Humans are visual creatures. Consequently, corporate logos, branding and packaging design are incredibly important components of a thriving business. Effective, attractive corporate design elements are instantly recognizable, and they convey more than a company or brand name; these elements must also represent the psychological,
emotional and functional information that their distributor wishes to convey. Business cards are a crucial element here; they’re inexpensive, portable and are an indispensable part of successful advertising and networking campaigns. Logo and website design can make or break an organization. The following hints will help your business cards be all they can be.
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Vector graphics can be resized without compromising image resolution. This is the easiest way to ensure that design elements appear exactly the same on business cards, letterhead, and other materials.
Get rid of that rectangle. Try out some different shapes and sizes, such as a perfect square, a rhombus, or a triangle. This is a fantastic way to grab attention, even when crowded on a bulletin board amidst many other business cards. Business cards that are larger than the standard size or have a novel shape may not easily slip into a wallet or a business card case; this is actually a positive, because this special handling keeps the card (and the company it represents) in the consciousness of its recipient.
Use pop-up elements. Cards that feature this technique are distributed flat, but have a perforated portion that can be punched out and folded up, similar to a paper doll. Pop-ups provide a fun user experience and are particularly effective when used with photographs or drawings of people or animals. Stick to one pop-up per design and use very thick stock that won’t tear.
Consider a card that doubles as a toy. This can get expensive, but it’s a real show-stopper. Order cards printed on very thick stock or lightweight, flexible plastic, and include origami instructions on the cards themselves. A plain rectangle can become a work of art: an airplane, a frog, or almost anything else! For maximum impact, the company name should still be visible after folding.
Effective business cards may double as useful, everyday items. Stay away from promotional mugs, calendars, and notepads and choose an item that’s a bit more unusual. For example, consider customized packets of sugar or powdered coffee creamer. Stick with bold, clean lines and avoid fussy, detailed artwork.
Use materials that reflect a specific product or service in an unusual way. A lumber company or furniture salesperson might consider using weathered, reclaimed wood stamped with the relevant contact information; a clothes shop or seamstress might fashion business “cards” out of stamped or embroidered cloth. The options are almost limitless. For best results, keep each piece no larger than an average, rectangular business card; if using a heavier material (for example, flat stones), make it smaller. Be sure to sand off any rough or sharp edges!
Create an incredible, edible business card using bananas and a rubber stamp with food-safe ink. This couldn’t be easier: just stamp the peel. For best results, use a long, narrow design that travels down the length of the banana. Keep a bowl of these tasty advertisements in high-traffic areas: waiting rooms, fair booths, conference rooms, job sites, or anywhere they’ll be seen before they grow mushy and turn brown.
Wearable business card buttons and pins are eye-catching and distinctive. Buttons are usually inexpensive and can be ordered online or at stationery stores. They should be large enough to properly display the company name, motto, logo and/or other information, but not so huge that they resemble giant pinwheel-style lollipops (unless, of course, you’re selling pinwheels or lollipops!). Pins should be small enough to be worn on a jacket lapel.
Invest in quality photography. The photo used on a business card should enhance the professional appearance of the card, not detract from it. Landscapes and floral designs are very popular; however, indiscriminately placing text on a busy background obscures the printed information and appears sloppy. Less is often more; use art or photographs that have interesting borders, but keep the middle of the card much more simple so the text doesn’t have to compete with graphics.
Don’t combine elaborate fonts with busy art. All text must be easily and quickly readable; if the viewer needs to squint to make out the words, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Complicated fonts are best paired with simple backgrounds; a textured cardstock and simple border can add interest without overwhelming the text. Conversely, a busy background requires a bold, clear font that grabs the reader’s attention immediately. Make the card even more effective by using pairs of contrasting colors, such as purple/green or orange/blue. Another beautiful and effective combination is chocolate brown/ light blue.
One final word about text. Resist the urge to cram your business card with every bit of contact information you have. Do your associates really need your three phone numbers, two email addresses, instant messaging handle and company street address? No. Include your name, email address and one phone number, but replace the other clutter with a website address. If someone really needs your second-string fax number, they can look it up online.