I just shuffled through the stack of business cards that I keep on my desk. Most of the cards look and feel the same, with thin white paper stock, predominantly black type and maybe a logo or a graphic element.
When I am going through the cards to select a service or vendor, I find myself drawn to the same business cards over and over. The favored cards are the ones that stand out from the pack with unusual designs and production techniques.
Do you have a business card, or are you thinking of printing business cards? How will you stand out from the competition and be sure your card gets noticed by prospective customers?
Here are six business card design tactics to help you stand out from the pack:
1. Slim Cards
This is an old trick that direct mail marketers use to get you to open their junk mail. Mail marketers will vary the shapes and sizes of their postcards, catalogs and envelopes in the hopes that when you collect your stack of mail, their piece will jut out from the pile and entice you to open it. Use the same trick for your business cards by creating a slim design that just doesn't fit in with the rest of the cards in the pile. Slim cards like the design shown below, will attract attention and usually come out looking very sleek and creative.
Image via www.cardobserver.com.
2. Metal Cards
Want a business card design that you can't ignore? Try printing a metal business card. Because they are heavier than regular business cards and even plastic cards, metal cards just feel more valuable to recipients. The design possibilities for a metal card are also intriguing. Many businesses choose designs that really play up the metal format. The example shown below is designed to look like a cross between an army dog tag and a credit card. In this example, the company also added a matte-sticker element to the card, which shows the person's name and interesting personality traits.
Image via www.inspiredology.com.
3. Creative Die Cuts
You can't just throw a die cut onto any card design and expect it to work. The last thing you want is for card recipient to wonder, "Why is there a big chunk of paper missing in the middle?" The best die cut business card designs incorporate the cut-out shape into the card design in a clever way. The sample shown below has a humorous design mimicking ruled-notebook paper, with the three-ring binder whole shown using a die cut at the top left corner.
Image via www.creativebits.org.
4. Plastic Cards
If you want your business card to physically feel more valuable when its in a person's hands, then print a plastic business card. We all know how our credit cards, gift cards and other membership cards feel when we touch them. These cards are important enough to keep in a wallet and carry around with us wherever we go. A plastic business card shares that same sense of significance when you hand it over to a recipient. It feels like an ATM card or health insurance card and the recipient will subconsciusly make that connection and ascribe a certain level of value to your card as well. The design shown below is clean and minimal and this works well well with the plastic format.
Image via www.creativebits.org.
5. Raised Print
Raised printing is a technique that will add a level of sophistication to your business card design. This technique works really well if you have a card with a very minimal or font-based design. The raised printing will add a stylish edge to make the design more interesting. In the example shown below, the raised ink is featured as part of the circular design elements. See how the light reflects off of the raised print? You can also used raised printing to make typography stand out more.
Image via www.cobytype.blogspot.com.
6. Full Color & Full Bleed Images
Many business cards focus on typography and white space, with a few splashes of color or design in between. One way to break that mold is to use one side of the card for contact information and print a splashy illustration or photograph on the other side. An interesting graphic can stop someone who is going through a pile of cards. Try printing a photograph with your company name blocked out in white letters across the bottom. Or look to this sample below, which uses a colorful illustration and colorful type.
Image via www.graphicfetish.com.
Featured photo credit: Flickr user jaaron.