Business Card Design: The 4 Key Reasons You Need One

Mandy Thomas

Friday, April 30, 2021

9 minutes

Don’t take business cards for granted. That little piece of card has been proven to add value to you and your business.

If you want to make a memorable first impression, you need to consider the design of your business card and the information entailed in it. We discover why business cards are so important, and how they can be used as a powerful marketing tool.

In this article, we cover the following:

  • The 2 types of business cards
  • The power of a business card design
  • 4 key reasons you need a business card
  • What to include in your business card
  • Tips for designing your business card

2 Types of business cards

Print business cards:

A print business card is a small, tangible, usually credit-card-sized paper card that details your business details, such as name, contact details, address and logo. It is the classic business card that has been the cornerstone of corporate identity for hundreds of years.

Digital business cards:

The savvy-detail packed piece of paper has recently undergone digitalisation. A digital business card is a file that contains the same information as a paper business card but created for an online platform. This type of business card allows for the use of interactive elements, such as links and motion. 

One has to consider the needs of their target market when choosing the type of business card that will suit their prospects. Making it ideal to try both options to see which fits your communication style best (7). Our focal point this month is on print business cards, we tell you everything you need to know to create a top-notch business card design.

The power of a business card design

Even though some people no longer see the relevance of having a business card, or they just don’t care about the contents entailed and end up throwing it away - the trick to convince people to hold on to it longer is to elevate each design beyond normal expectations (1)

Research states that of the 10 billion cards printed each year, 8 billion will be tossed within a week. However, despite 88% of cards being thrown away, a company’s sales increase by 2.5% for every 2,000 business cards handed out (1).

It is important to consider the following when it comes to business cards:

Adds a personal touch: A business card design being a tangible asset allows people to touch, feel and hold it, creating a personal touch and acting as a representation of you. This can leave an impression on your audience in ways that words might fail to do. Use it to your advantage (2).

Creates a conversation: A good business card can initiate a conversation between you and a prospect. You meet someone and exchange contact details digitally and it ends there, but hand over a well-designed business card and that makes an impression on that person. An impressed prospect is likely to show it to others — continuing to market for you (6)

“The more unique the card, the more you’ll open lines of communication” (Small Business BC, 2017). - Quote

Acts as a physical reminder: People you have encountered are likely remember you and your business because they can put a face to the business card. It can help people remember the type of person you are, and the business you are in.

A business card design can be passed on easily: Business cards are easily exchanged between people, and is a form of advertising that allows you to distribute to people without any digital limitations that might arise.

Business card designs - client The BFPG logo and font
Figure 1: The BFPG logo and font reflects speed, energy and forward-movement.

The BF Petroleum Group is a leading petroleum wholesaler and fuel solutions supplier. An agile brand identity was developed to translate the logo onto vehicles, signage, corporate stationery and marketing materials. From the combination of design elements created, the brand identity symbolises speed, energy and forward-movement which can also be reflected on the business card.

Business Card Design - client BFPG Petroleum Group business cards
Figure 2: The BFPG business card shows how this tangible asset is used as an extension of yourself and your business.

The BFPG business card design incorporates the brand’s design elements to create a memorable and recognisable look and feel if prospects were to ever encounter the brand in the future. Another added feature, besides the contact details, logo and tagline, is the ’35’ year logo icon on the top right corner. Having an icon such as that can inform your potential clients and customers of the years you have been in the industry and the effort you made to incorporate that element. It not only shows creativity but professionalism as well.

4 Key reasons why you need a business card

Here are 4 key reasons why you need a business card as a professional:

1. Business cards create genuine connections

Contact information exchanged via text or email on the spot can be convenient but it is also extremely impersonal. Engaging in eye contact and actual conversation is how real relationships begin, and the exchange of business cards encourages this (6).

2. Business cards show that you are a professional

Having a business card indicates that you took the time and effort to design one. When meeting other professionals, instead of jotting down information on the phone or a piece of paper, having a business card promptly available indicates that you are always ready and competent.

3. Having a business card keeps one focused on the goal

When placed in a situation where you are attending business conferences and events, with business cards in your possession, you can immediately create a goal for yourself. For example, your goal may be to distribute a minimum of 30 business cards at the business conference. You can also set other goals to meet and exchange business cards with 20 other business owners. Your business cards can serve as a reminder and keep you focused on the goal if you decide to approach networking events in this manner (3).

4. Business cards are suitable for every customer

Business cards can be exchanged with any type of customer, whether or not digital platforms are accessible to them. Say one’s cellphone dies and they cannot access their contacts or mailing list, or they do not have internet access to search your contact details — a business card acts as a consistent point of reference that addresses limitations that could arise when your contact details only exist online.

What to include in your business card design

“A good business card is an extension of your brand that conveys the right information about who you are and what you do in a memorable, powerful, and meaningful way”. - quote

Business Card Design - client Tipublox Energy Group  usiness cards
Figure 3: Tipublox logo, slogan and corporate stationery.

The Tipublox business card layout and design reflect its overall brand identity. From the colours to the font type - they have all been added to the business card to remind prospects of the business and person they engaged with. The font driven logo and the tagline, Dream Big is positioned in the back of the business card, with all the other contact details and website URL. Also, the pink branded element on the front is known as the ‘Tipublox burst’. Visually, it is a bold embodiment of the energy that fuels the company, as seen in various facets: infrastructure, fuel nozzles, pipes, roads and even tankers. The Tipublox burst is used to entrench the brand across multiple touch-points.

A business card is an opportunity to connect with new potential clients, enhance the legitimacy of a business, and help businesses and brands develop a human connection. What follows is the necessary information that needs to be on your business card design in order to create a powerful connection that draws people attention to your business:

  • Logo and tagline: Because business cards are an extension of yourself and your business, their design needs to include your logo and tagline. This immediately communicates your brand identity to prospects and gives them an understanding of who you are and what you stand for. The objective is that anyone holding your business card will be able to identify and instantly recognise your brand whenever they see it in the future (4).
  • Name and job title: This one is an obvious one. Your name and job title need to form part of your business card design. A business card introduces you to people, therefore, you need to have the correct name you would like to be called as. When it comes to a job title, you need to state your main function in the business so that people can understand your role and responsibilities in the business.
  • Contact information: These details need to be correct and up-to-date. To get people to contact you, you have to tell them how (4). Therefore, have direct contact details in which people can reach you anytime, this includes email addresses as well.
  • Your website: People tend to visit websites first when they want to evaluate and use a brand’s products and/or services. Therefore, when you include your website in your business card design, prospects will be able to check you out and find out more about you.
  • Social media profiles: You do not necessarily have to include all your social media platforms, just the ones that contain the most information and content about your business. Having social media presence has become an integral part of both traditional and virtual business. In this age, if you do not have a social media presence, you don’t exist in the eyes of your customers (4). By including your social media profiles, you are giving prospective clients and customers different avenues they can connect with you.

“Be strategic about your social media listings and list only a few channels where prospects can get a good taste of your work” - quote

  • Consider the white space: The aim is not to overload your business card with a lot of information. The point of a business card is to invite prospective clients to connect with you, and clutter is not the most attractive pursuit. The white space does not necessarily have to be white, it can be any colour. This just means there needs to enough space for your information to fit and read well.

  • Creativity: Although it is just a little rectangular card, don’t be afraid to play around with the layout and texture of the card. If you have an eye-catching business card design, people are more likely to hang on to it longer and remember you even better. Do you want your logo to be embossed? Do you want to laminate your card? You need to make the right decision and design your card to suit your needs, as well as represent the brand.

Business Card Design - client Nelson Mandela University Investment Company business cards
Figure 4: A business card layout for Nelson Mandela University Investment Company.

To ensure consistency and cohesiveness, the image above from Nelson Mandela University Investment Company indicates how the contact information, logo and tagline should be structured on the business card. Nelson Mandela University has access to various assets, IP and inventions not yet commercialised. Due to a rising need to add new dividends to its revenue stream, Nelson Mandela University has an investment company that addresses this need, along with the help of the various stakeholders involved.

Tips for designing your very own business cards

In this digital age, business cards are still relevant and necessary for all business. If you are considering designing your own business cards, please keep in mind the following:

  1. Have a grid in order to give your business card structure.
  2. Keep it simple by not over embellishing your business card.
  3. Have a design concept for your business cards that will make your brand stand out.
  4. Introduce visual imagery to attract prospects’ attention.
  5. Keep your business cards on-trend with flat graphics and icons.
  6. Apply a colour palette that works for you — black and white are usually used with a hint of bright colours.
  7. Add your logo and tagline to your cards to reinforce your business’s brand. If you do not have a logo or a tagline, you can easily create one using your initials and the vision of your brand.
  8. Include your job title with your design, using graphics and strong styles to communicate your field of work.
  9. Use special finishes to have a greater impact on your business card. Include die-cut finishes, or foil blocking, spot UV and even metallic inks to add value to the design (5).

If you have not yet designed and produced business cards, you need to start now. You can contact us to get a free quotation on business card design, including printing and delivery. 

1. Credit Donkey
2. Small Business BC
4. Julia Melymbrose
5. Sam Hampton-Smith
6. Jonathan Long
7. Natalia Shpitula