Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Designing your business cards

Business cards are essential for your marketing! They are a cheap and simple way of advertising.

For business cards, there really is no standard format. However, there are a few formats that are common:
  • 85 x 55 mm (EU credit card size used in Belgium, Germany, France, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland)
  • 85.6 x 54 mm / 3.370 x 2.125 in (credit card size according to ISO 7810)
  • 74 x 52 mm / 2.913 x 2.047 in (ISO 216, A8)
  • 81 x 57 mm / 3.2 x 2.2 in (DIN C8)
  • 100 x 65 mm / 3.937 x 2.559 in (with photo)
  • 88.9 x 50.8 mm / 3.5 x 2 (business card size in U.S. and UK)
  • 91 x 55 mm / 3.582 x 2.165 in (Japanese business card format)
  • 90 x 55 mm / 3.54 x 2.165 in (used in Australia, Denmark, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden)
  • 90 x 54 mm / 3.543 x 2.125 in (used in Hong Kong and China)
  • 90 x 50 mm / 3.543 x 1.968 in (used in Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Finland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Hungary)
  • Fold-over business cards usually folded to one of the above formats
As paper, you should select something stable, such as 300 g/m² or 350 g/m². Thin paper is cheaper, but does not look professional.

You can design and print your business cards on one side or on both sides. The one-sided print usually is a little bit cheaper. You can just have something printed in black on the front side - the print shop will call this 1/0. Or you have something printed in black on both sides - 1/1.
However, I recommend using color. Either just on the front side (4/0) or the front side colored and the back side in black (4/1), or both sides in color (4/4). '4' stands for the four printing colors used: cyan, magenta, yellow and black.
You can also use special colors - at additional cost of course.
Also, you have the opportunit to have your business cards coated with a UV lacquer. This is offered by most of the print shops now.
Another possibility, which is particularly common in the U.S. is the thermography process. Thsi simulates the more expensive raised-print effect with the application of plastic powder that is melted onto the card.

The font on your cards should be adjusted depending on the appeal wanted. Avoid using all capital, script or ornate writing - these are difficult to read.
Select a font size that is not too small - less than 8 pt can only be read by some people with the help of a magnifying glass.

Your business card should appear clearly. Do not stuff it with too much text. Do not overload your card with too much information, as this will appear cluttered.

If you already have a Corporate Design (CD) - a consistent corporate identity - you should also use it for your business cards. At least your logo should appear on your cards!

Important content of your business card:
  • Logo
  • Company name
  • Maybe a short description of the company
  • First name, last name, title, function
  • Full address
  • Telephone, mobile telephone number, fax
  • E-mail
  • Website, blog, facebook page
There are several possibilities for having your business card printed.
One way to print the cards is doing it yourself - with your own printer and special business card paper. However, since this appears unprofessional, takes time and is not necessarily cheaper than having the cards printed professionally, you should make use of another possibility: You can use a local print shop or an internet print shop. Mot internet print shops are a little bit cheaper - however, they lack personal contact. To find an internet print shop simply google 'printing business cards'.

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