Make Your Business Card Stand Out: Essential Elements to Include
If you're planning on attending any sort of networking event or trade show, such as h+h Americas, you'll know that a business card is still a very useful tool in sharing your contact information. It hasn't quite yet been replaced by modern technology (though you can get weird things like this), so take advantage of that! Now, the question inevitably becomes "what actually should be on the business card?". There are no shortage of options, but your goals might help you decide what makes the final cut, and what doesn't.
What's your goal?
In business, we like a goal. A good one. Something that says "here's the purpose of the thing that I'm about to do" so that we know exactly what we need to do that thing (or we know how that thing may be viewed as 'successful').
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine what goes on your card?
Who will be the recipient of your business card?
How do you want them to connect with you?
What action(s) do you want them to take?
What do they need to know about you before taking the next step?
What, visually, will they respond to the most/best?
Things that go on the card
This is a non-exhaustive list, by the way.
Your Name. People need to know your name. It's entirely possible that you may get so wrapped up in designing the other details in your card, you forget to add this part. I've seen it before, so make sure your name gets on there first.
Your Business Name. The assumption with a business card is that you actually have a business. Including that business name allows someone to start associating your name with your business name. And if you've got more than one person in the company, it's helpful to figure out who does what within the business itself - which leads us to...
What You Do. What is your title or role within your business? Since a large majority of the businesses I interact with are solopreneurs (or are run by just one person), you don't necessarily have to list yourself out as the CEO, even if that's "technically" the case. Rather, give a descriptive title that can help someone determine exactly what it is that you do and if you're a good fit to work with them.
Your Contact Info. How can someone best reach you to talk to you about your business? If you're primarily operating online, an email address is something you would want to include. If you're brick and mortar, or have a local presence, a phone number could also be smart. You can include one or both.
Your Business Website. Where can someone go to connect with you further? How can they learn more about your offers and services? Having some form of a landing page is extremely helpful, even if it's simply that. Some individuals create a special landing page just to link to on their business cards, so they can track the traffic that comes their way. (PS. You can opt out of a full web link and go for a QR code instead - Wix offers them for free for anyone.) Social Media Handles. This is definitely an option if you have a significant social media presence. I don't typically add this to my card, but rather have a link to my social media from my landing page that I've created. My preference is that my website gets the traffic vs Instagram getting it.
Design elements to consider
Accessibility. Often times, we try to cram as much onto a business card as humanly possible without considering how it might appear to the person who receives it. It's much better go simple and minimalist than it is to go overboard and clutter the space. Here's an article on making business cards accessible and here's a resource I use to determine contrast between colors for readability.
Color. Color, and the amount of it (or lack of it), can make a huge impact on the memorability and readability of your business card. I recommend keeping colors limited to just two or three and make sure they're aligned with your existing branding. Use those colors to make important elements pop and stick out, rather than drown out all of the text. Typography. Fonts are so much more important than we give them credit for. When you're looking to add text to a business card, sans serif is always going to be the easiest to read. Especially as your fonts get smaller, you don't need the extra tails and lines from a serif font. (Also, Emily Lymm, who wrote a previous post about choosing a business name and came on the podcast to talk about branding in the fiber arts business, advised that you don't typically want to go smaller than 7pts for fonts in printed materials.) Imagery. In the same way that colors are used, photos or other graphics can be utilized to highlight certain elements on your card. This is a visual industry, so it makes sense that some visuals would be included. This can be done with your logo (if you have one), photos of your products (or yourself), or other graphic elements.
Texture. Many of the major printers online will give you multiple options for your cards. If you're looking to stretch your budget, you may not need any extra bells and whistles like different or fancy textures, but sometimes a different feel or embossing can make a card stand out amongst the rest.
Where to print
Again, this is a non-exhaustive list.
Buy from your local printer. Shop local and support a business in your community. Oftentimes, the price tag may be a little higher, but I've found that I get much more customization with a local business, and better treatment, too.
Vistaprint. This is an all-time favorite amongst members of the Fiber Business Collective. Turnaround is quick, quality is decent, and prices are reasonable (especially because they often have sales).
Canva. If you're already designing your business card within the Canva app or website, it may make sense to also get them printed through there. I've heard mixed reviews, some very bad and some good. I've used them in the past with no issue, but I might be the exception.
Moo. If you're looking for something a bit higher in quality, then Moo could be a great option. They pride themselves in premium materials and features, which does come with a higher price tag... but it could make all the difference if it helps your card to stand out in the crowd.
FedEx Printing Center. If you need cards fast and don't have or want to use a local printer, FedEx typically has printing centers in cities across America. I hear turnaround can be pretty quick!
And that, my friends, is my guide to getting your business cards all set up. If you want to be able to brainstorm more with a group of like-minded and goal-oriented peers, the Fiber Business Collective may be a great option for you!