Here’s a new regular feature for Ladyland, I’m calling it GRAPHIC DETAIL
My ‘real job’ is branding design and art direction. When I’m not awkwardly shooting my hand, gripping random objects for life hacks, I’m designing brands. I meet so many people who have questions about design for their businesses so I thought I’d write some posts about the basics of branding, starting with the first thing people design when they start out, business cards.
I started designing business cards about 15 years ago, back when they used to include fax numbers, so I’ve seen trends come and go. Now that there are so many amazing services like Moo to help you design it yourself a lot of people are skipping the graphic designer and going straight to the printer. So here are my top 5 things to remember if you’re designing yours.
DO YOU EVEN NEED A BUSINESS CARD?
Business cards are fun to have. They make you feel legit. But do you really need one? Have a think about what your touch points are with clients, customers and other businesses. If you do all of your business via email and rarely meet clients or customers face to face, maybe a shit hot email signature will do the trick? You could add a subtle* gif to it to make it really pop.
*A subtle gif that features your branding. Not a random gif of a cat eating a pizza**
** Unless you sell pizza for cats, in which case, go nuts.
MAKE EVERYTHING RELEVANT
These days if the landline rings, it’s either your mum or a poltergeist. If you don’t use a landline, don’t put the number for it on there. Same goes for social media handles and street addresses, I’ve got twitter, but I hardly ever use it, I focus my time on Instagram, so that’s the social media handle I put on – and that’s where people will find my best work. If you’re running a business that relies on people visiting you or sending things to you, add on your address. If not, you don’t need it. And, always order the information in the order in which you want people to contact you.
DON’T SOUND LIKE A TWAT
When starting your own business it’s very tempting to big yourself up because you’re the boss, but if you’re “Jane Whatserface, Global COO, Jane Whatserface Industries”, you’ll sound like a twat. If you’re currently the only person in the business, start with something simple like Founder/Director. If your business is based on a specialist skill, make sure you say exactly what you do and keep it simple. “Jane Whatserface, Interior Designer”, not “Jane Whatserface, Founder / Director, Whatserface Interiors”.
In a similar vein, if your business name is something abstract, make sure you also state what the business does. A tagline will do. Sounds simple, but I see this mistake again and again. If the business card gets lost and turns up at the bottom of a goody from a networking event a week later, make sure the person will remember why they were given it. “Awesome Co. Jane Whatserface, Founder/Director” …What is it? What do they do? Why did I get this card?
THINK ABOUT WHO IT’S FOR
Just say Jane Whatserface runs a company that makes pizza for cats. Her business card is fun and jaunty, just like her product. It features a picture of a cat eating a pizza, she hands it out to fellow cat owners. Everybody loves it. Her cat pizza is so good, she’d like it to be stocked at Selfridges, so she goes to a networking event where she meets some high end food buyers. She needs to make sure her business card is not only fun like her brand, but also professional enough to prove to a high end retailer that she’s a serious business that will supply high quality pizza, on time, to the cats of Selfridges. On one side she might feature a cat eating a pizza, but the text, layout and finish of the card need to reflect her high quality product and business skills.
THINK ABOUT THE FINISH, SIZE AND SHAPE
There are different shapes and sizes that you can get but my advice is: make it regular business card sized and it won’t get lost. Think about where the card will end up – either in a wallet or a card holder, so make sure it fits. If it’s square, or half sized (Moo do some tiny ones), it will get lost. Make sure the finish works for you too. If you run a business where you want to write on the card – like a customer’s appointment – don’t get a glossy card that you can’t write on, go for something uncoated.
Let me know if you have any questions about branding and design. Tell me what you’d love to hear in graphic detail!