Business cards — who knew a tiny piece of paper could mean so much?
Fortunately, you don’t need to be a graphic designer or have the know-how of a Fortune 500 business to create a high-quality business card that is sure to leave a lasting impression. Let us break down the ingredients of a good freelancer, professional business, or personal business card:
This goes without saying. Putting your name on your business card gives people a human connection to your brand.
Giving someone a business card is a universal way of saying “I want to do business with you” — which they’ll only be able to do if they know where you work. Therefore, the name of your company is a key element of any business card.
In lieu of a company name, freelancers should have a brief description of themselves and/or their services. For example, “digital media and design services” is a succinct and professional overview of what people can hire you to do. If you prefer something less formal, give yourself your dream job title. Marketing Maven. Digital Wizard. Code Guru. Camera Queen. A fun title provides a general idea of what you offer while opening the door for conversations and personal connections.
Your Contact Information
If customers can’t find you, your company is no more real than the Loch Ness Monster. In today’s world, a phone number and email are non-negotiable elements of your business card.
There are plenty of ways customers can contact and interact with your brand besides phone and email, but which mode of contact to prioritize on your business card depends on business structure and target markets. Brick and mortar companies, like a medical office or coffee shop, should include a physical address or well-known reference point that helps their customers find the storefront (like the name of the shopping center or mall where the business is located). Companies that perform professional services by mail should also include their mailing address, especially if it differs from their physical address.
If your company is more click than brick, a website URL and handles for social media channels like Linked-In, Instagram, or Twitter will be more helpful to your audience than a physical address. For a brand whose target audience is tech-savvy, a custom QR code is a sleek, free, and easy way to connect people with your business.
Instead of taking up space on your business card with URLs, social media handles, and emails, QR codes can direct people to any digital element of your brand with a simple square. Imagine all your contact info being available to potential customers at the wave of their phone. Plus, most QR platforms allow you to customize the look of your QR to keep it in-brand.
Your logo is your brand, so it should absolutely be on your brand’s business card. If your logo is intricate or complex, consider adopting a more minimalist version for your business card, such as a silhouette or monochrome interpretation. This will prevent your logo from crowding your card and causing it to look cluttered.
You may choose to include a professional headshot on your business card. For freelancers, this can be a good substitute for a logo because it helps create a personal brand identity. It can also be beneficial in any industry where building personal relationships are crucial to gaining clients, such as real estate.
There are hotly debated pros and cons to including a personal photo on business cards. Many agree that being able to put a face to a name is helpful and a nice personal touch. Others warn of the unconscious biases humans have and claim photos do more harm than good. If you’re on the fence about headshots, it can help to think critically about the role personal connectivity plays in your brand identity. If a personal connection is important, headshots may be the way to go.
Tagline or Call to Action
Use a tagline or slogan to convey your brand’s offering, especially if the company’s name doesn’t provide a clear idea of what you’re selling. Remember, keep it short and sweet!
If the name says it all, a call to action is a powerful sentiment that establishes a brand’s identity while encouraging people to connect with you. Reminding someone to “take the first step” or “change their life for the better,” might be the nudge that turns a passing conversation into a paying customer.
Balancing content and space is one of the hardest parts of designing a business card. Nobody likes a busybody, so trying to fit everything and the kitchen sink onto that tiny piece of paper can turn off future customers. Using whitespace is soothing to the eye and keeps readers from feeling overwhelmed by tons of information being crammed onto a card.
There are so many great things people should know about your brand, but so little space to tell them. As you go through the design process, consider how each element contributes to your sales funnel and your customer’s journey. If something doesn’t play a role in at least one of those, it doesn’t need to be on the card.
Because minimalism and whitespace are popular and effective techniques for business cards, go easy on the bright colors. Use it to emphasize important words, break up blocks of texts, or draw the eye to unique elements of your business card, such as your logo. If applicable, only use colors that are in-brand with your company.
Even if you aren’t bound by brand identity, color selection is important because color has been shown to directly impact our opinions and decision-making. If you want to learn more about the world of color psychology and the best techniques for your business card needs, check out this article.
Polished lettering is a very simple way to elevate the look of your business card. The right font pairings can simultaneously fit in more text and help the brain digest information. If you take away one thing from this article, let it be this: never settle for Times New Roman on your business card.
The art of arranging and displaying written language, a.k.a typography, is a complex and renowned area of study that people can spend years pursuing. Fortunately, though, there are lots of tools that can help anyone improve their font know-how. Fontjoy is a free site that lets you generate font pairings and create your own typography schemes using widely-available fonts. This site gives you the tools to explore endless combinations of text stylings, but if you want to learn more about the theory and best practices of typography, check out this article on Career Foundry.
Should I use a business card template?
Obviously, a lot goes into business card design. With so many free options, it can be very tempting to forego all those decisions for the ease of plugging your information into a preformatted template. As enticing as it may be, it’s not recommended. It’s unlikely that a template will offer all the elements you want to include and capture you and your brand’s unique style. Plus, imagine going to a networking event and swapping cards with someone who clearly used the same online template as you.
Instead of relying on a template to design your business card, you should look to them for inspiration. Browse examples online (and any competitors’ business cards, if you can get a hold of them) and look for elements or designs that you feel complement your brand. Take note of anything that you particularly like or particularly dislike. If something inspires you, run with it.
Digiprint | Local Business Card Services
Of course, the easiest way to know what to put on your business card is to get in touch with the experts (that’s us). Our mission is to create professional and effective business cards for new businesses, big businesses, and small business owners. Our team of printing experts, including our in-house graphic designers, is here to assist you with all your design and print needs, including logo design.
Ready for a quote? Let’s do it!