At Headline Printers, we’ve been creating business cards for nearly 40 years. A lot has changed over that time, but one thing that’s kept pride of place in any self-respecting set of business stationery is the business card.
But just because business cards are a traditional way of networking and marketing your business, doesn’t mean you need a conventional design.
We’re exploring the diverse designs, sizes, shapes, print techniques, finishes and distribution methods that are out there.
We’ll also show you how you can use established business card conventions, or depart from them, to create the ideal card that helps you achieve your goals.
What’s in this article?
- Why business cards are important
- How to create an effective business card design
- What business card design ideas could I use?
- What paper types and textures can be used for business cards?
- How to distribute business cards
Why business cards are important
The online world offers new and exciting opportunities to reach out and make contacts in the business world.
But while digital solutions can support your networking strategy, there are plenty of things that print can do that online can’t.
Let’s explore some why anyone looking to grow their business should never be without a stack of business cards.
Help open and close deals using business card etiquette
Digital channels are great for maintaining business relationships and developing ongoing partnerships. Where they’re not so effective, is in the two most vital moments during the deal-making process – opening conversations and closing the deal.
According to a Forbes and Oxford Economics Study, 40% of prospects become new customers through face-to-face meetings. These business encounters always tend to bear more fruit because they’re about building trust.
In a first contact situation, a business card establishes you as a genuine figure in your industry and set the tone for how your companies will work together. If you can get yourself in front of your prospects, this is a vastly more credible opener than a simple LinkedIn request.
Business cards smooth the onboarding process, as colleagues from either side of the table are introduced to one another.
In a blog piece where we asked Are Business Cards Still Important?, we take a more detailed look at why business cards can become your most effective networking tool.
Cost-effective and a handy marketing tool
Perhaps the most compelling business case for business cards is that they have the potential to pay for themselves many times over.
When the unit cost on business cards is pennies, but the contacts they make are priceless, that’s a compelling return on investment that no businessperson is going to turn down.
Even if business cards aren’t a sales tool in some industries, they’re still a convention. In any number of business scenarios, it will be expected of you to pull out a business card. And if you’re presented with a card and you don’t have one to exchange in return — your credibility could be compromised.
Business cards are also a handy mobile marketing tool. They’re the perfect size to carry, contain the essential contact information your clients need to keep in touch with you and can display your company logo and branding.
All these attributes and more are explored in our blog piece about 10 advantages of business cards.
How to create an effective business card design
You know you need them, and you know what content you’d like to include. Now it’s time to get creative with business cards design.
There are many elements to consider when you come to create your design. Some will be fixed, such as the business card design conventions of your industry. Others will already be in place, but within your power to develop – such as your company logo and brand style.
Basics of what to include on your business card
Starting with the basics, it’s important to be considerate of the person on the receiving end. Make sure your business card includes everything your contact needs to take away with them in practical terms.
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- How will they get back to you?
- What site can they visit to get more information?
Even before considerations of creativity, branding and personality, these basics must be in place. For a more comprehensive list of things to include, visit our 15 tips for business cards.
Using different business card dimensions
You’ll need to establish the size of your business cards and their shape. These are governed by a set of conventions to an extent, but there’s no harm in taking a step outside of these where appropriate.
The Solopress business card size guide is to go-to resource for the options you have to choose from when printing. We offer the following dimensions.
Standard Business Cards: 85 x 55mm
These classic dimensions are a safe bet, especially in traditional sectors where a formal business card is expected of you.
Mini Business Cards: 85 x 25mm
These dimensions create a landscape strip that offers just enough space to include all your vital info, without taking up too much room.
Square Business Cards: 55 x 55mm
For a modern take on a time-honoured piece of print, go for square business cards that mark you out as a progressive, creative enterprise.
American Business Cards: 89 x 51mm
Slightly longer and thinner, these cards are the norm in the USA. If you’re doing business stateside, these will fit right in.
Long Business Cards: 90 x 55mm
These statement cards are standard height but extended by about half an inch. They’ll stand out among other business cards, although they may not be appropriate for traditional sectors such as finance or law.
Business card layouts
Once the size of business cards is established, you can think about what goes where in the space. This is where you can really get to work experimenting with different colours, fonts, wording and layout.
Check out How to design a business card for an in-depth, step-by-step guide. Here are some of the options we offer.
One option that lets you really stretch the boundaries is folded business cards. By introducing a fold, suddenly you have four ‘pages’ to work with. Capitalise on the increased surface area with added content and imagery.
Business cards are regular rectangles, right? Not necessarily… Try taking the edge off with our rounded corner business cards. Not only will they give you a fresh and unconventional look, they slide easily in and out of wallets and are less likely to become scuffed over time.
What business card design ideas could I use?
We’ve discussed how it’s often helpful for business cards to abide by certain conventions, but they also need to be striking and stand out. They’re a piece of brand marketing after all. But what ideas can we embrace to create impressive and unique business cards?
Yours can take inspiration from the 7 business card ideas in our blog, but here’s a rundown of how some of the business cards options offered at Solopress can spark your creativity.
Making use of colours
Unless your business card design process is part of a wider rebranding exercise, chances are you may already have brand guidelines that you’ll want to follow. Consistency is vital here, as you want the recipients of your business cards to be able to associate what they have in their hand with the brand you represent.
If you’re in the process of establishing the look and feel of your brand, you could try to think of pairs of colours that go together. Even two shades of the same colour, one lighter and one darker, can create a strong and sophisticated look.
The two opposite ends of the scale are worthy of consideration too. A huge variety of colours makes a bold statement, but so does a monochrome approach. Remember to consider the kind of energy your brand is trying to project. Consider:
- What approaches are prevalent in your industry?
- Do you want to follow suit or disrupt the field?
- Are you going for a cool and calm design, or busy and vibrant?
Business card imagery
Once you’ve dealt with the all-important content, you may find you have room to feature some imagery in your business card layout. Especially if you’re printing double-sided business cards.
Whether you opt for illustration or photography, it’s vital that the imagery is up to a professional standard. An amateurish caricature or poor photography will make any card look cheap and reflect badly on your business.
Choose high-quality imagery that fits well with your brand.
What paper types and textures can be used for business cards?
Although we’ve touched on how different paper stocks can influence the look and feel of your business cards design, it’s worth a closer look at what makes these stocks different and how they can be used to the greatest effect. We have published a guide to choosing the right type of paper, but let’s have a look at paper types with specific reference to business cards.
Bond paper is generally supplied as an unfinished paper with an absorbent surface, making it ideal for writing on. It gets its name from being the preferred paper type for government bonds and other legal and official documents.
Its strength, ability to hold inks and high-quality finish make it a popular paper choice. However, its uncoated nature can mean that, for business card printing, it may struggle to retain a fresh and flawless appearance over time.
Where bond paper falls down in terms of durability for business card printing, silk boasts a coated finish that helps to keep your business cards pristine.
It’s also a low-cost paper stock, so you get cheap business cards that are long-lasting and have a luxurious feel. It’s no surprise then that silk is the most popular choice for classic business cards.
This paper stock exchanges the smooth, flawless feel of silk for a more natural texture. That’s partly owing to the fact that it is made from recycled material, making it a great choice for the environment.
As a business card material, it is a brilliant platform for bright designs, as well as giving a nod to your eco-friendly credentials.
Brown kraft paper
Kraft paper is also an ecologically-aware choice. It’s 100% recycled and proudly displays its association with all things natural.
The earthy brown colour and homespun texture express the wholesome nature of your business, products or services before you’ve written a word. It’s perfect for enterprises with USPs around ethical or handmade production.
At the other end of the scale, we have gloss paper stocks that appear slick, luxurious and professional.
While lighter grades of gloss paper are ideal for brochure printing, to achieve that shiny, lustrous finish on a business card, choose gloss when ordering laminated business cards.
You can set your business cards apart by changing how they feel in the hand. Different surfaces can be achieved through choosing different finishes, or even textured paper stocks.
Creating a triple layer business card not only increases the thickness to a substantial 810gsm, it also gives you the option of choosing a different coloured card for the central layer. This produces a stylish pinstripe around the edge.
By choosing laminated business cards, you help to protect the card itself while creating the surface texture of your choice. Solopress offers understated matt, high-sheen gloss or tactile velvet soft-touch lamination.
A textured finish doesn’t have to cover the entire surface of the card. With spot UV business cards, you can pick out certain areas, patterns, images or text in a contrasting gloss varnish. As well as the striking appearance this achieves, the gloss areas also produce a contrasting texture under the fingers.
Gold and Silver Foil
In a similar way to spot UV, foil business cards are able to highlight certain areas in your design and bring them to the fore with a distinct metallic shine. We offer a choice of gold, rose gold and silver foil finishes.
An interesting feel can also be achieved by using a paper stock that has been produced to feature its own texture. Our textured dot business cards feature raised dots in a regular pattern across the surface.
Another stock to consider for textured business cards is tweed. This surface of this stock has the look and feel of a woven textile, perfect for fashion and haberdashery, but also any creative industry where you want to show your softer side.
How to distribute business cards
Distribution will be the next thing on your mind as you take delivery of your new business cards. After all, handing over your cards is the ultimate purpose of the exercise.
Our 15 tips for business cards contain helpful insights into how you should take the purpose of your business cards into account when planning, printing and distributing them.
Hand to hand
If your role involves meeting partners such as clients, prospects, suppliers, then handing over your business cards is very much the done thing. You may consider something to store your cards and the cards your receive like a branded, laser engraved card holder.
Trade fairs and exhibitions and networking events provide the perfect opportunity to press your business card into the palms of people that matter within your sector. When you have an event in the calendar, be sure to check stocks and reorder business cards if necessary.
Business cards are a versatile piece of marketing collateral. If you want to boost business by delivering your message door to door, your business card can easily double as a flyer.
Part of a pack
When you have more information to pass on to a customer or contact, it’s a good idea to attach your business card to the document you’re handing over. It helps act as a reminder of your contact details and goes alongside any brochures or leaflets that talk more about what you do.
You can even create a bespoke presentation folder with a handy business card slit, to hold your product and contact details in one elegant package.
Whether you’re ready to push the button, or you’d like to pick our brains on the best options for you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.