4 Tips for a Better Business Card

July 10, 2012

Recently I took up the task of scanning business cards for none other than ClientPoint. When we make a contact, they sometimes hand us a business card, so we can those puppies straight into the computer and organize them.

Over the course of scanning several hundred cards I saw more undesirable designs than I had ever imagined existed (my apologies if it was your card that I happened to scan). And among that unpleasant majority, were a few cards that effortlessly caught my eye. They were the guys who achieved these following elements:

1. Simplify Simplify Simplify: Henry David Thoreau wasn’t joking when he said, “Our life is frittered away by detail.” The most common problem I saw was people trying to pack more information than could properly (or aesthetically) fit on a card. Simplicity is huge when it comes to getting the reader to notice important bits of information. It’s 5 needles in a haystack versus 5 needles sitting on a pedestal. Give the essentials; possibly just the company name, your name, one phone number, one email and the website.

2. Blurb it: If you’ve kept the design super simple, chances are you might have a space to slip in a short blurb about your company. Something brief, maybe even just four adjectives that set you apart from the competitors or that make you memorable. I’ve come across dozens of cards where the company sounded just like the last ten that I looked at, or their name just didn’t quite make it clear what business they dealt with.

3. No Gimmicks: To be memorable you don’t need to be cheesy. Oddly shaped cards or cards with folding parts and stuff glued to them drive me crazy. Now, if this is something that is incredibly clever and really matches up with some element of your company or personality, go for it. But, playing to the latest trend of the skinny card strikes me more as attention hungry than as memorable.

4. All QR is bad QR: Alright, I’m not going to lie, these guys were awesome when they just became popular. But then I realized how completely inconvenient it was to take out my phone open up the QR scanning app and then wait for it to process the image. This was not any sort of on-the-go process. Think about it: when was the last time you scanned one of those suckers? Cnet reports that about 6% or smartphone owners do scan them, but for the visual disturbance they create, I don’t think that percentage is at all worth it.

So, if you keep it simple, skip the QR code and the other gimmicks, and slap a blub on it, I will be one happy camper when I’m scannin’ your card.

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