Although it is possible to create a business card very cheaply and quickly, it is usually wise to invest some decent time and money in developing it. Consider hiring a professional design studio, in order to design a truly professional and effective business card for you. The impression left by a creative, professional, well-printed and high quality business card will more than compensate for the extra time and expense you spend on producing it. You may want to consider just a small run of 100 cards to do a trial session with, its easy enough to print a new batch.
To start your process, collect as many business cards as you can, irrespective of where they come from. Spread them out in front of you and work out what you like and don’t like about their colour, textual information, format, design, fonts, type of paper, etc. Try to imagine which of these cards would appeal most to your target market. You could also ask some of your friends and colleagues to judge your collection of cards in a similar way, to see how much opinions vary. This will help you to establish some guidelines for your own card, so that you can communicate what you like and don’t like to your design studio.
Your design studio can guide you in developing a basic concept, or brief, for your business card. How would you like the card to look? Do you have a corporate design or logo that should be included? Which colours should predominate? How much information do you want to include? (Try to keep the non-contact-information text to a minimum – a short, catchy phrase or sentence that encapsulates succinctly what you do is usually sufficient.) Consider who you are designing the cards for and the kind of impression you want to convey.
Creative business cards open conversations and are more memorable. They also tend to stand out, and not to be thrown away or to end up lost in the middle of a big pile of cards. The more your company personality shows through in your business card, the more likely it is that a colleague/customer will remember you. However, don’t forget that a business card gives an important impression about your professionalism as well as about you, so it should meet professional standards as well as being creative, which is not as easy as it sounds!
It is obviously very important to make sure that the information displayed on your card is correct. Type it all into an email exactly as you want it shown on the card, and then check and double-check it, before you send it to the design studio. They should then copy this information exactly as you have provided it, and they should send it to you to check again before the cards are printed. If you have checked everything and it was correct, but there is a mistake later in the printing, the studio should compensate you. However, if you have not checked it and there is a mistake (no matter how big or obvious it seems), it will be your responsibility.
Make sure you know what conventions there are for business cards in your country. For example, in Spain it might be acceptable to write “Traductor ES > DE” on your card, whereas in Germany the bracket and language abbreviation would probably cause some confusion. If you are producing business cards that will be distributed internationally, you might want to consider producing different cards for different countries, taking into account the specific conventions, abbreviations, etc. used in each country. Always remember to consider your target market when designing your card.
Try to keep your design simple. Many business cards are confusing or irritating because they contain too much text, too many colours or are just too busy. Try to convey the maximum information you want with a minimum of imagery and text. A good billboard on the highway or a homepage of a website is a useful comparison: the best ones don’t have fancy images, distracting animation effects or a huge quantity of text. Instead they are simple and to the point, with a minimum of text and perhaps one catchy image or graphic; a good business card uses the same principles.
Ask your design studio to give you a range of options if possible, and then ask friends, colleagues and people unfamiliar with your field for their opinion. You might be surprised by what they tell you. The more people you consult during this creative process, the more balanced and valid the feedback. Convey to the studio which opinions you share with your audience, and what other remarks were made to take into consideration. Keep the original aim in mind and realize you will never please everybody, as long as your message is communicated appropriately and creatively.