Business cards: how does yours stack up?

by Jamie Henry29 Dec 2014
A business card says a lot about a person, and the difference between a good and a bad one can make or break your memorability. We asked experts for top industry tips.
 
Gideon Keith, the creative director of Principals Branding (NZ) says he always references the business card scene from the movie American Psycho when talking to clients about how to best market themselves.
 
“While it's over the top, it illustrates some of the key things to think about,” he says. “Paper stock choice and weight, typeface and colour(s) and embellishments (foiling, embossing and die cutting). Your card should say a lot about you; it should be a reflection of your professional self -or at least the persona that you want to project.”
 
But business cards can also have cultural repercussions to consider, Keith says. He once worked on an NZTE programme where the previous design of cards had die cut round corners.
 
“It looked great but was unusable in Japan and Korea (both were key markets) because the corners were synonymous with masseuses (the kind that provide happy endings).” 
 
Should you go for a new and modern design or old fashioned?
Keith says this depends completely on what impression you want to leave people with.
 
“I personally love a beautiful, minimalist card which has been letter pressed in a single colour. It says style and confidence. Business cards that have every possible form of contact (fax number, anyone?) feel a bit needy.”
 
He says another consideration is if you are often in meetings with colleagues where you all then present the same business cards.
 
Sometimes a bit of personalisation allows everyone to represent the organisation but also show a little individuality too.
 
Is that a 3 or an 8? Talking font sizes and types
Keith says type size is one of the most important aspects of a good business card.
 
“Having now reached the age where the length of my arms now define type legibility, I am very careful about type size. Designers tend to put the aesthetic before readability.
 
“I advise clients to make the personal contact details larger than company details – if there is a hierarchy – as I want to be able to glance at the card and see the mobile or DDI easily at that's what I primarily use the card for. We've all called the fax number before because it’s listed right below the phone.”
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