Hello! It’s Bettijo here from Paging Supermom today to talk business cards. With Snap Conference just a month away, it’s definitely time to be thinking about your business cards. Since SNAP is a creative bloggers conference, I’m guessing some of you might be feeling some pressure about your business cards. While my main purpose today is to announce the #SnappyCards Business Card contest, I actually wanted to share some business card design tips, to help out any of you that might be feeling intimidated. Remember pressure and stress are total creativity killers. Don’t worry — you’ve got this!
#SnappyCards Business Card Contest
First, about the contest… when you come to registration at Snap (where you pick up your badge), look for me or the business card area
and be sure to drop off one of your business cards to be entered into the #SnappyCards Business Card contest. There are going to be some fun prizes, and winners for the following categories: MOST CREATIVE, MOST MEMORABLE, MOST INNOVATIVE, MOST ON BRAND and BEST OVERALL. You will have until Friday afternoon to drop off cards, and then we will go through them all and pick the winners.
For those of you who already have your cards done — HIGH FIVE! Just be sure they make it onto your packing list and into your suitcase because wouldn’t that be a bummer?! Also you might be wondering how many business cards you should bring along to SNAP. I typically bring 100 cards. It really stinks to run out.
I have never missed a Snap Conference, and over the years I’ve collected quite a few business cards. I thought I’d share some of my
favorite business cards as inspiration to get your creative wheels turning. (Yes, I did include my own cards because obviously I like them. Shameless? Maybe. Please forgive me.) I even turned them into an animated GIF so you can see both sides… how’s that for being a design geek? LOL!
Business Card Design Tips
Business cards ARE small, but they can have a big impact on your networking. The key is to focus your message and not try to include too much. Once you have a good grasp on your branding, then creating business cards will be a whole lot easier.
Branding has become such a buzz word, and it can be confusing. Some people think your brand is the same thing as your logo; yet branding includes so much more. Your brand is intangible — it is an expectation that you establish with your audience. Even if you choose not to put any thought or effort into your brand, it still exists. It is your identity. What your audience, customers or associates perceive, both visually and emotionally, when they engage with you on your blog, social media feed, etc. Most of us probably wouldn’t want unprofessional or disorganized to be part of our branding, yet if you consider some of the businesses you’ve had personal experience with, those characteristics can certainly creep in, especially if you don’t take charge of your branding.
I have created this free branding worksheet to help you do a quick brand inventory. You’ll probably be able to answer a lot of these questions fairly easily, but it’s so smart to get it all out in front of you and look for inconsistencies. When it comes to branding, consistency is key!
With your branding inventory complete, you should be on the right track. Remembering the tone and imagery you’ve brainstormed, next consider these quick design tips, and you’ll be ready to make your business cards.
- TYPOGRAPHY. Go for simpler fonts that will let your logo shine. Decorative, scripty or cutesy fonts, may be a part of your logo, but they should always be used sparingly and with intention. Never stretch or squish fonts (or images for that matter) because it just looks bad.
- WHITE SPACE. It’s so good to leave breathing room between elements. Don’t be afraid of empty “white space,” which helps the viewer’s brain process the information that is there.
- ALIGNMENT. Don’t just default to centered, but think about what alignment will work best for your design elements. Play with left-aligned, right-aligned and justified to see what looks right with your design. Typically you’ll want to remain consistent through the project.
Make sure you have read through any artwork specifications or guidelines from your printer, particularly the information about bleed. No they’re not going to cut you, bleed refers to extra space (usually 3mm or 0.125 in.) built around the sides of a design to accommodate printing all the way to the edge. Your printer will actually print your cards on a larger sheet then cut them down to size. This extra bleed space provides your printer some wiggle room for trimming. The bleed space should have your background color/design but no critical info since it will mostly get trimmed off. Your printer will also specify a safe area that all important info should be kept inside, and it’s wise to
heed this advice.
Business Card Common Pitfalls
I’ve seen my fair share of poorly designed business cards too — I contemplated sharing photos of some bad cards, but that just wouldn’t
be nice. I can tell you that most bad business cards have one or all of these design flaws in common:
- BAD FONTS. We’ve already talked a bit about typography, but it’s so important let’s revisit how type can go wrong. The most common error here is using too many different fonts. You should only use two (maybe three) fonts for the whole design. Only one of those fonts can be a script, handwriting, or other novelty font. The second font should be a more plain font that compliments. Also watch your font size. I know that 12-point is often thought of as the default, but it’s actually on the large side. Particularly on a business card, 12-point type feels rather clunky. I usually use 9 or 10-point for the body text (or main info) on my card. The best way to get a feel for the size of things is to print a preview of your card at actual size. Of course you want the text to be legible but trust me, too-big type is a dead giveaway that a business card is DIY.
- BORDERS. For business cards, and really all full-bleed printed materials, a border can be problematic because it makes the variation in trim more visible. While we’d like everything to be perfectly precise, your printer won’t be able to guarantee a specific cut line, but will instead have an acceptable range of trim. This fact means borders could be cut slightly off-center, and in my experience they usually are. So I try to avoid borders, especially on something as small as a business card. If you must use a border, use as thick of a line as possible to help hide this issue.
- TOO MUCH STUFF. Don’t try to cram on too much info. Remember business cards are small, so to keep them from looking like a cluttered mess, stick to the most important stuff. In my opinion the truly pertinent contact info to include: NAME, WEBSITE and EMAIL. If your email is at your blog url, you may not need to list the
website separately. Perhaps in it’s place you could include your SOCIAL MEDIA HANDLE? Consider adding in your PHONE NUMBER, but that’s a total personal preference. As far as MAILING ADDRESS, for local businesses, especially those with a storefront, an address is important, but for a blogger I tend to leave them off. As far as a tag line or explanation of your brand, try to think of a way that the card design can communicate this information without having to be written out. Sometimes the logo can contain elements that will allude to your business offering as well.
I’ve been talking about your info “stuff,” but let’s also talk for a minute about the little extra stuff people like to pass out with their business cards. I love giving/getting a little something extra as much as anyone, but it really should make sense for your brand. Please don’t feel a need to give a little goodie — so many times they just add to the clutter and make our bags extra heavy to lug around at the conference. If you have an idea that really suits your brand, then go for it, but don’t sweat it if nothing comes to mind. A good business card can totally stand alone.