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The Elements of a Perfect Business Card

Whether you’re a pastry chef, content manager, or freelance circus performer, a business card is an invaluable tool to stay in touch with potential clients.

While a poorly designed business card is not as bad as frantically scribbling down your name and number on a post-it, it certainly doesn’t help your image.

Think of it this way: would you trust a bank website that looks like it’s from 2001? Or rather one that has a smooth interface, great copy, gorgeous images and easy-to-find contact info? It’s the same with business cards.

Although not as complex as designing websites, great business cards have their own set of criteria that need to be addressed. Below are some essential elements to keep in mind when creating the perfect business card.

What colours and fonts match your style?

Colors and fonts are absolute game changers in the business card world.

A woman in a red dress certainly holds the attention of onlookers as she passes by. A man wearing a blue shirt looks more trustable than a man wearing black (although if you want to portray a slight edge to your character, black is a bit more “dangerous” than blue).

Certain colors used by fast food brands affect our appetite, explaining the prominent use of red and yellow in their restaurant designs.

Business cards are no different. Colours speak different meanings. For reference, here are some brands and their associated colours:

Black: Powerful

Green: Natural

White: Pure

Red: Attention-grabbing

Yellow: Optimistic

Similarly, fonts evoke their own emotions:

Serif: Traditional, Stable

Sans-serif: Simple, Upfront

Script: Elegant, Feminine

Modern: Intelligent, Stylish

Combine both colours and fonts to evoke the emotions you want. A pastry chef will likely want to choose a predominantly yellow colour scheme and a sans-serif font. An engineer will be better off with a white and black, or blue scheme, along with a modern font.

What Information Should Go on Your Business Card?

What information goes on your business card comes down to how your customers currently contact you and the nature of your profession. A lawyer will not put their Facebook on their business card, and a web developer will not need a fax number on their card.

Phone numbers: These should be kept to a minimum. If you have more than one, they should be clearly labeled. Like a hotline and a landline, or a mobile and landline. Don’t put two landlines or two mobiles as this looks sloppy.

Logo: If you’re a freelancer, you will likely not need a personal logo. If you want to market yourself as a (one-man) agency, or you have a team, a logo is mandatory.

Address: This should only be on your business card if your company has a physical location. Even if you’re a freelancer with an office, it’s not necessary to put your address down, as you don’t rely on foot traffic to bring business.

Email: This can be a standard Gmail if you’re a freelancer, but in almost all cases it is better to have an email attached to a site, even if it’s a personal portfolio site.

Social Media: If it’s relevant to your profession, carefully select which social media sites will help potential clients make a hiring decision. If you’re a photographer, stick with Instagram. If you’re a project manager, keep only your LinkedIn link (use something like bitly.com if the URL is annoyingly long).

Title: Forget “Master Coder” or “Design Superstar”. Keep your title unique, but don’t get ostentatious. “Expert Programmer” and “Digital Artist” are good examples as they make you stand out, but not so much as to make you look obnoxious.

Slogan & Call to Action: These can be quite useful. Slogans help reinforce a brand’s identity, and can make creatives stand out. CTAs can be used to good effect by both individuals and companies. A lawyer can direct a potential client to call by adding, “Get your free consultation by calling us at…” Or, the CTA can be simple: “Call us for bold designs”.

Size of items on card: The more important items on your business card should be bigger than the rest of the information. In most cases, this is the logo, but in other instances it might be a mobile number or your name and title.

Business Card Sizes

As long as it fits in a wallet, you’re fine. Although, for a more precise answer, we would say that the U.S. size (around 89cm by 51cm), the general European dimensions (85cm by 55cm) and the general Asia size (90cm by 54cm) are all acceptable.

Putting it All Together

Finally, once you’ve put all the elements of your perfect card together, do not forget that each item on the card should have a bit of white space around it, as bunching too much data together just looks like a mess. Space everything evenly and give items room to breathe. You will be well on your way to making an impression.

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