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What makes a good business card?

  • Thread starter Scottish Business Owner
  • Start date
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
I'm currently looking to purchase business cards for Scottish Business Forums as we will shortly be attending a number of events to increase our profile. Just wondering if anyone has had any really wacky or different business cards that really stood out for them. I would like to do something a bit different with ours but i'm lacking a bit of inspiration.

Your thoughts?
 
Well, when you posed a very similar question a few weeks ago I said....

1) Quality; Good quality card printed up by someone who knows their trade. I'm thinking... John Watson in Glasgow; that sort of level of quality. The sort of crappy card ones people print up at home or that some of the online suppliers do wind up a soggy mess at the bottom of my kit bag generally...

2) Design; Everybody and his dog has a copy of PhotoShop. Well dogs chase cars and it don't mean they can drive! Find a GOOD graphics artist to help; don't just rely on the printer's devil or a bloke in the pub.

3) Both the above plus maybe novelty? Plastic seems to be in this weather. Or you can do a promo on a business card sized CD or DVD. If it were nearer the end of the year I'd suggest calendars on the back do no harm.

I've two cards in front of me just now. One's for a guy I spoke to last week; he distributes ultrasonic cleaning machines. Good weight of plain white board. Solid corporate colours (two of). Good typesetting and a neat tidy logo.

The other's for a CD duplication company. Good quality board, now't wrong with the print. But a garish cluttered design, far two many colours... Something my 11 year old daughter would do... And these guys CLAIM to be designers among other things???

Guess which one come across as the solid serious dependable business? And which I'm just about to fold up into a square to go under the wobbly filing cabinet?


If it's novelty we're considering you need also to consider practicality...

Stu has directed us to some excellent examples where people have tried to break out the mould. I wonder though how many of those balloons survived long enough for the details to be put on the Rolodex? Though the picture of the girl blowing up the balloon would make a good card on its own....

Likewise there's the appropriateness factor. The Piano repair one is great; people who have pianos that need repairing though generally won't be the sort of folk who collect a stack of business cards on a week-to-week basis.... They won't mind that it doesn't fit in their wallet and can't easily be transported back to the office without damage.

I think the ones that tend to stand out for me are the ones where the novelty lies in good creative design. Not sure' I'd hire a debt collection agency who tacitly offered to break people's fingers for me; but you wouldn't forget them. Likewise the dentist's card and the photographer are down to simple good layout... Which brings us back to finding a good graphics artist and a good printer....
 
F

Foo

New Member
My business partner who is also our designer is working several of our clients business cards at the moment and the key to a good business card is the quality it is printed out.

Whether the card is laminated or glossy and colourful.

The design is important but it must be bold and graphically represents your company image as it wishes to be seen. E.g. Large Corporate or small private business.

The logo of your company is also important and should be well placed along with your contact information.

If you would like us to provide a few business card designs and a quote please get in touch. Tel: 01674 678548. Email: [email protected].
 
I think it's that quality that can be elusive though Foo.

Like many things in life it's finding the right idea executed by the right person...

About 20 years ago I had a business partner who was in the print game. He was a graphics guy basically who had brought in a couple of machines. But the hardest bit for him was getting the guys with the right skills to run them...

Nowadays digital print can be pretty good. You can achieve things on a small scale which, years ago, would have involved multiple complex processes. The only problem with that is (as with all the creative industries) because the equipment's now relatively cheap and easy to operate 'everyone' thinks they are a printer...

Of the ones on the page that Stu directed us to the one that stood out for me was the photographer's card. That very 'tactile' board with the crisp lettering embossed into it.. That's taken a bit of skill methinks...
 
F

Foo

New Member
Matt,

I do understand with what you say about the quality. But having a good long lasting business card which is can't be ripped or destroyed by staining or dirty helps allot.

Builders and car mechanics require good quality and laminated business cards which won't get dirty easily.

Your right about getting a good designer with the right skills to operate the printing machines but you can hire a machine operator to do that. It isn't Rocket science when it comes to using printing machines.

I also love the emboss style business card but these can be very expensive as a stamp is needed to make the emboss impression into the card which is place into a special press machine.

Who and where you have yor business cards made or designed depends on how much you want to spend for each business card.

I have business cards from all around the world and the most expensive one came from Hong Kong which uses embossed gold leaf.

Business cards can cost anything from 5p each to
 
Well I certainly agree that having a hard wearing card can be a bonus. For builders, mechanics, car sales and many other plastic is a very good option in this respect.

I think you're making a mistake though assuming printing is a simple matter. My business partner made the very same error many years ago. It wound up nearly bankrupting him! Having invested in machinery and even doing some manufacturer's training, he still couldn't compete with time-served craftsmen. Eventually he had to find the money to bring in an experienced printer. And for a few years he was sailing very close to the wind.

The big printers like Watson's tend to be able to invest in many different processes; and of course that particular firm is several generations old. But even that aren't the answer to 'everything'. As you say, a lot of jobs get 'farmed out'. For that reason I always suggest that clients use independent designers such as yourself to oversee the complete process. That way they can be sure the right person is doing the right job. Jack of all trades was master of none remember!

It's a bit like building a house; it's not a good idea to let an architect lay bricks nor is a brickie likely to be best placed to draw up plans! Though each seem blissfully unaware of just how hard the other's job really is!

But I don't think designers should shy away from bold design. An emboss or an overlay can be expensive yes; but if the rest of the design is in keeping such a device can make a bold statement about the person presenting it...

http://www.laseresque.com/servlet/the-29/wood-business-calling-card/Detail

http://www.plasmadesign.co.uk/metalbusinesscards.htm

I've certainly seen some very impressive business cards from HK. But of course etiquette over there sets rather more store by these things. Gold leaf's not that uncommon though; it's a traditional bookbinding material, and 20-0dd years ago a lot of foil work was done using genuine leaf.
 

ahop23

New Member
agreed- I do not think that a card has to use embossed gold leaf to be effective. I do think however that it must clearly depict your logo and let others know whta you and your company are all about. Visual appeal is what I suppose I am getting at.
 

alanbold

New Member
I use both sides of my business cards, logo and strapline on the front and Name and details on the back. It doesnt cost that much more to print double sided, I would also always get them printed by a print shop on decent card stock. By using both sides allows me to print my details using a larger font size as I hate having to squint at small fonts on business cards. Below is my card.
 
nothing does

nothing does

New Member
Ahh but to play Devil's Advocate you then lose the contact details of you put them in a binder/folder
 
nothing does

nothing does

New Member
Right, Jokes aside. What you have to clarify is what you want your business card to do.

A business card is there to provide your contact details.........to a point. A business card is also probably going to be the second piece of branding that you will present to a potential client. The first being yourself and your introduction prior to you handing over your card. So much is placed on what it conveys and justly so. This is the first visual element of your company that is delivered (unless they have had a snoop around your website). Is should do this:

1. Convey you. What you do and who you do it for (your brand)
2. Who you are (your contact details)
3. Nothing it doesn't need to. (it's not an excuse for cheap advertising)

To me the most important thing with a business card is communication. Brand and person. Clever ideas and fancy techniques aside it's about speaking silently.
 
TomB

TomB

New Member
i couldn't agree more nothing does.

Simplicity speaks volumes.

here are my cards, i have a consistent theme that runs through my business cards, adverts, flyers, letterhead etc





i hope mine fit the bill ;)
 
Pixels Ink

Pixels Ink

New Member
A lot of very good points made above.

Business cards are a very personal thing. I've designed all sorts of cards for all sorts of people on all kinds of materials. The most unusual one would have to be on acid etched steel with a die cut shape taken out of the middle. Each card cost about
 
nothing does

nothing does

New Member
Those MOO mini cards ROCK.

Cheers for the link. Always good to have designers out there to share stuff with.
 
TomB

TomB

New Member
Those Moo mini cards are fantastic.

I must get some of those!!!

it nice to share with other designers, there is so much out there. And there is no way one person can know everything.

I wonder if we could get a sticky or something with a list of recommended companies for printing, web hosting and all that. You could even do it for each category that it would be relevant to.

Would not only be a useful resource for us but if each person is recommending the company it gives other people a chance to use a company with confidence.

What do we all think, /Stu could we do this?

T
 
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Pixels Ink

Pixels Ink

New Member
They are really good for promotional stuff and a REAL bargain.

That's what I like about 'good' forums such as SBF, where people from similar trades and businesses are not afraid to share suppliers / ideas / tips etc.
 
TomB

TomB

New Member
Absolutely,

I guess that exactly what had in mind when he created this place.

Long may the sharing continue :D
 
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nothing does

nothing does

New Member
Aye, some folk (especially designers I'm sad to say) can be a bit precious about sharing tips and ideas. I think it's a must in this field to share as much as possible. If you look at all the great art movements, these were all created by a collection of like minded people sharing ideas.

Good to meet you guys that are happy and willing to share.
 
TomB

TomB

New Member
its funny though isn't it cause we are all in comptetition with each other.

But the way look at it is that my clients can only benefit from this shared knowledge.

And at the end of the day thats what i want to do in my business make sure my clients benefits from my services.

So I'm happy to share, what knowledge i have :D
 
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