Applying Everything We’ve Learned

Overview

Alright ladies and gentlemen I think now you all have a pretty decent understanding on the basics that go into designing the appropriate business card for yourself. We have touched on colors, graphics, and how to avoid appearing desperate. These are the 3 main things that I focus on with my clients and I find them to be the most common mistakes or things that people overlook when they are designing.

Pop Quiz

So I threw in some videos of an exterminator company a few posts back on here and I think this would be a good example to go over a few of the points we have talked about on here. Let’s take a look at this company here at pestandtermitepros.com and try and decide what would be an appropriate card for their business. 

The first thing we need to consider is what the actual company is which I think is pretty obvious. This isn’t a conventional business or client that I get so I think this is a good example.

First Things First…

Very rarely do I recommend doing any kind of different shapes or designs with business cards but with everything, there are exceptions. I don’t think an exception would really apply to this company so I think we can all safely agree that the standard 3.5 x 2 inches would be the most appropriate thing to do here.

The Fun Stuff

This is where I believe having a less “traditional” card would definitely be appropriate for a business like pest control. Although they definitely don’t want to make a joke of their company or anything like that, I think they can get away with having a more fun design or colors and can feel safe in doing so.

Let’s think about what these guys do and what the goal of an effective business card should be. The first and most important goal that they should be trying to reach is to stand out from other pest control companies. If you want to put a small graphic on your card, first think about what other companies might be doing as well. I think it would be safe to assume that you wouldn’t be the first person to have the idea of putting some mouse or rat traps in the background and probably wouldn’t quite enough to stand out from other exterminators. Think outside of the box and try to think of something that isn’t “gimmicky” and is unlikely that someone else would think of it.

As far as colors go, this is up to the owner and as long as you keep in mind some of the tips that I went over earlier in regards to subtle meanings that colors can portray you should be pretty safe in whatever you decide.

 

Overview

Overview

So I think I have covered most of the basics in regards to designing business cards now that I talked about images and graphics. I figured this would be a good time to do a little recap of everything I have covered on here and give anyone a chance who hasn’t been keeping up.

In General…

If there is one piece of advice I could give you to encompass it all it would have to be to keep it simple.

BUT…

As with everything when it comes to business cards, this can vary from situation to situation and of course can have exceptions depending on what business you are in. The majority of my clients are in pretty standard businesses and aren’t really trying to convey much more than what they are representing and the vast majority of my clients should definitely stick to standard colors and standard (if any) images.

The main goal of your business card is to stand out from your competition, but at the same time not seem desperate. This is a very fine line and can make or break your chances with whoever you are giving your cards to.

Although this might seem obvious, don’t forget to leave out all of your important information on your card because this is a mistake that is made more often than you would think. Click here for a few basic facts in regards to business cards if there was anything I didn’t cover.

I’ll go over a more specific example and what would be appropriate tomorrow.

More On Pictures

Graphics

After reading over my post from yesterday on whether or not it is appropriate to use pictures or certain images on your business card, I want to stay on the subject because I think my post may have been a little misleading and I want to make sure I am conveying what I want to on here.

Never Clear Cut

Yesterday I said that I usually don’t recommend going with a picture for most of my clients and I think that might have sounded misleading to anyone reading it. What I meant was for the majority of my clients, it generally isn’t a good fit. As a whole however, using an image or picture on your card is generally a good idea as long as it is tasteful, professional, and fits the business.

I am not the biggest fan of this card but being in the tech industry, I can see why they would choose something like this.

If you are out there looking for a job, you want your potential employer to remember who you are. So if you go to a convention you can bet your bottom dollar that every one else who is coming is going to be handing out business cards as well. You want them to remember you and for the most part, a small picture is just the thing to do it.

Let’s go back to this pest company I mentioned before:

These are not the clients I usually have come to me for my services but a company like this would be absolutely perfect to include some graphics and really wouldn’t have to worry about it looking too unprofessional.

I hope I’m making sense to some of you out there and am not all over the place on this thing. But hey, that’s why I am in the business of business cards and not a writer.

My Advice With Graphics

Graphics

Now that you know the basics in regards to adding some sort of image or graphic on your business card I can start giving you some of my personal advice when it comes to the subject and what I have seen over the years with clients.

Be Original

I have had a lot of people come to me with an idea for a business card and almost always want to include some sort of picture or graphic on it. While I usually advice against using a picture for my clients’ cards (it really isn’t appropriate for most professional businesses), I usually always recommend using a unique graphic if they really have their hearts set on using one. What I mean by this is try to use something other than a clip art piece that you can pull up and find in a few minutes on Google images. There are a ton of cliche pictures for every business out there and I really try and sway my clients away from using any of them. It doesn’t set you apart from your competitors and it shows that you lack creativity.

This is a good example of what I would recommend and actually love these cards:

It’s simple, clean, creative, and very unique which is always great. See their subtle choice of colors for each card? White background with a light color print sets a tone of calmness and the pictures they used aren’t something you can just find with a simple Google search.

Stick around for more from Pixel!

 

More Than Colors

Graphics

Now that we have covered some bases as far as choosing the right color goes, I figured this would be an appropriate time to get into more options to consider.

Pictures?

So now that you have decided what color schemes you want to go with, what else can we add to make your card unique and represent you and your company? A lot of clients I get want to incorporate some sort of picture or image on their card and never really know what is appropriate or not.

Well, just like choosing colors there really isn’t a definite answer to whether or not you should include some sort of image or not. Just like pretty much every other aspect of designing a business card, you always have to consider what industry you are in and what you are trying to say about your brand. Something like the card above is appropriate for a not so corporate and serious job and is probably a card for some sort of local or smaller business and I don’t think anyone would disagree that this one stands out and is easy to remember.

Let’s take a look at this company and see what you think.

Do you think a picture on this companies business card would be appropriate?

I absolutely think it would. A small picture of a mouse or some sort of exterminator graphic would be very appropriate to put on their card, as long as it isn’t too extravagant or flashy like I mentioned in my earlier posts.

Stick around for more on images next.

Now the Guys

Colors

As promised here and now that I have talked about girls and their obsession with pink and the possible consequences of choosing the color for their business card I figured this would be the perfect time to talk about guys and what the biggest mistake I have seen them make when it comes to choosing the right color for their business cards.

Gold

I think we can all agree that most men want to convey their great success and this is no different when it comes to their choice of business cards.

The majority of clients that I have that are guys want to go with gold and they want a lot of it. While the color gold definitely can signify class and wealth, you really have to be careful with how much of it you use. The right amount can portray success and strength but adding too much can give off an arrogant or pretentious message to anyone who gets the card which can be a deal breaker in the business world.

Gold is also unique because what colors you combine with it can drastically change the meaning and what you are trying to convey. For example, if you combine it with purple you are trying to convey a sense of luxury and wealth but combining with blue conveys a sense of genuine honesty.

Remember, everything I talk about on here depends on what business you are in so always keep that in mind when reading.

For the Ladies

Colors

Have you decided whether you want to go with a white or black base for your business card yet? Well, if you don’t think either of them suit your business do not worry my friends because there are still lots of options to choose from and they all say something about you and your business and have pros and cons to all of them.

I’ll talk a little bit about some of the more popular colors that I have had requests for and what they say about their business.

Pink

I think it goes without saying that a lot of girls love pink and this is no exception when it comes to business cards.

I do not recommend choosing the color of your card solely on your taste of said color however, and this is especially true for pink. While the color pink definitely has its place in the business card world I would urge anyone caution if they are considering using it.

While the color pink does give off a sense of calm and collectiveness, I think it is often not taken seriously. This is especially true when women are giving the card to men. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of guys out there who don’t look at women as equals, especially in the workplace (I am not one of these men ladies, I promise!). If they are already looking at you in this way then pink might be another sign of immaturity and your need to have everything pink.

Don’t worry girls; I’ll talk about guys’ biggest mistake next.

Black

Uncategorized

Now that I have touched on white cards yesterday, we can talk about going the total opposite direction with an all black card.

Message?

Black business cards have to be my favorite when it comes to a base color and I think always turn out to be the most professional looking. If you are thinking about going with black then be aware that this is going to make you look like you might have a lot of power and control over your business which for the most part is a good thing. But you also don’t want to appear cocky or arrogant when you hand out the card because this could create an intimidating vibe and people might want to steer clear of you.

I think handing out a black card in combination with a friendly and very warm attitude is the best combination and you can’t go wrong.

On one hand, your card tells them that you are very serious about what you do and like to take care of business first. Then on the other your warming and charming personality tells them that you are in fact still a person and someone that they can relate to.

The colors that you lay on top of the black print can change the subliminal vibe of the card completely and I will go into a little more detail about that on the next one.

Colors

Colors

Now that I have touched on having a simple business card, this one is going to be for those who think that they want to branch out a little bit and add some color to their business card.

Word of Caution

A lot of clients of mine over the years don’t believe me when I tell them that the colors that you choose to use for your business card actually says quite a lot about you and the image of your business. So like my post about your card being too flashy, the industry that you are in and what your consumer base is should be the main focus when deciding what colors you want to use.

What Does Your Card Say?

There is actually quite a bit of psychology that goes into colors and there is no exception to when it comes to the color of your business cards.

For example, an all white card with no other colors on it tells people that you are a safe and conservative person and might not be a risk taker. If you choose to put some colors on the card then the lighter they are the less professional your card appears to others and they might not take you as serious as you would have hoped.

At the same time, white cards are the most common used so take this info with a grain of salt. You definitely wouldn’t be the only one with a white card!

Pixel

Sometimes Simple is Best

Too Flashy

Over the years of designing and making business cards for clients, the desire and almost impenetrable need for something flashy is the most common mistake the I usually try to sway my customers away from. I understand the appeal of wanting something to stand out but when it comes to running a successful business and trying to look as professional as possible, sometimes simple is best.

Simple, clean, and to the point. This is what you are trying to convey when it comes to your business card. You don’t want to look like you are screaming for attention and want everyone in the room to look at you and remember your name. Although of course you want whoever to remember your name and business, you don’t want to look desperate for business and if a deal doesn’t go through, who cares?

I Want Something…

Alright, so maybe the example picture up top is a little bit boring and most people would agree (including me) that you should have some sort of element on it to separate you from others.

Sometimes all this takes is a light color instead of just black and white. If you took the same card above and maybe made the background black with white lettering it would make the whole vibe of the card different and more “James Bondish.”

Remember the most important thing, keep your industry in mind. You want your card to represent what your business is. I’ll talk more about colors next.

Pixel