Business cards – the forgotten art form

by | 20/11/18

These days, business cards are sometimes seen as old fashioned or pointless, but remain a useful tool for networking. Although they have been around for years, business cards have, surprisingly, not evolved very much beyond the small rectangular piece of card that we are all familiar with.

However, with new technology and cheaper printing, there is now more opportunity to be creative. So why not put a little bit of fun into your business card to really make an impression at your next networking event?

Here are a few things to ask yourself when designing your next business cards.

Does size really matter?

While I have seen a few innovative cards that are square, round or a thin strip, business cards are usually all a similar size, with 85x55mm being the standard size in the UK.

Once upon a time, it was necessary to have business cards the same size, as they needed to fit in the potential customer’s business card holder or wallet. However, since people rarely use these anymore – with cards stuffed into pockets, desk drawers or scanned into CRM systems – there’s no real need to keep them all the same size.

In the office, we’ve discussed having A6 (or even A5) business cards to make us stand out. As we love words, the extra space would allow us to include more details about what we do, and we’d have quite the advantage in the ‘put your business card in a bowl to enter’ competitions.

What’s in a title?

Some people get quite obsessed over having an impressive sounding title, but are titles really that important? Surely your skills and personality are more relevant.

Titles can also be misleading. For example, I am the only graphic designer in Work PR, so I could put ‘Head of Design’ on my business card, but then people would assume that I’ve climbed the ladder to reach that position and that there are people working under me.

Here at Work PR, we’re not that fussed about titles. Our boss, David, generally refers to himself as Chief Word Wrangler, and I’m known as the Pixel Pixie. Although it might sound silly, it shows a bit more of our personality, whilst also reflecting how unimportant titles really are.

Is a photo too cheesy?

I am one of those people that used to see a business card with the owner’s photo on and assume it was some kind of egotistical statement. However, I have recently come to realise there is actually some sense behind it.

Imagine this: you go to a networking event, get chatting to dozens of people who all give you a business card. A few days later, you’re flicking through the cards and try to remember who each person was, but the only thing you have to go on is their company name and contact details. Would you be able to picture every person?

A recent study showed that the average human can recognise 5,000 faces, so including a photo on your business card will help people to instantly remember you and what you spoke about.

How does it feel?

With so many cheap online printers and business card printing machines out there, it’s easy to get a standard card printed on a cheap card, but this doesn’t exactly scream quality when you hand over your card to a potential customer.

A good, thick 400gsm card will instantly show that you’ve not just gone for the cheap option and will be more likely to be kept. And for a little extra, things like spot UV and printing on plastic/metal can make your cards stand out even more.

The material the cards are printed on can also tie into your business. For example, an artisan bakery that wants a natural, less high-tech feel could have their cards printed on kraft card, or a company could highlight their environmentally friendly practices with business cards printed on recycled card.

So remember, a business card doesn’t have to be a dull, generic handout that ends up lost in someone’s coat pocket or buried on their desk. A creative and engaging business card could be just the ticket to making a positive impression on a new client.