by Joanne Gore
I remember the very first business card I ever had. It was produced as part of a school project (I studied Graphic Design in College) and, in addition to our business card, we also had to develop letterhead and envelopes. Granted in today’s business landscape, many companies no longer concern themselves with stationery. They can simply print it out on the fly as required.
But the business card. That 2 x 3 ½ inch piece of cardstock that contains your very own name and how to connect with you. THAT has not disappeared.
According to one printer’s website (greatfxprinting.com), “Bearer cards, calling (or “visiting” cards), and trade cards were the three main predecessors that turned into our modern system of exchanging business introductions.”
There are companies that do nothing BUT print business cards (moo.com anyone?). And there are companies that have been producing cards, as well as the full suite of corporate stationery, for decades. And whether you choose to order your cards online, through your local printer, or even produce them yourself, remember its objective: To make a great first impression and help other people connect with you.
So what makes a card stand out?
- How does it feel in your hand? The worst thing, in my opinion, is to receive a card that is printed on such a lightweight stock that it practically wilts. You want nice, sturdy stock that has substance and just feels good. It may be velvety smooth or filled with texture. Cards that actually make a person take a second look when it’s placed in their hand are clear winners!
- Perfect finishing. You’ve all seen them. The business card with a square shape drawn on it right near the edges of the card. You can see in an instant if that card was cut crooked. Although there is always a chance when trimming to such small dimensions, companies with designs that emphasize this attribute must be made aware of the risk and choose to take their chances. Or, they can simply redo the artwork so the box is closer to the middle. If they choose the former, they need an experienced, reliable printer capable of handling the challenge. And yes, it just may likely cost more. Isn’t your first impression worth it?
- Crisp, clean edges. If a card has a solid background and you keep it in your wallet in your back pocket, the ink will rub off over time, no matter how light. A worn-out/faded background, and/or frayed edges, makes business cards look old. It makes it seem as if you have not had to hand one out for a very long time.
- Font size. If you have to strain your eyes to see a number or, as in my case, you have to ask your child to clarify if what you’re looking at is a 6 or an 8, then your card will not be able to do its job. Name, phone number and email address need to be easy to find and be easy to read. Don’t sacrifice this for some designer’s attempt at being “creative”.
- Did you honestly think I wouldn’t say design? Design is the ultimate wild card in the deck! Because if the card is superbly designed, but produced on flimsy stock because it was 5 cents cheaper per card, then it won’t matter. You’ve already left an impression that you’re not worth the investment.
Over the years, I’ve worked with a variety of companies, both in and out of the Print Industry and, primarily, in the technology sector. No matter how large or small the company, each spent money printing business cards. Unfortunately, not all recognized their true value.
So tell me, what does your business card say about you?
Joanne Gore is the Director of Marketing for Avanti (www.avantisystems.com) and has over twenty years of B2B marketing and communications experience. She graduated as a Graphic Designer and, prior to joining the corporate world, worked in the print industry as an art director, typesetter, and printing consultant. Joanne is a marketing geekette by day, a fitness instructor by night, and a mom 24-7.