Aug 30, 2011

What makes a good business card?

Any established entity (or individual) should have a good business card. This small piece of paper plays many important roles – its design/look undoubtedly gives people an impression of you & your company, and it’s also the takeaway that says “let’s talk.”

Being part graphic design firm means we’re always designing (and redesigning) business cards. Our designers have tons of experience in this sector – from the initial design, to choosing the appropriate paper type, to coordinating with the printer.

With that said, here are some tips from our professionals on what really makes a strong (read: good) business card.

It includes the essential basics.

The card is not cluttered, it ties into and is consistent with the company’s style/look, it includes the logo for identity purposes and, most importantly, has all main points of contact.

It has notable design.

All business cards don’t necessarily have to be eye catching, but a little extra oomph goes a long way. Depending on what the company/ business’s identity pieces (website, color scheme, font, logo, design) look like allows you to get creative with the design.
For example, see the business card for Statlink Systems below. As you can see, the company’s colors are orange and two shades of gray. The bright colored full bleed on one side makes the card animated. For the contact side of the card, the large shape and its sharp edges naturally draw the eye. This shape is actually the box and arrow character in Statlink’s logo blown up.
click to enlarge
It's playful.
Don’t get crazy, but something that makes a business card unique can also be the type of paper it's printed on or the way it’s cut. 

This business card for One Beale isn’t colorful, but it’s different from other business cards because of its textured paper. 

And, Paradigm's own business cards have two rounded edges instead of the usual four pointed edges. The key is to still keep it professional looking, which brings us to our next point...

It doesn't stand out, nor blend in.
A business card is professional because it’s consistent with the rest of the company/business, meaning you don’t have to guess who the person is affiliated with. Business cards look sloppy when contact info is spread all over. We like to often justify the text on the card left or right because it looks more orderly than centered type does. Also, having a double sided business card is important, simply because you always know whose card it is whichever way it faces.

We hope this helps a bit when you’re thinking of how you want your business card to look (and what you want it to actually do). 
...And for the love of God, don’t use  a blown up photo of your face, tye-dye background, or zig-zag edges. Remember that, also.