Business cards are a dime a dozen.
How many more boring, Vistaprint-standard-template business cards can you look at before completely tuning out and switching your attention to something else? For me, that number is not many.
When my business partner, Zach, and I set out to create our very first business cards for EasyStart Marketing...we knew we wanted to be different.
We knew we didn’t want our business card to be drowned out with the noise of all the boring business cards on a coffee shop bulletin board.
Your business card, whether you are personally handing over a card to a potential client, or leaving a stack of cards anonymously in a local business - It simply needs to make a lasting impression.
Depending on your business’s brand, industry, and target customer market, your definition of “lasting impression” might vary.
But no matter what, you need any potential customer who picks up your business card to….
- Pick up the card in the first place (DUH!)
- Get a positive impression of your company
- Understand at least the basics about your company
- Contact you
So how do you achieve those 4 goals with your business card?
Although we are no experts at offline marketing (but hey, we’re your go-to digital marketing agency), our business cards convert better than most of the emails we send. So maybe we know a thing or two ;-)
The Beginner’s Guide to Designing a Unique Business Card
We’ll start with the basics, and work our way into some 5 tips that will help you design a business card that makes people say, “Wow!”
Step #1: Choose Your Style
Yeah, this sounds like a really broad step, but it encompasses a wide range of factors.
Choosing your business card’s style has a lot to do with your perfect customer avatar.
Your avatar, who is your ideal customer, will tell you almost everything you need to know about your future business card. After all, your ideal customer is also the customer that picks up your business card and contacts you...right?
Depending on your industry and target audience, your business card might be unique by being…
- A bold business card will use high color contrast, such as bright colors on white, or white on black, or bright red on black. You get the point - the colors stand out vividly!
- Perhaps your bold business card will experiment with a different shape, such as square or round.
- Being bold with your unique business card is a fantastic way for any small business to stand out, but not exile potential customers. Bold designs might be flashy, but they still remain in a “safe” space.
- A quirky business card gets the WOW factor for uniqueness. Quirky business cards (like ours at EasyStart Marketing) make a splash and typically aim to look unlike any other business card around.
- Perhaps your quirky business card incorporates odd patterns, colors, or shapes, or maybe it does something weird like this.
- Quirky business cards are a superb way for young companies or startups to make a bold statement in the marketplace.
...Sleek and Modern!
- Sleek, modern business cards are still obviously professional, but are in no way boring
- With sleek and modern business cards, think professional head shots, delicate and tasteful design work, and typically neutral or limited colors.
- Sleek and modern business cards work perfectly for real estate agents or entrepreneurs, as this style caters to showcase YOU.
If you’re not sure where to start (or, even if you are), I recommend doing some research on the glorious Google. Look up business cards from people or small businesses in your industry, and find a few that you absolutely love.
What makes the business card unique? What do you love about them? Why do you think the business card will attract customers?
Step #2: Decide What Information You Will Include
This second step is where you will determine which pieces of information about yourself and your business that you are going to include on your new, unique business card.
What goes on your business card can help you determine the direction that you want to go for your design. As you can imagine, it might be difficult to have a square, one-sided business card design if you have a name, title, email address, 2 phone numbers, address, fax number, and a logo to fit on there.
(I’m going to forewarn you, though - I am a firm believer in “less is more”)
When in doubt...make a list!
First, write down all the information you could possibly imagine putting on your business card, including any logos, taglines, quotes, pictures, and contact information.
Then, number those items from #1 - #Whatever (however many items you included), #1 being the highest priority (MUST make it on the business card), and the last number being the lowest priority.
I suggest including no more than 8 pieces of information on a business card, if you are doing a standard size, two-sided business card. You don’t want to overcrowd your card, and you certainly don’t want anyone having to squint to read the text.
Try to eliminate the unnecessary, and keep your unique business card simple.
Here are the must-haves, non-negotiables:
- Business name
- Your First & Last name (if different from Business name)
- Your best direct phone number
- Your best email address (preferable to be a professional email, not a @gmail.com or @yahoo.com)
- Your website URL
- Business logo
Step #3: Design Your Card in Canva
Yes, I said Canva. Not Vistaprint. Not MOO. Not NextDayFlyers. And I’ll tell you why...
Using Vistaprint or other business card design websites to actually order the business card is totally fine. Vistaprint has wonderful prices and does a solid job.
But designing your business card in an actual design program gives you way more control over your card’s final design. You have flexible access to control different design elements, such as font, color, alignment, and custom graphics.
I recommend designing a high-resolution image of your card in a design service like Canva first, and then uploading the design to Vistaprint. This is way less frustrating and time consuming, believe it or not!
Plus, Canva is free to use (besides premium design elements you can pay extra for, but I never have), so that's a huge perk!
Choose a Template
If you have some design skills or an artistic eye, by all means, design that unique business card from scratch!
But one of the things I love the most about Canva is that they have pre-designed business card templates...and like, dozens of them to choose from.
At the very least, these templates can give you a jumping off point.
Note: All of Canva's business card templates are currently in the standard, horizontal card format. If you're looking to do a square or different-shaped business card, you can still look at the templates for inspiration, but actually create your card using Canva's custom dimensions.
How to Choose Your Colors?
That’s easy! Only if you already have a logo with a solid color scheme. If you do, then be sure to use colors that are congruent with your brand and logo.
But if you don’t already have a logo or a defined color scheme, pay attention.
CoSchedule, one of our favorite go-to sources here at EasyStart Marketing, is a phenomenal resource for all things digital marketing. Specifically, the article I’m about to share about color psychology in marketing is enormously informative.
I recommend you start by reading this article from CoSchedule, and getting the basics under your belt before moving forward with your business card design.
If you’re more interested in having a digital marketing professional (*ehem, cough*) design your logo for you, EasyStart Marketing offers an a-la-carte logo design service here >>
5 Handy Business Card Design Tips
Before shoving you out into the world to design your awesome, unique business card, I want to share with you 5 tips to creating a stellar card.
1. Consider Different Shapes & Positions
Some of the most spectacularly understated business card designs stem from their subtle creativity. Playing with different shaped business cards is a great way to achieve that.
Our business cards here at EasyStart Marketing are little rounded 1 x 1 squares. We absolutely love them!
You can also design circular cards, oval cards, half size cards, or just about any customized shape you can think of (but be ready to pay a little extra).
Another subtle way to achieve a truly unique business card is to design a vertical business card. Although it’s been done a few times before, vertical cards are far less standard than a horizontal business card, and look incredibly good (in my opinion).
Just look at this vertical mockup I designed for our wonderful client, Duane Hayden!
2. Don’t Be Afraid of Single-Side
I know you’re likely trying to fit everything you can on one business card, but don’t be afraid to slim down the information, and make your business card one-sided.
That second side can be used to display your logo, headshot, or a meaningful quote that captures your personality or goals. Remember, you want your business card to not just be unique, but to give a clear synopsis of who you are as a brand or business.
3. Go High-Quality
It’s easy for us as business owners to try to slim down costs wherever and whenever we can - It’s the habit of budgeting that usually helps us manage our businesses better.
But sometimes, quality does pay off, and quality typically means a little extra dough.
With your business card, you don’t want it to fall apart the second it gets damp, or tear under light pressure. You want your cards to last longer than a few trips on a hot day inside a leather wallet (trust me, I’ve had business cards get destroyed through less).
You could also experiment with different materials, such as a suede or plastic business card!
Just a few extra bucks when ordering in bulk, the higher quality paper or material is usually worth it.
4. Save a Template
Keep your business card design consistent among all employees, partners, and management. This is HUGE for your brand!
If you have multiple employees or partners that need business cards, be sure that you keep the same template for all of them. Consistency is key when it comes to brand marketing.
Luckily, saving cards and copying them with the same template is incredibly easy to do in Canva!
5. Use Readable Fonts
Another design tip from someone who has a keen eye for detail - Fonts matter. Do not use more than 2 (maybeeeee 3, in special circumstances…) fonts on your business card. Choose clean, easy-to-read fonts for the bulk of text on your card, such as:
- Times New Roman
- Open Sans
- PT Serif
- Century Gothic
I also want to provide you three excellent articles related to choosing a font for any design project, let alone a unique business card:
No matter what crazy idea you can think of, don’t be scared to take action and try it. Just look at some of these wacky (and dare I say...UNIQUE) business cards out there and ask yourself…
...Would I pick up this business card from a coffee shop table?
...Do you understand at least the basics about the company?
…Does the business card leave a lasting impression about the company?
...Would you be inclined to contact them?
For me, the answer to all those questions for these unique business card examples is...YES!
With this guide, I trust that you feel more equipped to design a bada** and unique business card for your brand!