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What Not To Do When Designing Business Cards

Business cards are an essential aspect of pretty much every business. Your business card is the first impression that you’ll give to customers and potential business partners. We are living in a digital age, but business cards remain an important part of your business presentation. Here’s what you need to know about what works and what doesn’t work in business card design.

Don’t Be Unprofessional 

If you’re on the fence about a playful card or one that is a bit more serious, it is usually best to err on the side of being more serious. When you are designing your signs, brochures, and other marketing material, you can certainly have fun with it, but when it comes to your business card, it should seem professional. 

After all, the purpose of a business card is to clearly distinguish your business and provide clear contact information. It should not try to do too much more than that, or it could be confusing.

Don’t Blend in With the Crowd

There are all kinds of very affordable ways to make business cards with free design templates. Many small businesses trying to save some money may take advantage of one of these services. 

However, with so many businesses using such templates, all of the cards start to blend together. An important part of designing a business card is to make your brand memorable in the minds of your consumer, so a business card that blends in with your competition is a serious disadvantage.

Choose a skilled graphic designer to build a business card for you that is completely distinct.

Don’t Sacrifice Readability 

It’s important that your business card lines up with your brand, but it also has to be very clear and legible. It is usually best to choose a high contrast between the text and background, like black and white. There is some debate about which fonts are the most readable, but in general, don’t use anything too ornate or stylized. 

You can incorporate your brand color and logo into the card, but you usually won’t want to make substantial parts of the card your brand colors unless they can offer high contrast. 

The font is also very important. Use your brand font in the name and logo, but also be sure the name of your company is clearly described and straightforward in easy to read text. 

Don’t Overuse Visuals

Occasionally a visual other than your logo will be appropriate for your business card, depending on what your business is. However, most of the time, excess visuals aren’t desirable. Under no circumstances should you use a visual that does not clearly and directly relate to your business purpose or brand. If you do choose to use a visual, your graphic designer will make one that is simple, straightforward, and makes a clear connection to what you do.

Avoid Glossy Coating 

You may think that a laminated or glossy type of coating is a good idea for your business card since it makes it more water-resistant. You don’t want your business card to be destroyed, so choosing a water-resistant card may seem logical. 

However, laminated cards have some serious downsides. The slick material looks and feels less quality, so your business will be associated with a lower quality product. Furthermore, the reflective material makes it harder for you to read the business card, especially in bright light, which is clearly a less-than-desirable outcome. 

Finally, people like to write notes about a company on the business card. A glossy coating makes that much more difficult or impossible.

Stick To Standard Sizing

There are a whole lot of options out there when it comes to choosing what size you want your business card to be, from extra small, to square, to oversized. However, even though some of these options seem cool and different, and you might even think they’ll make your card stand out, it’s best to avoid them. They usually end up being harder for people to hold on to, because they don’t fit into standard cardholders, so you run the risk of people losing your card before they even get to use it. 

Don’t Put Too Much Information On It 

You don’t want your business card to end up looking like an overly small brochure. Your business card is meant to inform and help your customer to remember your business, not be an advertisement in and of itself. 

Also, avoid providing information about anything that might change. As a rule of thumb, you don’t want to put information about your office hours, extensive lists of services, discount codes or coupons, or anything else that will distract from the direct contact information. A logo and a tagline are okay, but you really don’t want to go further than that in advertising or describing your business on your business card.

Don’t Forget to Balance Content and White Space

You may be surprised by just how challenging it is to make the information that you need to present look good on a business card. A skilled graphic designer knows how to balance the font size and any logos or visuals that you want to include with white space to present an overall appealing look on your business card. A well-balanced business card will catch the eye and look very appealing, making it more likely that your customer will remember you and do so with a positive connection. On the other hand, it will use space well to be clearly legible.  

Do It Yourself or Hire a Graphic Designer?

Designing a business card is often one of the first things that you do when you start a business. It can be tempting to save yourself as many expenses as possible at this early stage in the business. 

However, this is not somewhere that you want to skimp on costs. Your business card is a tangible personification of your business. It is one of the first and most essential elements to building your brand. 

Therefore, you want to be sure that your business card is perfect right from the beginning. Furthermore, you’ll want a graphic designer to help you develop the rest of the important elements of your branding, including other hard copy materials like brochures and digital material like your website and social media feeds. 

Establishing a strong brand is one of the most important parts of developing your business, so hiring a graphic designer to make sure that your business card is in line with your brand is a good idea.

What to Do When Designing Business Cards

Here are a few of the things that your graphic designer will do to make sure your business cards are very attractive while still being reasonably affordable for your start-up business:

  • Quality paper and presentation. Your graphic designer will use a good matte paper that stands up to some abuse but won’t cost your business too much. They will present the information on that card in a way that looks good even at a distance.
  • Attractively branded. Your graphic designer won’t just make sure that your business card carries your branding; they’ll ensure that branding is very attractive and that the card is clearly legible.
  • Delivers your values. It can be hard to decide what tagline or mission statement should go on the card or whether you should even include this kind of information. Your graphic designer can help you decide how best to deliver your values on your business card.

Get Started Building a Great Business Card 

If you are ready to get started on a business card that represents your business well, contact a quality graphic designer to help you. You may be surprised by just how affordable and easy it is to create a stunning business card that will make a great impression on your customers. 


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