Branding 101 // Business Card Essentials

May 22, 2015


Or, how to not mess up the design of the smallest standard paper size

The business card. A small, thin piece of paper measuring two inches by three inches, exchanged by the tens of thousands every day among professionals in quick interactions. How can a small business owner or independent contractor hope to stand out in these exchanges of very important information on such a disposable format?

First, before even thinking about improving your brand, you’ll want to make sure your business card doesn’t detract from your image. Consider the business cards you receive from others in your industry, and what they look like. If you’re in a suit & tie industry, such as law or consulting, stick to a minimalist design. All you need is one color, readable font, and the absolute basic information: name, position, contact info, website.

If you’re in a more creative or alternative industry, such as blogging or entertainment, you’ve got some more freedom with the tone of your text and the visuals, but you should still stick to the basicsĀ because less is more.

Your logo should be the most prominent part of your business card. It will communicate the spirit of your brand identity quickly and will attract attention better than a wall of indistinct text.

Shu Publishing Business Card Example

Shu Publishing Business Card

Now that the visuals are taken care of, what about text and important logistics stuff? There’s no room on a business card for your company history, a paragraph-long mission statement, or work samples, but that’s ok. After all, a business card is small for a reason.

It is not meant to communicate the entirety of your brand; it’s meant to be the starting point from which people can learn more about your brand. As long as your website is on the card, people will be able to visit your site if they’re interested. To make them interested, you’ve got to convince them that you know what you’re doing in the few seconds of attention they’ll give your card. People will always judge books by their covers, so you’ll have to design your card to work with that fact, and a disorganized, hard-to-read business card will hurt you.

Lastly, always carry your business cards with you! You don’t know when having this information vehicle will come in handy, and you’ll emphasize your professionalism by always having your visually-appealing brand materials in stock and ready.

Stack of Business Cards

Carry Your Business Cards!