You might not think that a business card can have a personality, but you would be wrong. With fresh and exciting design trends in the last few years, business cards are back on the rise as being a premier tool in your branding tool box. According to recent studies, there are roughly 28 million business cards printed every day, and it’s likely that 88% of them will be thrown away. The reason for this isn’t because business cards aren’t a successful marketing tool. It’s because the designs are tired and all too common.
In this first installment of the Branding Your Best Self series, I thought it was important to discuss the product often used to give the best first impression during a chance business meeting or with new connections at a conference. You don’t need to be part of a business to have a business card. How else will you get your contact information to prospective employers without one? Branding Your Best Self is all about exploring successful tools used around the business world and making them work to help you succeed! This is your chance to create a design that represents you.
If you feel that your business card design is lacking, the trends and information detailed below will help to give your business cards the spark they need to land you the meetings you want most.
What Needs to Be Included?
To have an effective business card, you need to have all the right information on there. So, what exactly does that include? The best way to think about this is to keep it simple and relevant. There are many different things that you can include on your business card that might seem relevant, but anything outside of your basic contact information is going to be a bit too much. Let the design do all of the talking in terms of personality and uniqueness. A great design can go to waste if the right information isn’t included on your card.
Here’s a list of items that definitely need to be featured on your business card. It might be a small space to work with, but business cards can hold a ton of important information!
- Name and Title – If you don’t have a title, just put your expertise. You can also include your field in this space as well or instead of a title. If you’re feeling extra adventurous or want to showcase your personality a bit here, you can, as long as you stay away from silly buzz words such as “ninja,” “guru,” or “rock star,” as the above link suggests.
- Company Name and Logo – Again, if you don’t have a logo or you don’t belong to a company, create your own logo and use your full name to represent your company. There are incredible design programs like Canva that allow you to design logos for free that you can use on any of your branding items.
- Phone Number – This one is pretty self explanatory. Make sure the number you’re including has voicemail space as well!
- E-mail Address and/or Website URL – If you have your own website, this is the perfect opportunity to get some traffic on it! If you’re really tech savvy you can add a QR code to your card that leads people to your site automatically. When using your e-mail address, make sure it’s a professional one, and not one that you made in high school.
Now that we’ve discussed the basic elements that need to be included on your business card, it’s time to talk about the exciting stuff: design! There are many new trends that are pushing the envelope all the way from raw materials used to experiments with texture. Let’s dive right into the top trends seen on the best business cards out there.
Adding texture to a card is a great way to add in another of the 6 senses to help your new connection remember your meeting. A cheap and simple way to do this is to add an element of embossing to your card design. Seen on the Graphic Design Junction website, you can emboss QR codes, incorporate the embossing across the whole card to make an interesting backdrop, or even use the embossing technique on an all white card to keep it simple.
Business cards don’t have to be made with card stock. If your area of expertise is in antique furniture or you want to add a more industrial vibe to your brand, you could try using wood as the material of choice for your card. Using metals in construction-oriented cards helps to give a unique flair while staying true to the nature of your work. Additionally, plastic, clear, or transparent cards are seeing a rise in popularity as well. The possibilities are pretty endless given an open budget, so explore your options and find the fit that feels most like you!
In the same vein, business cards also don’t need to be shaped as cards. A new trend is a die-cut card or a card that folds out to turn into something else. This is a fun idea for anyone looking to really make an impression with their business card. Again, the nature of some businesses has to be serious, but if you can take some liberties within your industry here, I encourage you to explore your personalities through design! You can make your card interactive in shape by incorporating foldable or pop-up design elements to give an extra touch of personality.
If a flashy business card isn’t for you and you’d like to keep it simple, you’re in luck! Modern simplicity and minimalism is a huge trend across the design industry right now. To master this design, pick a simple color palette and play with empty space on the face of your card. Sometimes the absence of design can have even more of an impact as something flashy. Canva recently gathered a few designs from case studies done on simple business card designs, showcasing the beauty and professionalism in choosing the right colors and the right fonts.
Hopefully after reading this you’re feeling inspired to start your journey on creating a powerful branding arsenal. There aren’t always many opportunities to make a bold first impression, and significantly fewer chances to make a second first impression, so putting your best card forward right away will serve your ambitions greatly. Do you have a favorite card design that you’ve seen recently or have used yourself? Send those ideas to me to share with my audience @ClareleMortimer on Twitter.