Starting a Business?
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Designing a Business Card

You can’t change a first impression after the fact, so make sure your business card shows who you are as a business owner: professional, reliable and trustworthy.

Having a professional-looking business card can mean the difference between getting new customers and getting thrown in the trash. Both design and printing services are much more affordable these days, so explore your options to come up with the best looking card you can get.

DIY or Hire a Designer?

If funds are tight, you can design a simple business card yourself with services like Design Your Own Card and VistaPrint. You can use existing templates that relate to your business (if you own a landscaping service, you could use a card that has grass across the bottom) or create your own in a graphic design program.

Even designers are affordable these days, with collective design sites like 99Designs giving small business owners the chance to get designs from multiple designers for a low price, then select the one they want to use.

Freelancers and design firms also offer quality business card designs, although they may be the most expensive option. Get a quote from several designers whose work you like, and ask how many rounds of changes that includes. If you don’t like the initial look, you don’t want to have to pay each time you want something tweaked.

Elements to Consider

While some elements are discretionary when it comes to your card, others are necessities:

  • Contact information: The purpose of your business card is to provide an easy way for others to contact you. Your name, email, web address and phone number are a must, while fax, address and social media links are optional.
  • Company logo: You’re branding yourself through your business card, so it’s important to have your logo prominent on the card. Make sure it’s professional, and that you have a high resolution image that will print clearly.
  • Tagline or Services Listed: You want to give people an idea of what you do. If your company is called T&R Associates, it can be difficult to figure out from the name what your specialty is. Use a tagline or brief description of services or products to clarify.

Design Tips

Most people opt for the traditional sized business cards, but others who go with out-of-the-ordinary shapes and sizes tend to get more compliments on their cards. The more unique it is, the more people will remember your brand.

Zazzle and Moo offer skinny cards, which are sized at 1”x3”. These make quite an impression as they’re still relatively rare at business events. Even turning your card with the narrower side horizontal can help you stand out in a sea of business cards.

Other options include cards shaped like objects that relate to your brand. If you sell astronomy equipment, a star-shaped card will get attention. Some cards fold out to offer more details on your business.

Don’t overcrowd your card with too many details; you want people to contact you or visit your website for more information. Too much info can be confusing and annoying.

Get Ready to Print

When printing, opt for a heavier weight paper. The thinner (and cheaper) business cards are, the more disposable they are. Also consider other materials, such as metal or plastic, for more attention.

Whether you choose matte or glossy finish is up to you. If you run a law firm, you may feel like a matte card evokes more regal and upscale feelings, while an ecommerce company may like the zing and color pop that a glossy card provides. If you’re working with a professional print firm, you can ask its advice on what type of paper is best for your card.

Keep the font consistent on the card, and don’t forget that you have two sides to your card! You might provide a calendar or bulleted features on your company on one side, and contact information on the other.

Proofread your business card template before sending it to the printers. There’s nothing worse than having 10,000 cards with your name misspelled! And consider getting lower quantities printed if there is the likelihood that any of your contact information, job title or other details could change in the next year or two.

Keep a digital copy of your card template readily available so you can modify it for new employees and make changes as needed. Once you find a printer who does a great job on the cards, ask him to keep the print file on hand too to ensure that the next time you order, you get the exact colors and quality you did with the originals.

Starting a Business?
Join Docstoc's 100% Free Quick-Launch Guide to Starting a Business! Curated Exclusively by the Editors of Docstoc