Creating a business card is easy. Creating a great business card requires a little more attention to detail.
Whatever the nature of your work, a business card is a great tool for networking, advertising and reminding potential customers that you’re there for them. Thanks to the rise of digital printing, it has never been easier – or cheaper – to have a set of cards run off. However, this increase in popularity has meant that many printing companies have ended up competing on price alone – something that has led to a ‘race to the bottom’ in terms of quality. And, as you’ll discover, penny pinching on your business cards is one compromise you should not make.
One of the mistakes a lot of people make with their business cards is thinking that they are simply a way of leaving their contact details with a prospective client. Whilst they certainly serve this purpose, they are far more than this. Like any piece of marketing – your website, flyers, posters and other promotional material – your business card makes a statement about you, your company, and the quality of your work. Your card gives a customer an impression about your business: perhaps their only impression. A low-quality, dog-eared, badly-designed card will not inspire confidence. A clean, sharp and professional-looking card communicates a very different impression.
For this reason, it’s worth spending a little more time and money on your cards than many others do. You don’t have to pay a fortune, as there are still plenty of digital print companies who will do good work cheaply, but you shouldn’t assume that your customers will treat all business cards the same. If you’re proud of your work, that should come across in the card you hand them.
What makes for a quality card?
One of the biggest factors is the weight of the card. Thin cards are flimsy and easily damaged; heavier cards feel more substantial and impressive, and are less likely to be thrown away. Typical printer paper is 80 gsm (grams per square metre). Postcards generally come in at around 300 gsm. A good quality business card will usually be upwards of 350 gsm. 400 is a good starting point, and plenty are heavier still.
Print quality is another major factor. This will differ markedly across companies due to the variations in printers used. Ask for samples, look at reviews and do your research. You want any logos and images to come out at photo quality, and text to be clean and crisp. Cheaper cards (you can sometimes even get freebies) tend to have low-quality print that fades quickly and looks awful.
Finally, the card’s finish will make a big difference. Although you can leave it as plain card, better business cards will have a layer of varnish on to make them more durable, help keep them clean and bring out any images. This comes in a variety of forms (matte, gloss, silk), each of which will suit different designs and feels of card. A spot-UV finish gives a brighter shine to specific images or words.
The bottom line?
All customers have to be bought in one way or another, and you get what you pay for. Clients will recognise when you’ve made an effort to reach out to them, and when you’ve cut corners.
Image: _overanalyzer / Flickr