With Mel Fernandez
"If you don't get noticed, you don't have anything. You just have to be noticed, but the art is in getting noticed naturally, without screaming or without tricks." --Leo Burnett
Despite the growing prevalence of smart phones and tablets, business cards are still important tools for sharing contact information and building relationships. You don't have to use special apps or worry about compatibility, and they are cheap. They are also a branding opportunity to build credibility and share your company's personality.
First and foremost, business cards have to provide the contact details that are appropriate for your industry, including at least two of these: an email address, phone number or website URL. The design should help you communicate this more effectively rather than distract or make information difficult to read.
Aside from the details, the starting point for designing a business card is the logo, as it will guide your choices for colors and fonts.
Here are some other considerations:
- Orientation: landscape or portrait
- Sides: one- or two-sided
- Edges: square or rounded
- Shape: rectangle, oval, etc. (for the more adventurous!)
Using the Affinity Express brand, here are four alternatives for business card designs. You can see that the logo, colors and fonts all remain consistent.
Extension of existing materials
Below is the business card we designed to better highlight our social media sites. It builds on the existing branding and stationery we had, using the blue and yellow bar at the bottom. By moving the physical address of our headquarters to the back, we got more room to list the blog, Facebook, Twitter etc., on the front. Plus, we find our address is not used very much so it was not a sacrifice to move it.
Crisp and creative
In this design, we made the front clean and concise by just including contact numbers, email and website—only the crucial details, so it is easy to read. On the back, we leveraged our brand colors in an interesting way to suggest the creativity you would want from a company that specializes in advertising and marketing production (but without affecting readability). By making the corners rounded, the card creates a modern and friendly impression.
This simple design card has a professional vibe and clean appearance from more white space and attention is drawn to the colorful logo symbol. One-sided printing also saves money. Although it is a very straight-forward design, the rounded corners make it a little different.
This design builds on the original use of the blue and yellow bar and re-interprets it by adding a different blue and yellow accent. The curved design complements the card's rounded corners and provides a sense of movement. While it is not radically different, it provides a fresh perspective.
As you can see, there are quite a few choices you can make to interpret your brand and evoke a company personality. Because we are in the design business, we can use more bold colors. But even the most conservative industries can incorporate enhancements like accent colors, rules, two-sided printing and more. You could even do it yourself through a wide variety of services available online. For a more radical change, I'd recommend working with a professional designer or design company.
But remember, however attractive or creative your business card is, it's a waste of time and money if it doesn't fulfill its most basic purpose: give people an easy way to reach you.