Thursday, October 1, 2009

Business Card Design: Fact or Fiction

Business card design is one of the most overlooked marketing technique in modern advertising. Oftentimes, designers simply slap contact information and a symbol on a business card or, even worse, cram it with so many images and colors that the design becomes gaudy and overshadows the card's intent, which is to convince prospective clients of one's knowledge and professionalism and encourage them to initiate contact.

Facts about business card design

Here is an overview of business card design fact and fiction. A great business design will most definitely produce the results you are looking for and this success can be achieved by following these basic guidelines.

To get more sales uses more graphics.

The use of graphics can turn a business card design from a good to a great one, but graphics should be restricted to an emblem and a photo. Any graphic besides an emblem and a picture will serve only to encumber the card and overshadow the crucial information intended for the potential customers. The use of white space is very vital to making the most important elements stand out.

The more information you can fit on the card, the improved chance you have of getting a response.

A business card should give clients painless access to information. Do not include promotions, sales, etc.., because the card might be carried in a wallet or filled away in a Rolodex for weeks, months or even years before a buyer initiates contact regarding your service. If you make this mistake, you may have to honor a promotion even though it might be discontinued. A well-designed business card contains these elements:
* The card-issuer's name
* The card-issuer's title
* The name of the company or organization
* Address
* Phone number(s)
* E-mail address
* Website URL
* Tagline
* A brief list of products and/or services
* Logo
* Optionally, a business card can include a photograph or company hours

The card should be easily readable; you should use font like Arial and Times New Roman.

All business cards should look identical.

You can have different business cards depending on whether you are dealing a person, a company or an industry. You can always single out a well-designed business card from a crowd. The key to making a business card stick out is by using a rare blend of colors and design elements. A simple line under a specific section can go a long way in having a notable business card. Products, storefronts and even real estate can be used as design elements. If your business works on a schedule (i.e a radio station), you can add extra information on the back of the card to set the business card design apart. You can include product-offering list and extra, if your business card design is a folded card.
Business cards can be designed both horizontally and vertically; thus you can be as creative as possible in a 3.5-inch by 2-inch space.

I can use any paper, I want.

Your prospective clients' opinion of your business card is cheapened by using flimsy paper, perforated edges and paper company brand names. Well-designed business cards are always made from professional papers. 13-point matte paper or 14-point gloss paper is what the professional use and you should too.

I can print the business cards myself.

You will be doing yourself a disservice, if you decide to print your business cards on home printers, like inkjet, deskjet, and copiers; they just don't have the quality of professional printing ink. Just like paper, the quality of your business card ink denotes the quality of your service, and the two work hand-in-hand to make your clients take you seriously and boost your return on investment. Professional ink is bright and full, fade-resistant and works with the rest of your business card design to leave a lasting and professional impression on prospective customers.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Business Card Layouts that Customers Love

The standing and the stability of the wallet of graphic designers depends on their skill to create stunning designs which ultimately amaze their customers. Business cards are the easiest form of advertising but they are the most difficult medium to design. Some text, a photograph and a emblem is what you are usually limited to on business cards due to their small size, 3.5-inch by 2-inch; they must also contain the identical type of information. The key to standing out - and therefore impressing your customers - is to test several business card layouts.

Here are some useful tips...

Contrast backgrounds or shapes

To easily make a business card layout standout, you should have different backgrounds between two parts of the card. For example, the top half of a horizontal layout could be where you place your emblem and business name on a white background, then use a shade of the corporation's color to fill the bottom half and use a curved line to divide between the two halves. This bottom half is where you could place the contact information and tag line.

Shaded boxes, circles, triangles or other could be where you put important information, but make sure to stop yourself to three colors; note that striking designs can often be creating with only two colors.

Use small fonts

Amateur designers often use large fonts that lower the overall look of the business card. Clients want to look like renowned experts in their given field, whether they're professional clowns or business executives. Fun and elegant small text are the key to making a business card stick out. You may want to keep your font in the 10 to 14-point range to make it clear. Giving these sizes to your customers will make their business cards look great, and therefore earn the respect of their customers.

Write Vertically

Placing the company name, card-issuer name, or tag line on a design element perpendicular to the rest of the card's text usually makes the business card more appealing. You can put a photo on the far left with the corporation's name positioned vertically to its right side; this work best with a horizontal layout. You could use two quadrants, where you would put the card-issuer's name and position on the top quadrant on a white background, then place the tag line and contact information on the bottom quadrant, which could be shaded with one of the business's colors.

Offset Elements

You could place text in the center of the business card like designers typically do, or right justify everything and center the business name. This is a pretty basic and bland approach. You can mix things up in your business card layout by offsetting various elements. If using a vertical layout, place the individual's name in the top left corner, center the emblem below it, then right justify the company name and contact information at the bottom of the card. Experiment with your business card layout elements, re-size them, reposition them, and soon you'll find a whole new world of business card designs.

Think outside the box

Adding a photograph of the individual on a business card is standard in many industries. Traditionally, these photographs are located in small boxes in the upper right quadrant of the business card. However, if you want to emulate today's creative designers, you can place larger photographs that lend to the overall aesthetic appeal of business cards. If you decide to use a large photograph, place it on one-third of the card's total space and use a transparent gradient to fade it into the remainder of the business card layout. Another way to emphasize a specific person and his skills is to include a full-body photo interacting with the card's text elements; for example a person smiling and pointing to the tag line.

All business cards don't have to look similar, even though they serve the same function. By using stylish design, like shapes, styles, colors, you will assure yourself a business card layout that clients will love.