Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. That certainly seems to be the case with business cards. While the colors and styling have changed to keep pace with the times and our changing world, the essential elements of a great business card are the same as they ever were. If you’re just starting out in business, or are looking to overhaul your corporate style, here’s a quick primer below to make sure that you get your new design off on a solid footing.

Color Matching

If your company colors are blue, don’t make your business cards bright yellow. Stick with the consistent application of your company’s colors and logo for maximum impact. Remember, your business card isn’t just a handy way to give people your contact information, but it’s also an extension of your brand. Treat it as such and design it accordingly. Note that you can deviate slightly from your standard pallet, but not much, because you definitely want to maintain that consistent, unified look and feel.

High Impact Information

Business cards are small. There’s not a lot of room on them to go into a big dissertation on this or that topic. Because of that, you should keep the information on your business card to an absolute minimum and make every word count. Treat it like a paper Tweet. Limited number of characters, but you still want to get the biggest bang for your business card buck. That means planning every word, and even every bit of punctuation, carefully.

Ease Of Reading

Two points here. First, your desire to fit maximum information on your card must be balanced against human readability. Six point font is not going to be appreciated. Neither will bad color combinations, such as yellow text on a blue background. Take the people you plan to give these cards to into consideration when designing, and design for them.

High Quality Paper

Don’t use a perforated sheet you stick in your printer. Use a high grade bond paper with some heft to it. If your business card looks like it was made during amateur hour, then that’s how people are going to think of your company too. That’s probably not the image you’re hoping to project, so don’t shoot yourself in the foot.

Audience Fit

Just as you want to design your card with your brand in mind, using the same colors, including your logo and so on, you also want to design with your audience in mind. Who will you be giving these to? If your primary customer base is made up of retired circus clowns, you’re probably going to have a different looking card than if your customer base is primarily people in the medical profession. There may be some crossover, sure, but don’t bet the ranch on it.

Designing a great business card isn’t difficult, but it’s harder than it looks. Careful attention has to be paid to the fundamentals. No matter how time and technology have changed the world around us, those fundamentals remain the same. Design with care and make sure you get your business cards right.

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