business card designs

7 important things to consider when commissioning a business card

Did you ran out of business card? Just about to order a new business card design? Read about these 7 key things to make the best out of it.

Because business cards still matter!

Business cards began in the 17th century in Europe. Prosperous or aristocratic people used them to announce their impending arrival to their local town. Or even to their home.

Their shape and size was like a playing card and became a staple of the elite by the middle of the century.[1]

Today they are pretty much part of our everyday life. These small cards typically bear business information about a company or individual and are shared during formal introductions. They act as a kind of memory aid.

If you are starting your business you probably want to get some business cards printed among your branded collaterals that you can hand out to prospective clients and customers.

Read along and learn about 7 important things you need to think about before you commission a business card design.

#1 Logo and brand colours

The best is to ask the same designer to create your business card design, who worked on your logo and branding. They already know you and your business values, business story and could ensure a cohesive look and feel. You’d want a business card design that’s a perfect fit for your branded collaterals.

If that’s not possible, then you have to provide your new designer your logo in vector format and the exact colour codes of your brand. You should have received those from your previous designer as part of a brand board, brand style guide or similar.

Your new business card designer will ask questions about you and your business, so be prepared to answer them.

#2 Your name, title and contact details

It seems pretty obvious but you need to consider if and what title you want to give yourself on the business card. Especially when you are a small business owner wearing several hats at the same time, it’s not that easy as it sounds.

  • CEO or
  • Managing director or
  • Owner?


 

The same profession can be described with different words. You need to think about how you present and position yourself:

  • Creative director or
  • Brand designer or
  • Brand stylist?


 

Also, do you want to add your title at all? Because it’s not a must!

For contact details: every business has to be registered and to have a location address for tax purposes. But should this be on the business card if you run an online business? If you have no actual brick and mortar shop or offices your customers or clients can visit? Probably not.

  • Do you want to add any social media contact details or only your website, email and phone number?
  • Do you want people to call or text you or you’d prefer initial contact via your website’s online form?


 

If you have a physical shop or a beauty salon you definitely want to have the address on the business card and the online details would be secondary.

recycled paper business card example for Bruce's Organic Produce

#3 Tagline or slogan

You need to provide your business card designer with the tagline or slogan if your business has one and you want it to be part of the business card design.

Again, it’s not a must. It matters in a way that they have to plan the business card layout and font sizes accordingly.

#4 Dimensions

Your designer needs to know the size of the business card you need the design for. Different countries have different standardized business card sizes. If you are working with a designer from a different country than yours, make sure to clarify with them the card dimensions.

Also there are specialty business cards with unique sizes that could limit or enrich your design options.

The most common business card sizes are [2]:

CountryDimensions (mm)Dimensions (in)Aspect ratio
Ireland, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Slovenia, Portugal, Turkey, Nepal85 × 553.346 × 2.1651.545
Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan, Sweden, Vietnam, India, Colombia90 × 553.54 × 2.1651.636
Japan91 × 553.582 × 2.1651.655
Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia90 × 543.543 × 2.1251.667
Canada, United States88.9 × 50.83.5 × 21.75
Iran85 × 483.346 × 1.8891.771
Sri Lanka, Argentina, India, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Latvia, Mexico, South Korea and South Africa90 × 503.543 × 1.9681.8
CountryDimensions (mm)Dimensions (in)Aspect ratio
Ireland, Italy, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Slovenia, Portugal, Turkey, Nepal85 × 553.346 × 2.1651.545
Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan, Sweden, Vietnam, India, Colombia90 × 553.54 × 2.1651.636
Japan91 × 553.582 × 2.1651.655
Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Malaysia90 × 543.543 × 2.1251.667
Canada, United States88.9 × 50.83.5 × 21.75
Iran85 × 483.346 × 1.8891.771
Sri Lanka, Argentina, India, Brazil, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Latvia, Mexico, South Korea and South Africa90 × 503.543 × 1.9681.8

#5 Audience

You need to consider the situations and occasions where you will be handing out your business cards most of the time.

  • Is it a professional conference, a networking event where you are looking for collaboration partners or let’s say financial support?


 

Your audience would expect an exact to the point business card not a funny one. A clean, minimalist design with less distraction showing maturity is the best.

  • Do you plan to add a business card to every package that you ship to your customers?


 

You could consider a business card design, that doubles up as a Thank you card.

Two birds with one stone. Saves you printing costs, and gives you the option to add a personal touch/note to every purchase.

  • Do you run seminars, workshops, and events?
  • Do you have a portfolio that you wish you could share when meeting with a prospective new client?


 

You could have a folded design combined with a traditional business card. The folded ‘brochure’-like part can serve as

  • a mini-guide,
  • a practical checklist or
  • your mini-portfolio.


 

If you want to give an extra special touch you can go for a business card design that has some practical or fun applications.

While browsing the internet or Pinterest for inspiration you can find some remarkable ideas where the business card can be used as cheese grater or a bike tool or can be folded to a chair, table or sofa.

Even if you go for such a design, I recommend to get a traditional business card design as well and use them where it’s better suited.

#6 Material

While most business cards are still printed on paper/card stock, you can have it also on a

  • plastic,
  • wooden,
  • textile,
  • ceramic surface.

 

They could be even made edible!

You need to remember though that uncommon or heavier materials (wood or ceramic) would be more expensive. And the person you give your business card won’t be able to carry it with themselves in their business card holder or purse.

Also, edible business cards may be eaten quickly especially if they look delicious. So you should consider adding a traditional version to your customer.

#7 Paper types, special finishes and printing techniques

Even if you go for the traditional card stock as your choice, you still have a variety of options to make your business card unique and memorable:

  • Kraft paper,
  • cardboard paper,
  • vintage paper,
  • cotton
    paper,
  • recycled
    paper.

 

By using techniques like

  • embossing,
  • debossing,
  • metallic or
  • matte finishes.

 

Or by having a custom made stamp with a business card design on it that you can carry with yourself and stamp on a napkin if needed during a lunch meeting.

Nowadays the choices seem to be endless!

Business cards for Minett e-commerce shop in a card box

Do you need new business cards?

7 things to know about business cards infographic

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