7 Rules of an Effective Business Card

Business Card Rules for Every Small Business Owner

An effective business card needs more than your name and contact information. There are countless ways you can utilize the 3.5-inch by 2-inch space in terms of design and information to make your business card stand out. An attractive business card draws the attention of prospects who otherwise might have tossed the card and helps you to network more effectively.

Follow some simple rules to make sure your business card represents your brand and attracts potential clients or business partners.

Include only what's most important

Include enough information to pique the interest of recipients and make the business card memorable. Skip the kitchen sink and be selective about the information you include.

It's tempting to reduce the font size and include every social network profile, a slogan, or more, but this leads to information overload and nothing memorable.

Make sure it is legible

Funky fonts are fun, but you want recipients to be able to read your business card at a glance. Make sure the fonts you use on your business card aren't too small, too fancy, or distorted in some way.

Let your logo be the design element that adds spice to your business card and keep the text simple and straightforward.

Avoid full coverage

Some recipients jot down a word or a phrase on business cards to help jog their memories. Effective use of white space, including content on only one side, allows recipients to do this more easily.

From a design perspective, white space also helps draw attention to the space that does include text or a logo.

Get them printed professionally

Unless you have commercial printing capabilities, do-it-yourself business cards often come across as cheap or second-rate, and that's not the impression you want to give recipients.

You may be able to save a moderate amount of money and update your information more easily if you print them yourself, but the impact of handing over a homemade business card isn't the same as cards that are printed professionally.

Design for your audience

If you have multiple businesses that complement one another, consider using the front of your business card for one venture and the back for the other.

However, if you have two unrelated operations—for example, a graphic designer by day and a tow truck driver at night—you should create separate business cards for each enterprise to avoid confusion and speak directly and appropriately to each distinct audience.

Use special finishing options carefully

Select a finish that is relevant to your brand, not just something cool to try. Countless options are available, including rounded corners or other die cuts, holes punched through, unusual sizes, embossing, foil accents, and folds that can turn a simple card into a mini-brochure.

If such a creative touch is not relevant to your brand, your business card might be remembered for the wrong reasons. A black, glossy card also may frustrate recipients who regularly use business cards for note-taking.

Consider a call to action

Even a simple and streamlined business card can use some valuable real estate for a special offer or other call to action. Craft a short message that offers a discount, directs recipients to your website, or provides a tip that will be relevant and useful to the reader.

If you hit the mark with a specific call to action or other helpful information, you can make your card instantly memorable and generate more leads in the process.