Let’s get real. Business cards are tricky things to design. They are small in size and you have to fit a ton of information on them.
Often they are the first impression that’s made on a client. What pressure!
While there are many fine designs out there, here are some that fall flat. Maybe it’s the obnoxious font choice or bad clip art. Whatever it is, we can learn where others have failed.
If you can avoid some of these major issues, you’re on your way to a set of business cards you’re proud to share.
1. This card’s color grabs your attention, but its visual clutter doesn’t keep it for long. Decide what the most important information is (probably your contact info) and stick with that!
2. To make a unique-looking card, avoid clip art if you can. If you do use clip art, make sure you place it so your viewer can easily figure out what they’re looking at (unlike the balloons on this card).
3. Avoid being tacky. I don’t have to tell you what’s bad about this one.
4. This card’s dark background and thin textured font make it hard to read.
5. While this card gives all of the information we need, it’s really generic looking. There’s nothing about the design to make it memorable.
6. The offset shape is a good thought, but it has a strange proportion that makes this diagonal line the centerpiece of the card. Additionally, it clashes with the text and makes it difficult to read.
7. Always consider the message of your business card. This design minimizes the work a victims unit does.
8. Piggybacking on the last card, this design doesn’t tell us anything about the company. Why a wolf? It also uses too many typefaces and feels cluttered.
9. This card’s photo detracts from the important information. Printing services offer double-sided printing, so if you want to use a photo, try having it as the only thing on that side.
10. Again, an inappropriate business card. Who would want to do business with a real estate broker dressed as a tennis player?!
Now how about some good?
These cards are unique and well-designed. They are tiny pieces of collectable art!
1. I know I warned against full-bleed photos and text, but this card does it right. Its white text has a thick weight to make it stand out. Additionally, the photograph is subdued, so it doesn’t compete with the white.
2. This clever vertical card conveys professional painting very effectively. The all-important paint swatch is implied in the design.
3. A llama is a risky move for a card, but its little speech bubble offers a reminder of how to pronounce this person’s name. This small addition makes this card thoughtful and memorable, especially with someone you’d like to work with.
4. There’s a lot of information on this card, but with the right mixture of scale, color and pattern, it’s easy to read.
5. This card is a foldable bouquet! The innovative design works as a standard business card with an abstract floral shape or when assembled as a neat novelty item.
From bad to good
When you are deciding what you want your business card to look like, remember your audience. Who are you wanting to reach with this card? Potential clients or customers? Figure out the most critical information and design your business card around that. You can’t go wrong.