Art of the Business Card

Art of the Business Card

By John / Published by John
How to make your business card stand out.

The old fashion business card has been around since the 17th century and they are still relevant today in this high tech jungle. When I was getting my MFA in Industrial Design we learned the power of visual communication and harnessing that power to make the product or designer stand out. I wanted to write this story to share some of the things we learned throughout my time in design school. Why are business cards still relevant today you might ask? Business cards are a tool that help make an memorable first impression to a potential client when meeting in person. A business card says a lot about a person and their company, it can show creativity or sameness.  

When creating your own business card remember sky is the limit, you are only limited to your own imagination and maybe money, some business cards can be expensive to make. First rule when designing a business card if you want to stand out and make an impact is to make sure you design your business card from scratch. Generic templates are a no go, they are used by lots of people. If your not sure how to design a business card seek professional help from a capable designer that can help create your ideal look, logo, material and fonts to use.

Second rule the card size, thickness and texture. If you live in the USA standard business card size is typically 89mm x 51mm and the standard European business card size is 84mm x 55mm. These business card measurements are going to be important. Here is why if you live in the USA do not have your business card made in the standard size, same if you are living in Europe. Make your business card in the least common shape, size and thickness that everyone else is doing. So for instance since I live in the USA, in order to make my business card stand out I would have it made in the European size. The European size card is wider than the USA size card, this is done with intention. Lets say for example during a networking event a person will collect many business cards, that person will shuffle the cards into a proper stack. Any business card that is wider or in a different shape will stick out in the stack. This helps increase your cards visibility. Also different shape business cards like square, circular and triangular cards also would help stand out in a stack.

Now lets talk about card thickness correlating to quality, the thicker the card the higher quality it will be perceived. Standard thickness of business cards is usually 14 pt = 0.014in, don't print your business cards this thickness. Use at least a minimum 18pt = 0.018in as your business card thickness. As for texture of the business card will all depend on what look your are going for, some of the more common options are glossy, matte and embossed. If you plan to write on your business cards, glossy surfaces make it very difficult to write with a pen. Keep in mind colors will look different with each texture, so a test print is a good way to make sure your getting the color and feel you want.  

Once you have created a piece of art known as your business cards, next is storing them. Storage is a very important, make sure you store your business cards in pristine condition before handing them out. Storing business cards in your money clip with your stack of money or inside your wallet is not a good idea, as both methods will end up bending and rub out your beautiful business cards. Handing a potential client a bent or chewed up business card can be a poor reflection of your business. There should be separate card holder to store your business card safely before you hand them out. Your business card holder should be unique as your business cards, so the typical clam shell bushiness card holder will not do. I had a very similar problem of looking for a different solutions to store my business cards. Since I am a designer and we have a design company, we decided to design our own business card holder. The business card holder we designed provided a unique option for people looking for an more interesting way to store their business cards. The card holder we designed is currently on Kickstarter so if your interested please see the main picture above and check it out:

Remember when you have your own company design everything around your image and brand. Small little details like your business card and business card holder help set your company apart from the rest. Ultimate goal is to create a business card that would be really hard for anyone to throw away.         


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