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 Business Card Design Tips

by Tash Hughes of Word Constructions

Business cards are one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to promote your business. They are an initial contact for your business and thus are important in conveying your image and message.

 However many cards you give out or how well you do so, all your potential and actual clients will be receiving more than one business card. If you want your card to work for you, it needs to be well thought out, appropriate and effective; it needs to stand out from the crowd without losing you credibility.

 Below are some tips on how to best design your card to maximise its effectiveness for you.

v     Go for quality. Usually, it is best to get them professionally printed; if home printing, use quality, thick paper for best results. Consider getting cards printed on thicker than standard card, too, as this shows you’re a serious business and may keep your card out of the rubbish.

v     Accentuate your name as this is the most important detail after the business name.

v     Give yourself a title, no matter how small your business.

v     Include all necessary details.  Contact details are mandatory, whether it is a phone, number, fax number or email address. Wherever possible, have more than one means of contact listed on the card to give people choice and ensure they can contact you.

Inclusion of your street address depends on the style of business you operate as to whether it is relevant, but be warned that a lack of address reduces credibility to some people and prevents mailed or couriered items reaching you.

v     Make it accurate. Ensure all details are correct BEFORE printing and update the cards when details change. It is unprofessional and unattractive to cross out and hand write details.

v     Include a tag line to describe your business; catchy and informative ones work best.

v     Choose an image for your business and let your card support it. This is done by the colour, textures, finish and thickness of the card as well as the words, colours and images printed onto it.

v     Keep it appropriate. Think of who your audience is and keep the card in tone with them; for instance, an accounting or law firm would be best served by sedate, classy cards whilst a designer or artists could get away with more creative colours and styles and a business targeting children could be bright and multi coloured.

v     Be creative. You want your card to stand out and be noticed – but don’t go overboard. Simple touches like printing vertically (most cards are horizontal) or shaping the corners can be effective. Remember that anything too cute or trendy could actually prevent people keeping and using your card.

v     Keep it clear. Information on the card must be easily accessed, so don’t add more than necessary – if lots of information is desirable, then print on both sides of the card rather than crowd the front. Space around the text and logo makes the whole card easier to look at and read.

v     Stick to standard. Making your card bigger than standard cards will make it harder for people to add them to wallets so they will be easier to store.

v     Contrasts can be a useful way to keep relevant details in the front of the card – white print on a dark background makes the words stand out whilst still having an interesting card.

v     Text must all be in a font that is easy to read, in terms of both style and size.

v     Include the url (address) of your web site on the card – for many businesses, the lack of a web site on the card could lose some prospects

v     Use your original logo on your cards, as well as on your stationary, web site and brochures. It is part of branding to use the logo rather than using images than everyone has access to.

v     Having the back of the card blank can be very useful for notes, but some cards include useful information on the back such as a metric converter, list of major holidays or useful web sites like Google, weather bureau and the ATO.

v     A simple design allows you to scan the card and use it as an email signature or even an ad in a paper.

v     Consider different cards for different purposes, if appropriate and even in different languages if you intend expanding overseas. Designing a bilingual card (one language per side) is another option.

v     Add logos of supporting bodies, with their permission. For instance, the logo for CPAs will support an accountant’s card

 In the process of designing and deciding on your card, look at as many business cards as you can. Collect them and sort them into those you do and those you don’t like; try to find which features caught your attention and which turned you against the card. Use these answers to finalise your own card.

 Unless you are particularly creative, consider having cards professionally designed and printed as soon as your budget allows it.

 There is some debate about the usefulness of adding your photo to a business card, so some of the major issues are listed below for consideration:

v     Are you in a business dependant upon relationships?

v     Will you update the cards regularly so your photo doesn’t date the card?

v     Can your business afford the extra expense of printing the card and getting the photo done?

v     If much of your business is conducted via mail, email and phone, would it personalise things to have a picture included on the card for your clients?

v     Photo cards tend to be kept and kept at the top of the card pile

v     Do you make arrangements with clients prior to meeting? A photo card could make it easier for them to find you at the later meeting

v     Does the photo clutter the card too much once your logo is added?

v     Does a photo complement the image and style of the card? 

It takes time to devise the perfect business card for your business, but the effort will be worth it when it brings in more customers!


Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and is available to solve all your business writing problems! From letters to policies, newsletters to web content, Word Constructions writes all business documents to your style and satisfaction.


This article is available for free use on your web site or in your newsletter.

It must be acknowledged as written by Tash Hughes of www.wordconstructions.com.au and copyright remains the property of Tash Hughes.

Please notify us of your use of this article or to request information on commissioned articles.


© 2007 Tash Hughes