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Everyone has a business card these days, but not everyone has a great business card. All too often, amateur graphic designers try to emphasize their clients' businesses in the wrong ways. They use too many (and too large) fonts, cheap clip art or poor color combinations that distract from the card's message and end up looking gaudy and unprofessional. You don't want your first impression to be your last, so follow these business card design tips for getting on the fast track to stellar design.
Your business card colors reflect on your business, or your clients' businesses more than any other element, and are the first things that will register when prospects glance at your card. Choose colors that match the theme of your business; for instance, silver and royal blue are often associated with high-stature, and would be one appropriate combination when designing business cards for banks and investment firms. If you plan to use more than one color, use a color wheel to pick aesthetically pleasing hues that work well together.
Arial, Times New Roman and Helvetica are all good choices for business card fonts, but you're not limited to these. A font can say a lot about a business and can dictate the tone and style of your text. Try experimenting with different fonts to find something that expresses your business. An Eras font could be used for a technology firm, for instance; while Gill Sans Ultra Bold might be a good bet for a balloon shop.
Most resources recommend using only one font in your business card designs, but you can justify using two fonts to draw emphasis to a particular aspect of your card. A Jet Ski rental service with a lot of competitors, for example, might want to draw attention to their phone number to make it quick and easy to read by positioning it vertically on the card in a large Impact font.
Be careful not to make your fonts too large. Other than the preceding example, most fonts should be in the 10- to 14-point range. This makes them easy to read, but not so large that they appear gaudy.
Amateur designers often make the mistake of trying to fill in every portion of their business cards with text, images or graphics. This is a bad practice that clutters business cards and distracts from the overall message of the card or - even worse - it sends the message that your business is unprofessional and sloppy. When laying out your business card's elements, make sure to leave plenty of space between your text and images to help them stand out against one another. Remember that the term "white space" does not necessarily refer to the color white; so if your business card has an orange or blue background you would need to include "orange space" or "blue space," accordingly.
A photograph of the card issuer can add a personal touch that makes prospects feel comfortable - even if they've never met you before. This is especially true with service sales industries such as real estate, investment strategy and mortgage lending. This doesn't mean you have to stick to the boxed profile shot commonly seen on many business cards. You can actually make the photo integral to the design by depicting "you in action." A realtor's business card design, for example, could simply be a photo of him or her shaking hands on the front lawn of a nice home over a "Sold" sign.
The easiest way to make your business cards stand out is to look different from the competition (while maintaining class). You could use a large, faded portion of your logo as your business card backdrop; or try having your printer die cut your card into a relevant shape or having a corner or two rounded off. You can also use graphic elements such as shapes and lines in contrasting colors, hues and transparencies to add pop where it's needed most.
One additional aspect of business card design that has recently become a concern to some designers is scan-ability; that is, the ease of which a particular card can be scanned by an electric card reader for a contact management system. While this is not a bad idea, your first and foremost concern should be the impact your card has while still in the hands of your prospects rather than how it looks on a computer screen. If you follow the steps listed here, you will be well on your way to creating stimulating business card designs that get noticed and deliver your message for a lasting impression.