Business cards come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are the regular single-sided cards. A two-sided business card allows more space to get it all in. Fold-over cards provide the space of four cards in one. When considering a format for your business card, think about your “audience.” How will they use and store your card?
People with a library of contacts will store business cards in rolodexes or on their computer, throwing the card away once the info is entered. Some people keep plastic sleeved notebooks. Others toss their collection of cards into a drawer to dig through on occasion. Most people start by shoving them into wallets or purses where they can collect for ages. When designing a card consider how it will be used. Here are some things to think about:
- Horizontal vs Vertical
- A business card can be horizontal or vertical, just like a photograph. Try both for best usage of space and design. Do consider that most storage systems accommodate horizontal cards.
- Picture Cards
- Many photographers choose to use an image on their cards. This is a highly visible portfolio to pass out. Consider how the text will “lie” over the photo. Is there room? You need to decide where to put the text. Will it work on the back, on the front covering part of the photograph, or below in a small blank area? Will the type have to be reversed (white on dark background) or a specific color to be visible?
- Categorize yourself?
- The image you choose may easily date or categorize you. For instance, a business card with a lovely scenic of Mt. St. Helens before the volcanic devastation is beautiful but may tell people you took this photograph a LONG time ago and have nothing new, or it shows you’ve been in the business for years, or even that you specialize in pre-eruption images of the area. If it’s a lovely butterfly and you specialize in bears, your business card boxes you into being a butterfly photographer.
- Keep it simple
- Keep it clean and keep it concise. Sunset images on cards have long been popular, so much so they’ve become a cliche. Be careful with jokes. A friend flies helicopters for stunts in movies. His card reads: Adventurer, Explorer, Ravager of Women, Rescuer of Damsels in Distress, Rogue, International Spy and other “duties”. While memorable and great for a laugh, it suits his work in the movie industry. It also shows he has a sense of humor. Do you want people to know you are serious and professional? Or light-hearted?
- Should you list EVERYTHING you do on your business card?
- Maybe. Maybe not. If you specialize in bears, elk, moose, deer and bison, could you just summarize by saying “large mammals”? Can you condense what you do into a few words? Or maybe you want to list everything. When I owned a printing company, I designed a card listing all the products we handled in the background of the card to remind people that we are a one-stop shop. If you need help figuring out what you do, check out the article on creating your mission statement of 10 words or less.
- How to find you
- When you list all the numbers and places to find you, is it overwhelming? Look at all the numbers we now have: home, work, fax, mobile, modem, email, 800 numbers, and web pages. Consider consolidating them. Take advantage of the ability of computerized auto-detection for automatically diverting faxes to the fax, data transfer to the computer, and voice to ring through or voice mail. Toll-free 800 numbers can follow you around to wherever you are, even to cellular phones. Many telecommunication companies are working to create a single “address” to handle voice, fax, data, email and more. See if there is a way to economically condense numbers so they take up less space. It also makes you easier to find.
A business card must immediately announce who you are, what you do, and where to find you. It should be memorable. Keep it simple and easy to read and your card will leave a more professional impact. Create a business card that will speak for you when you’re not around, so make sure it speaks well of you.