.
The standard size is 2 inches by 3.5 inches-stick with that. A lot of people these days are trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to size and shape, making pieces that are bigger, smaller, circular, etc. While these might be memorable, they’re also likely to get cut if they don’t fit neatly into a wallet or holder.
Include a Visual Cue
Your card should remind the holder of who you are and link back to some memory of where and why they got your info. If you or your company has a pattern or color scheme, incorporate that. If you are in a business where you trade on your personality (salesmen, attorneys, realtors, etc.), it’s a good idea to include a photo of your smiling face in order to convey the winning personality that has made you a success!
Keep it Simple
Even with a photo or color scheme that serves as a visual cue, don’t over-complicate things. Your business cards represent you; they don’t speak for you. You don’t want something that requires people to search for the information they need. Ultimately, the information should be quick and accessible so that the holder can contact you, not get caught up in the paper.
This one is optional and, admittedly, a bit more expensive. But it’s worth it in certain contexts. If you attend networking events where people trade their info left and right, something that stands out sensually can make a huge difference. If a potential client has 20-plus cards, the feeling of that raised text as they leaf through could make the difference between a connection and the recycling bin.