Making your own business cards is one of the first things a new business owner does when starting a company. But is very common to see many people making bad usage of the business cards, by adding unnecessary information, too many images, and other useless content. Before you get to know what to put on a business card, it’s very important to know: what is a business card for?
The purpose of having a business card
I’ve seen many business owners, from small to medium ones, who intends to use the business cards to “sell” its business. They add every single piece of information, services, products and sometimes even images of what they can do for their clients, but this is not the right purpose of the business card. For that, you can use a flyer or an institutional folder, where you can insert a larger amount of information without compromising the good appearance of your card.
A business card is only a way to exchange your contact information with partners, clients or prospects. You give a card to someone after a meeting, for example, so this person can keep in touch with you if necessary. Or you can give it to someone when you’re making networking in one of those corporate events. But always remember: Business Card is not for advertising. To let a pile of ugly business cards on a store’s counter won’t help much your business to grow.
What is the most important business card information?
There is information which is mandatory, others are optional, and there are the disposable and useless ones. Let’s start with the basics:
- Name: This is obvious. If you’re exchanging contact information with someone, it’s important for him to know your name, right?
- Phone: Usually this is the first option when someone needs to talk to you. Nowadays, many people use just their cellphone numbers, but if you have a landline telephone in your company, it’s important to add this one too.
- Email: We are almost finishing the first fifth of the XXI century, so you already know that the email is more important than your actual address, right?
- Address: Actually this can be mandatory if your business is a shop of any kind. But if your work is more connected with the digital world, this is optional.
- Role/Position: This sometimes is too obvious and unnecessary, like for self-employed people. But is nice to have in case of companies with a hierarchy or predefined roles.
- Logo: I’ve seen many business cards that were beautiful and doesn’t have any logo on it. If your company has a logo, put it on. But don’t mind if you don’t have one, you still can have a beautiful and useful card without it.
- Website: Just like the address for physical shops, a Website is mandatory for digital business. But is optional if you do not own an online shop or a SaaS product, for example.
- Social Media: If you think your social media is an important part of your business, you can put them on your business card. But pay attention to not use huge URLs, prefer to use only your username or the social media icon followed by the name displayed after the “/” on the URL.
Information you should avoid
Photos only make your card look heavy, dirty and disorganized. Many people insist on using a business card as an advertising flyer, and then they put photos of their products on the card, and the results are almost 100% of the time awful. Remember what I said at the beginning of this article about the purpose of the business card? Instead of photos, choose flat illustrations or icons that could represent your business or any meaning you want to.
Not because they’re ugly or heavy, but just useless. Do you know what will people do to access your website or something else? Even if your website URL is written on the card, there’s a huge chance that they will search your name on Google before trying anything. If he can’t succeed, maybe he will look for the website on the card. But to open the QR code reader on the phone just to read a simple URL on the card? No, never. But why so many people put this on their cards? For me, it’s just a way to say “Hey! Look at how modern we are!”. This is probably a personal complaint, I know. But wait! There are other ways a QR code can be used. Masking a URL is just one of the useless ones. But I already saw a very nice card which used QR code to open a nice AR animation on the card. There is always the rule’s exception.
“Look at how modern we are!” chapter 2. People just forgot (or never knew) the purpose of the hashtags on social media, and just keep adding it to many offline artworks, like business cards. Just another useless thing to put on a business card. Let your card breathe and leave space for the important things.
You probably have heard somewhere the famous sentence “Less is more”, right? Mies van der Rohe was right! This is not just a cliché, it’s a rule! Focus on the right purpose of having a business card, don’t add too much information, only the necessary. It’s your choice to have a remarkable business card design or just one more to be forgotten on your client’s drawer.