Creating A Professional Business Card
f there is anything I learned from Ariana Grande's hit single “7 Rings”, it’s that your recipes should look like phone numbers and your black credit card is your business card.
Don’t worry, you read that correctly and you are in the right spot. We have all been to networking events and met someone in our field with awesome business cards. You either grab your own card with confidence, or say you forgot your card because you’re intimidated.
We all have some desire to make a lasting impression on our industry and clients, which is why it’s important to have a business card that gives you that confident first impression. Let’s delete your intimidation and create a professional business card you’ll be proud to hand out.
Are You On The List?
If you think amazing business cards just pop out of thin air, you’re mistaken. Something I practice project-to-project is understanding we have to be patient and do things the right way. Before you start working on your business card, you will need the following:
- Brand Logo
- Color Palette
- Professional Email
- Social Media
- Patterns & Other Branding Elements (Optional)
Without these 5 things we will not be able to follow the next steps. If you have any questions about creating a logo for your business or the essentials of starting a small business, please refer to my previous posts for more information.
Think. Create. Execute. Repeat.
If you’re creating it, you have to think about it. There are no exceptions in the creative industry. I have come across a handful of businesses who are not intentional with their brand. I want you to be different! How? Practice thinking before doing. Too many times have we spent our time doing and not liking the end result. Think about what you want. Create a plan of action. Execute that plan. This the key to running a business with confidence.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What do I want people to think/feel when they receive my card?
- What am I trying to communicate or sell to them?
- How can I make this card memorable?
Copy and paste those questions into your notes. Answer them. Live by them.
Budgeting Is Important
You have to spend money to make money. That is the reality of owning a business. If you cut corners and refuse to pay creatives and other businesses your business will look free.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How much am I willing to pay?
- How much can I afford?
- How many business cards am I expecting?
- Who is going to create my business cards?
- How much do they charge?
- Does their rate include printing?
- How have they created cards in the past?
Be honest and consult with someone if you don’t know.
Choose Your Shape
Now you know what you want. It’s time to decide the shape of your card. Why? Because size matters when referring to business cards.
Your business card is meant to fit the mold of your brand. As technology grows there are a variety of ways to present yourself. You have the option to stick with the traditional business card dimensions or do a custom shape. Here is a list of different shapes you can choose from.
Rectangle (3.5” x 2”)
You will find most people have a rectangle shape and don't reinvent the wheel. There isn’t anything wrong with a rectangular business card. If you’re scared of being considered traditional there are a variety of ways to spice things up. Try a vertical version of this.
Square (2.5” x 2.5”)
The shape of your card says a lot about your brand. Especially when you think outside of the box. A square business card is another popular choice. One thing to take into consideration is these cards typically won’t fit in wallets or pockets. However, they will make an impression and set you apart.
Custom (shape varies)
Custom business cards are less popular because they’re more difficult and require higher budget and a designer. Money shouldn’t stop you from having the best business card in town. If you want a custom cut shape explore that idea! You have to love your card more than the person receiving it. SKY'S THE LIMIT (Seriously).
Choose Your Corner
You deserve appreciation for your business cards. Think about the subtle little details that make a lasting impression. Your cards have the option of being traditional or different. Which one fits your brand?
There is nothing wrong with a 90° angle. In fact my business cards have sharp corners. Depending on the shape and size of the card, you can have a minimalistic look or even a dynamic look.
Word on the street is rounded corners are easier on the eye than sharp corner shapes. Research has shown the sharper the space, the more vivid it appears. Since sharp corners are softer it makes information easier to process,
This is just food for thought. As a designer, these are the things I think about.
Choose Your Layout
This is the underdog of the entire business card process. Remember your name, title, and social media? That all has to be placed in a layout. Having a specific layout in mind before creating will save you a million hours of creating. There is a list of ways to layout your business cards. Here are the main 3 you can choose from:
You’re reading this blog post left to right. As you do anything you read because everyone reading English reads left to right! Having your information justified left helps people read your information faster.
This is purely an aesthetic choice. As a symmetrical addict you will find most things I create are centered. If you’re like me, you will most likely want your information organized in the middle or justified center.
This is reserved for brands that want to change the game with a dynamic layout. Think about how many cards you have seen with the information to the right.
Choose Your Style
You can organize your content in a modern or minimalistic look, or your content can be scattered for a dynamic look. What style is your brand calling?
Having organized business cards can be described as clean, minimalistic, put together, or even well-thought out.
This style is a dynamic approach that will feel intentionally disorganized.
Say Your Name, Say Your Name
Once you have given this card some thought you can start making choices that go into your card. What do you want to tell them? Who do you want to be? What do they need to know?
First & Last Name
I don’t know who needs to hear this but please don’t forget to add your name to your business card. You would be very surprised by the amount of business cards I find with misspelled names, no names, etc.
Another business card standard is your job title. If you have a business card we are expecting to know what you do. Now, you have the choice to come up with a fancy job title or use a standard title. Your business card serves as a mini reminder of who you are and what you do. Create a job title that is memorable or easily recognizable. If you decide to create a unique name, remember to use words that peak interest. For example: Brand Architect, Brand Designer, Visual Translator, or Brand Magician are a few I considered.
Whenever people ask me for my social media handle I literally have the same name everywhere. I want to stress having a consistent name on every platform. Having this consistent name gives your business card a cleaner look. On my card it says @Boujivisionary. Why? Because you can type that in on any platform and I will come up. Your brand should be set up the same way.
Your business cards are meant to show how easy it is to access you. Try creating a new email for your business. You can either get an email with Gmail or you can sign up for G Suite to get a fancy email with your domain included. Mine is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unless you have a business phone I do not recommend giving out your personal number. Personally, I feel it’s hard to have boundaries in your life if people are always calling or texting you. If you feel otherwise, add your phone number but be aware that anyone will have the option to call you. Personally I prefer if people email me because I have the option to filter conversations and have control over my time.
This is self-explanatory! I wouldn’t recommend putting your home address on your card. If you have a P.O box, co-working space, or brick and mortar this is a smart addition. What if someone wants to send you a surprise PR package?
You have put in the thought, you made your choices, now it’s finally time to get creative. This is the point in the process where you can either create your own business cards or communicate the choices you have made with a designer. Here are a list of resources you can utilize to get your business cards:
DIY Business Cards
If you feel up to the task, you can cut costs and create your own business cards. You can even produce your own physical copies. You will need the right paper, printer, and design software to fulfill this task. Do your research because business cards are not created on a standard piece of paper.
Printing companies like Smart Press have their own design department, allowing you to pass all this information to someone who can create the card for you. This option will save you time because they have the full package.
You can choose to work with local creatives like myself to create your business cards. Normally production cost isn't included. I, on the other hand, include the cost of production in my pricing. So when you work with me I create, send the finished product to print, and then deliver it to you. You don’t even have to lift a finger, all you have to do is say yes or no.
Fall In Love With Confidence
Let’s create a new generation of business owners who are intentional about the way we market ourselves. I always talk about the importance of branding and I mean every word. Your business deserves to be successful! Give it the presence you deserve with a stellar business card. Get ready to network with confidence!