2011-02-23

What should be on your business card?

The business card is one paper-based product that is still useful in this digital age (that might change if near field communication becomes more popular and you can just tap devices together to exchange contact information). This post lists what you should put on your business card, with special considerations for online-dwellers.
Things to put on your business card [inspired by David Risley]:
  • Consistent branding: Reuse logos, fonts, etc. from your blog, whenever it makes sense.
  • Photos: Sometimes people forget who a business card is from. A photo is very useful for reminding them. But it doesn’t have to be on your card (where it is difficult to get right). If your card links to your Facebook page or your homepage, then you should be fine. Your homepage should have your photo, anyway, because it’s important for figuring out who someone is. Don’t be shy about this.
  • The back side: You can use the back side of your card. But you don’t have to. I like empty back sides, because it allows either the giver or the receiver of a card to add notes.
  • Don’t show too many URLs: Start with your homepage. All other sites can be linked to from there, so it is up to you what else you consider important:
    • Twitter has replaced email for some people (not for me). Use a website link for Twitter, to give people that are not familiar with it a chance.
    • More possibilities: your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing, etc.
  • Real world versus virtual world: Decide what you want to highlight. Your real-world data can instill confidence [Philipp Rauschmayer]. Or you might want to show all of your virtual identity, or just a part of it. Depending on how you live, either of the above can change quickly, so you need to factor that in when considering how long your business card should “last”.
Other things to think about [inspired by Seth Godin]:
  • Don’t print your own cards: If you do, it shows in two ways. The quality of the paper and the edges of the card. Color also tends to come out better if professionally printed.
  • Minimize clutter:
    • Don’t put too much content on your card.
    • There is not need to print “http://” before a URL, these days. People recognize what it is without that prefix, and so do web browsers.
  • Stay classy:
    • stick to one or two fonts
    • avoid big garish fonts
    • don’t use underlines or bold and italics at the same time
    • if you use color, be subtle
    • margins matter, don’t print too close to the edge
    • use proper dashes, curly quotes, and curly apostrophes
Related reading:
Any other ideas? Let us know in the comments.

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