Business cards are a classic way to introduce yourself to anyone at a convention, seminar or any other business event. Business cards have been in use for centuries as a formal means to introduce oneself to others.
In fact, during the mid-19th century, visitors to a house were required to introduce themselves to the lady at home by placing their cards on a tray. The tray was then taken to the owner who would know about the person who came to visit them. This is why business cards and visiting cards are two terms used interchangeably.
During the early years of the 20th century, people who owned a business would use these cards as a means to introduce their services to people in the town. These cards were designed in much detail with gold and silver lining around the card.
Times have now changed and people use marketing companies to help them design their business cards. There are certain etiquettes that designers of a business card must follow every time they develop a business card for their customers. A business card should:
- Hold the name of the cardholder.
- The title which indicates their position in business or a corporation.
- Contact information – Address, Phone, email, and fax if available.
- The oldest standard used for card printing was a black font with a white background. However, different color combinations have been introduced since then.
- Cards have a white outline in case it gets torn around the edges.
Benefits of carrying a business card
There are many benefits of carrying business cards today. Some of the most significant ones include:
Business cards symbolize professionalism and preparedness
When you are at a business meeting with the intention of making contacts, the first thing you want to do is get to know each other. Business cards do not only give you the other person’s name and contact detail, but they also tell you how prepared they are for the event. Introducing yourself with a business card gives an indication to the other side that you are well prepared to create a long-term connection them.
Portability and convenience
Many would argue that people can nowadays easily share their business information online through email or their smartphones. However, it is important to realize that business cards are quite convenient to carry, hold or distribute amongst multiple members, who do not even know your name. If you were to share your contact through a smartphone, you would need the person’s contact information before you can send them yours. All this can be avoided with a simple exchange of business cards. Eventually, you end up saving time, space, and effort.
A business card is a great way to market or even build your brand. If you are an entrepreneur and recently started your new venture, a great marketing effort would be to exchange business cards at any opportunity you get. Even when you go to a networking event, you can introduce yourself with a custom designed business card which may have your logo and website information. You can then take a cue from the exchange to introduce your company and future goals to people you network with.
Standout from the digital crowd
While everyone is exchanging their information on digital media, you can definitely stand out from the crowd by introducing yourself with a tangible and impactful business card. Believe it or not, business cards carry weight and can be felt in your hand as well as in your wallet. They still remain an ideal way to exchange information at any personal or professional event.
Rules for designing effective business cards
Although new and innovative designs have been introduced in the business world for developing business cards, the basic rules still remain the same. Here is a quick guide on how to design effective business cards:
Include only the most essential information
Business card in the other person’s hand is just like a resume on an interviewer’s desk. They only have a few seconds to skim through it and remember who you were. Therefore, it is important that you keep only the most useful information on your business card. People who include their business tagline along with reference to their social media pages like Facebook and Twitter divert the attention of the person they are sharing the information with. A card with the business name and basic contact details would do just fine.
A standard size of a business card is 3.5 by 2 inches. Besides being portable, business cards should display your information in a clear and readable font. You should avoid using colors that are hard to identify with the background. An ideal color combination would be a black font on a white background. However, any scheme based on CMYK – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key format would do.
Avoid filling the whole space
Professional designers usually leave 5mm of space around the visiting cards. This keeps useful information intact even when the card is folded from the edges due to rough use. Besides that, a clean white outline may allow the reader to take quick notes like a date when you met them.
Design your card according to your audience
If you are a marketing or an advertising firm, your target audience will require you to have quite creative and flashy cards. However, the same card design would not work for a law firm. Hence, it is important that you design your card while keeping your customers in mind. Since professional printers do not charge you much for printing your business cards, you can customize every minute detail including the font color and size.
To this date, business cards are the most effective way to market your services. They do not cost much, are easy to exchange and create a very good first impression. Anyone who wants to initiate professional contact with you will ask you for a business card. Hence, it is always better to keep a couple of them in your pocket wherever you go. You never know when it might come in handy!