What makes a great Business card?

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The Grim Squeaker
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What makes a great Business card?

Post by The Grim Squeaker »

I'm planning to get some business cards made for myself before I start university proper, and before I do a lot of work in an upcoming convention as a photographer. (Photography being a serious push behind getting some none home-made cards made).

I was curious if anyone has any excellent examples of business cards of their own, or good tips for one. (I made a few in my old company, but the only advice I know of is simplicity, streamlining, and try to make it distinctive).
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Themightytom »

Excellence depends on your intent. When I started working at a community mental health center, I was BEYOND excited when my business cards had an appointment slip on the back, because suddenly my card was functional in a way relevant for my clients. They NEVER remember their appointments and when they do they forget who they are with or how to reach them.

What YOU could try doing is getting cards with a little window in them or maybe put an F stop chart on it.
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I am NOT a fan nof the wierd shaped cards that don't fit well in your wallet.

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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Bounty »

The best ones are simply, easy to identify (ie, you make sure you don't have to scan the card to see your name) and have all your relevant information - nothing more. I personally prefer a standard size, white background card with the name in bold black print, occupation and contact info below it in a smaller font, and maybe a discrete line motif around the edge.

You can make a logo, but be sure to think that one through beforehand and make sure it's one you want to stick with.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Lagmonster »

Don't use fancy scripts. Don't crowd the card. More white space is better. Unless you're a spam jockey, invest in good paper and ink over high quantity of production. You can add flair if you print the text in black and stylize the card with shiny or reflective inks (simple lines or geometric shapes only) to give it a stand out sparkle, but only when used in sparing amounts.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by General Zod »

If you have more money than you know what to do with, you could always spring for an augmented reality set of business cards.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by tim31 »

Apart from Zod's fantastic suggestion, these are all good points. Like any print project, proof read what you write before committing. From FML:
Today, I needed new business cards so I went to design and print some. After I designed, I was happy with them and printed off 100 copies. I live at a place called Canal Rocks. I forgot the 'C'. I now have 76 business cards which say 'anal rocks.' I already distributed 24. FML
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by General Zod »

tim31 wrote:Apart from Zod's fantastic suggestion, these are all good points. Like any print project, proof read what you write before committing. From FML:
Today, I needed new business cards so I went to design and print some. After I designed, I was happy with them and printed off 100 copies. I live at a place called Canal Rocks. I forgot the 'C'. I now have 76 business cards which say 'anal rocks.' I already distributed 24. FML
More importantly, get someone else to proof read. It's possible you'll overlook something obvious that another set of eyes might catch.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by tim31 »

Good man, that's absolutely right.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Themightytom »

General Zod wrote:
tim31 wrote:Apart from Zod's fantastic suggestion, these are all good points. Like any print project, proof read what you write before committing. From FML:
Today, I needed new business cards so I went to design and print some. After I designed, I was happy with them and printed off 100 copies. I live at a place called Canal Rocks. I forgot the 'C'. I now have 76 business cards which say 'anal rocks.' I already distributed 24. FML
More importantly, get someone else to proof read. It's possible you'll overlook something obvious that another set of eyes might catch.
Where can I hire such a person to watch my internet posts?

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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Big Phil »

The Grim Squeaker wrote:I'm planning to get some business cards made for myself before I start university proper, and before I do a lot of work in an upcoming convention as a photographer. (Photography being a serious push behind getting some none home-made cards made).

I was curious if anyone has any excellent examples of business cards of their own, or good tips for one. (I made a few in my old company, but the only advice I know of is simplicity, streamlining, and try to make it distinctive).
I printed my own business cards using Vistaprint (http://www.vistaprint.com). Alternatively, go find a commercial printshop nearby, ideally one with a graphic designer, to help you out. They'll usually have templates you can use and will help you (a little) design your cards. Vistaprint also has pretty good templates.

Most good business cards (for photography businesses) that I've seen usually have photos or images of a camera on them, to communicate quickly that you are a photographer. They're typically a little fancier and edgier than the business card of a banker or accountant, to communicate that you're "cool" and "hip."

The other important thing in my experience is to make sure you pick a consistent appearance. In other words, if you always give clients their photos in a black portfolio, your cards should probably not be bright red.

Here are some examples of "cool" business cards for photographers I found online:

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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by The Grim Squeaker »

@Sanchez - those first two are quite similiar to what I was thinking of making, thanks!
tim31 wrote:Like any print project, proof read what you write before committing.
Urgh, you're giving me trauma from my old job. Every goddamn ten seconds the boss wanted another logo added on top of 4-5 on the bottom fo the card, which meant shrinking everything, then making them into double rows. Then adding them on the side and middle of the card. In the end I just told him "Fuck your crappy ideas" [not in those words obviously], nuked them and went with the company logo i'd made, name, title and contact info with company colours and a bar on a white background, dual sided print.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Phantasee »

Out of Sanchez's examples, avoid the third one like the fucking plague. That's a terrible card and I'd throw it out before I let it clutter my wallet. For the artsy look, go with the style of the first two and make it black or dark grey with white, sans-serif text.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Korto »

Half the time when you're giving someone a card, it'll be as a convenient thing to write something on for them, like a good camera for someone to buy, what course you're doing, whatever. At some point, you will be writing shit on this card.

The point is, don't use glossy card, and have a lot of light-coloured space. Not many people have a white-paint pen for writing on slick black cardboard.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Questor »

Korto wrote:Half the time when you're giving someone a card, it'll be as a convenient thing to write something on for them, like a good camera for someone to buy, what course you're doing, whatever. At some point, you will be writing shit on this card.

The point is, don't use glossy card, and have a lot of light-coloured space. Not many people have a white-paint pen for writing on slick black cardboard.
This is very important. For business cards, If you absolutely have to have the glossy stuff, see if you can get the cardstock that is glossy on one side and matt on the other. Also, only make the front black.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Turin »

Depending on who your potential clientele is, you may want to avoid doing dark cards like some of those shown. If you plan on going after any business clients, make sure your cards can be easily scanned-and-read into a business card scanner with OCR. Lots of businesses will scan cards so they can use them for contacts dbases.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Count Chocula »

Keep it simple: white or beige background, stylized logo if necessary, your name, position, physical address, contact numbers, and Web site address as seen in the examples. Don't discount your physical address; a PO box flashes "fly by night" in big yellow bold font size 20 letters. Your Web site is your porfolio after the meeting: give it lots of water, sunlight and grow food. As an artist, your business card is simply a memory-jogger for your Web site and your phone number.

If you really want to itemize your area(s) of expertise, put them on the back of the card. And avoid mission statements like the plague. Yes, I've seen them on Fortune 500 business cards...yecch. At least the ones I've seen with mission statements had them on the back.

If you wish, I'll find and scan the business card of a graphic design company I've been using, with excellent results, for the last four years.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by TimothyC »

Personally, I went with this design on a very light yellow card stock.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by The Grim Squeaker »

The talk of a website brings up the fact that I don't Have a web-site. Currently I do all my uploading via Flickr, FB and Picasa without a dedicated website, I was just thinking of putting my email in there (without mentioning Flickr)...
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by J »

If you're a photographer you're expected to have a portfolio of some sort which can be viewed on demand. If you don't have a dedicated website, then at the very least have a link to a Flikr or Picasa folder/mini-gallery with a selected sample of your work, such as this one.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Big Phil »

The Grim Squeaker wrote:The talk of a website brings up the fact that I don't Have a web-site. Currently I do all my uploading via Flickr, FB and Picasa without a dedicated website, I was just thinking of putting my email in there (without mentioning Flickr)...
Get a basic website - they're dirt cheap and most web hosters have templates you can use to build a serviceable site without knowing HTML. GoDaddy, JustHost, WebHostingPad (this is the one I use), Bluehost, and Yahoo! all offer website hosting for fairly cheap. Mine cost $70 for three years, including email.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by The Grim Squeaker »

SancheztheWhaler wrote:
The Grim Squeaker wrote:The talk of a website brings up the fact that I don't Have a web-site. Currently I do all my uploading via Flickr, FB and Picasa without a dedicated website, I was just thinking of putting my email in there (without mentioning Flickr)...
Get a basic website - they're dirt cheap and most web hosters have templates you can use to build a serviceable site without knowing HTML. GoDaddy, JustHost, WebHostingPad (this is the one I use), Bluehost, and Yahoo! all offer website hosting for fairly cheap. Mine cost $70 for three years, including email.
I might put that on a higher priority, the business cards can wait a bit longer I suppose.

What's less of a turn off, a crappy hand built website (I might be able to get a little help, but let's face it, I'm not going to have something that'll put flickr to shame anytime soon), or a flickr photostream (constantly updated) or a single Picasa album? (rarely updated, but consistent)
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by Bounty »

Making a decent-looking website is not as hard as you make it sound. With templates and an evening of effort you can bang out something that's clean and functional. It won't have any advanced bells and whistles, but it'll look good enough to present your work.
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Re: What makes a great Business card?

Post by The Grim Squeaker »

Bounty wrote:Making a decent-looking website is not as hard as you make it sound. With templates and an evening of effort you can bang out something that's clean and functional. It won't have any advanced bells and whistles, but it'll look good enough to present your work.
I know that (I used to manage websites for 4 affiliated companies, all based on different templates), but I still need to cobble together something good. Pity, I wanted the cards before my next big photography project (working in a massive convention), but it's a shame to waste a hundred or two hundred cards.

Let it be excellent or not at all!
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