Business Cards: Splurge vs. Conserve

biz cardsAs distributors of printing, one of the most common items we produce — and get asked about by prospective clients — is business cards. They are a staple in our world, and are something everyone uses.

Since we see so many business card designs — both for our clients and friends, and from strangers we meet at networking events — and because we know what goes into producing them, we tend to be a bit judgmental about business cards. Not just how they look and feel — but how they function, and how much they (likely) cost to have made.

With online retailers essentially giving away business cards for extremely low prices, a lot of consumers have come to expect business cards to be cheap. But the fact of the matter is, they’re not. Business cards require a lot of set-up on our presses to produce relatively low quantities by comparison … so to order only 100 or 250 business cards is not always the most economic choice, compared to say 500 or 1000 or more.

That said, we understand not everyone needs such high quantities of business cards, and we are always looking at ways to save our clients money when it comes to producing their business cards.

But there are a few trends we’ve seen lately in business card designs that we think is just ridiculous, and often costly. Here are some business card trends we recommend avoiding (and why):

1. The Tiny Card

mini cards

You know the kind I’m talking about. Standard business cards are 3.5″ x 2″ in size (whether aligned horizontally or vertically) … but these mini cards are usually only 1.5″ high, or come in even other, more bizarre dimensions. The problem with these kinds of cards? For one thing, you don’t have as much space to fit in the vital information. A good business card design has legible type and plenty of white space. The smaller the card, the less real estate you have.

Another thing, these small cards get lost in the Rolodex (yes, plenty of us still use them) and wallets.

Sure, these mini-cards make you stand out … but in my book, they make you stand out in a bad way.

On the flip side … we’re not huge fans of the “tent card” style business cards, either. We think these get filled up with TOO much information (bordering on mini-brochure territory), and are extra bulky when handed out.

There’s a standard size for business cards, and there’s a reason for it.

2. Glossy/Coated Cards

glossy biz cards

Whether you like the look of a glossy or coated business card really comes down to personal taste — but there is one big reason NOT to use them for practical reasons: you can’t write on them.

How often do you find yourself meeting someone, getting their card, and then jotting a note down on the card (front or back) for yourself to follow-up with that person later? But most pens won’t write on a glossy or coated card.

At the very least, if you want a glossy look, limit yourself to a glossy coating on one side only, and leave white space on the matte finished side so people can still jot down notes.

3. Not Enough White Space

no white space biz cards

Similarly, we encourage business card designs that leave plenty of white space for making those notes! If you have a one-sided design, and a blank back to your business card, mission accomplished. But if you’re imprinting both sides of the card, make sure there is some room for people to jot down a quick note. That was a large part of the logic behind the design we used for the backside of our own business cards:

jag biz cards

4. Expensive Finishes

expensive biz cards

Foil, embossing, die-cutting … these are all fancy ways to make your business cards stand out, and they are all extremely expensive. At the end of the day, people will notice your business card if you’re someone they want to connect with — and spending all that extra money on finishes like a foil or embossed logo just isn’t worth it.

For the comments: What are YOUR business card pet peeves?

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  1. A Case for White Space | Jag Forms - June 12, 2017

    […] I’ve talked before here about business cards and business card design — in particular, our feelings on expensive design trends & why we think they’re a waste of your money. […]

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