Business cards: 7 No-Gos!

Admittedly, business cards seem somewhat antiquated in the digitalized world. Why it still play an important role in today’s business world and which tips you should take to heart regarding the design of your business card, you will find out in this article.

“I’ll just send you an e-mail with my contact details,” a phrase you hear frequently these days. Basically this is also a great thing. Your business partner has all your contacts in digital form and can add them to his address book with just one click. It’s just a pity that many of the messages on a classic business card are no longer transmitted. A lot of things also happen on an emotional level in the business life of the 21st century. With a digital transmission of your contact data, e.g. by e-mail, you are not transmitting creativity, slogans and emotions. So the good old business card is not yet completely obsolete, because business life is still about transmitting these important messages. A well-designed business card therefore significantly improves communication with your business partners, but only if you avoid the following seven no-go areas:

1. Template and free printing

On the Internet you will find many free templates and offers to have your business cards printed. Templates do not only suppress any individuality, they can also be used by anyone else. In addition, using a template suggests to your business partner that you may be passionate about other business things as well. Often the paper quality of free offers is also mediocre. You can have your own business cards printed on excellent paper starting at about 20 EUR. That should be worth your public image, right?

2. Changed data on business cards

Actually, it should go without saying. If data such as telephone number, e-mail address or Internet domain change, new business cards with updated data are the order of the day. Sometimes I still discover smart spenders who make changes to the old business card with ballpoint pen and Tipp-Ex. Reasons for this no-go are then: “Only the domain has changed from .de to .com”, or something similar. Make sure that you appear professional and avoid this absolute no-go.

3. Unusual formats

The creative design of a business card increases the perception and leaves a lasting impression on your business partners. But avoid that the creative design becomes a nuisance. This is the case if the format of your business cards does not fit into any of your business partners’ classification systems. Here is a list of the usual formats:

WidthHeightused in
85 mm55 mmGermany, Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Austria, Turkey
88.9 mm50.8 mmUSA, England, Canada (3½ × 2 in)
90 mm55 mmAustralia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark
90 mm54 mmHong Kong
90 mm50mmArgentina, Finland, Russia, Hungary, Poland, Romania
91 mm55 mmJapan

4. The wrong amount of information on business cards

Similar to slides in a slide show, you should also avoid placing too much information on one page for business cards. But exaggerated minimalism is also not appropriate when selecting information. If the information on your business cards is reduced to contact details, it is difficult to convey creativity and emotion. Creativity and emotion can be created by a catchy slogan, a funny but appropriate idea on the back of the business card or a special graphic style. The following basic elements should be present on your business card.

Basic elements of effective business cards

  • Company name + legal form if applicable
  • Name of the person
  • Job title
  • Phone number
  • Company colour
  • email address
  • Slogan and/or unique selling points
  • Logo

Additional elements (only if necessary)

  • Fax number
  • Additional mobile number
  • Postal address
  • website

5. Empty back

The back of your business card is the most important area in my opinion. Here you can place your unique selling points, slogans and creativity in a memorable way. If you urgently need business cards, but slogans and unique selling points are not yet formulated, then this space should be used for your logo.

Tip: Business cards with large colour areas can rub off on other business cards during transport in your wallet. This then no longer looks nice. Think about how you carry your business cards most often and take this into account when designing the reverse side.

6. Poor legibility

Too small fonts are probably the most obvious reason for poorly legible business cards. But also the choice of font, color contrast and the arrangement of the elements influence the readability to an enormous extent. The contact data on your business card should have a size of at least 6pt and have a high contrast to the background (i.e. not light grey on white). If your business card is still clearly legible on a black and white copy, the chosen contrast is sufficient. Well readable business cards often also stand out because they contain the most necessary information and have enough space between the text blocks. Our eye can therefore better group the information and assign it accordingly.

7. Forgotten business cards

The most beautiful business card is useless when it is at home. Whenever it makes sense and is appropriate, I put my business cards among people. When I am asked for a business card, I do not want to leave my business partners empty-handed. That is why I have deposited a few business cards in various places over the years. Smartphone pocket, notebook pocket, glove compartment in the car, inside pocket of jacket and jacket and in the wallet. Surely you can think of more possibilities.

More than the design of a business card

No matter if you hand over the design of your business card to a professional designer or if you dare to design it yourself. It is worth investing some time and thought. Often, it is exactly in these moments that you deal with yourself and your company. Questions like, “What are my unique selling points? “, “Can I formulate my services in one sentence (slogan)? “or “Do the chosen corporate colours actually work?“.

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