Your Business Card – Your Brand

April 7, 2009 by  Filed under: Branding 

As a person who has spent many years networking I have collected many hundreds of business cards from all over the world. I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly.

Business cards are an important reflection of your brand. It is often the very first thing that others may see from your business. You hand them out daily to people who ask for them and those who don’t. Business cards are important, even if you are not working, it is a valuable tool to have with you. Every business card should have all of your contact information on it so that others can follow up with you.

I had the opportunity to sit down with a gentleman who was between jobs, he was seeking some feedback from me and wanted to make contacts that might lead him to a new position. We had a great conversation and I was very interested in being able to help him. At the end of our conversation when it was time to part I asked for his card so that I could follow up and connect him should I meet anyone who needed his expertise. He did not have one, I had no way to follow up with him or to connect others to him. My recommendation, get a card made. Even if you are unemployed, your business card is important.

As I have spent years networking and looking at cards I can tell you there are good ones and there are bad ones. I have seen some beautiful cards that are 4 color and stunningly beautiful, but I am completely unreadable. While others have been 2 color with a sharp logo and beautiful type that makes it easy to read.

Here are 7 business card tips to consider when designing your cards.

1. Boring black and white – One of the nicest cards that I was given recently was a black and white, but with a surprise of just a splash for beautiful red on it. It was memorable, like the black and white photos with a splash of color in it. It is a great card, simple but it standouts. Black and white cards with nothing more than the name, address and phone number does not represent you and your business well. These are often lost in the stack of slick 4 color cards. Spend a little more and add a little color to your card, even if you are unemployed and looking for work you want your card to stand out a little.

2. I have picked up or been given cards that have overwhelmed me and just trying to read them has given me a headache. There is so much going on graphically that the information on the card is lost, or there is so much information that it is hard to spot the contact information. Or the cards graphics are so beautiful but the font is completely unreadable.

3. The font is to small. As we age our eye sight begins to get a little worse. Reading becomes more difficult. Business people think that they must put so much information on the card that they make the font smaller and smaller. I was recently given a card that had a very large logo on it, but when I tried to read the email address it was so small that I could not see it. Your Logo is not more important than your contact information, if you want people to follow up with your, make your contact information look important on the card, not an after thought.

4. Out dated photos. This is most often attributed to the Real Estate market, but certainly there are many others who are guilty of this. The photos have not been updated in several years yet the business person keeps using it. Anyone who puts a photo on the card needs to make sure that they keep it updated often.

5. Odd size and odd shape. I like the cards that are a little different in shape and size as long as I can read the information on them.

6. Front and back of the card is used. I think that the front and the back of the card are meant to be used for something. I was at a networking event and met a young lady who had several versions of her business card. On the back of each of her cards was a different clever design very simple from tinker toys with the slogan “Build something big” or another with a dandelion spraying seeds in the air and the slogan was “Spread something big”. They were simple cool cards, I wanted to collect all of them and could not wait to meet the creator of the cards. Does you card do this for you?

7. Ordering from a website stock card. If you want people to believe that you are a successful business, take the time to make your card unique. Spend a little money with a graphic designer to make your card unique. I have 6 business cards laying on my desk, all from different people and all identically the same. Each of them came from a stock card design off of an Internet site and each were suppose to be the cards of successful business professionals. Your card should be your brand not the brand of a website order house.

Your business card is the first thing that many people will see of yours. It may be the first representation of you and your brand so take a look at you card, what does it say about you and your business?

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