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25 Tips To Design Your Business Card And Make It Work For You

25 Tips To Design Your Business Card And Make It Work For You

Business cards are they key to presenting yourself in a good light, impressing important people and getting in contact with those who will further your career. If you think of designing your first business cards soon, or changing the design of those you already have, here are 25 tips to keep in mind.

1. Understand the purpose of the card

Whatever you do, the business card serves as a connection between your company and your customers. Anything beside that is an extra and should be approached as such. Make sure the main information is correct and well designed before jumping to colors and materials.

2. Clearly distinguish your personal taste from your brand

I may love pink flowers, but they have nothing to do with my writing style or consulting strategy. It might seem easy when you think about it, but you’d be surprised to see how much we lean towards what we naturally like and not what represents our company.

3. Do your research to avoid being the same as everyone in your field

Don’t be afraid of doing a little research before deciding on the design. Don’t think it will influence you to copy someone’s idea. You will be able to spot any trends going on in your field and this will prevent you from doing what everyone else is doing with their cards. Also, it might help you decide on things you want to include or elements that don’t fit into your vision.

4. Adjust the tone of the business card to the tone of your company

If what you do is funny or entertaining, then no one is expecting a boring card from you, unless you write on the back “This is so boring! Come see how we do fun!”. If you create things, then a handmade card would describe your work more than any words can. If professionalism is the core of you business, then go professional all the way.

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5. Put emphasis on the aspect you need the most currently

What is the most important thing regarding your business right now? Did you do a rebrand lately? Did you get upgraded from a specialist to CEO? Is there a new service you started to provide lately? Are there new branches added to the company or new shops opened? Maybe you changed your phone number or email. Or you really need to associate your name to the company. Think about what’s more important and make sure it’s reflected on the card.

6. Consider designing a series of cards

Think about muliple designs or colors, maybe a series with a story developing so they are collectable and exciting to receive. Pieces of a puzzle would also be a nice idea. For a more classic approach, treat the cards as your portable mini portfolio.

7. Don’t get quality and luxury mistaken

Quality is always luxury but luxury is not always quality. Think carefully when you go for fancy embosses or gold foils. If the company you run is about raw materials or living a meaningful life, then lean towards quality with minimal and clean cards. Unless you are 100% aware that everything in your card is in tune with your company’s policies and mission, don’t risk it.

8. Pay special attention to your logo

You can emphasize the company’s logo by placing it on the whole side of the card. This will help it being recognized and will serve as a cohesive visual for the business cards of other people working in your company. The more people see a logo, the faster they will recognize it (being designed well helps too).

9. Make sure to use the logo as the company name

If the logo of the company is the name of the company or includes it, make sure to use that and not the name in a random font. That way the connection to the brand is stronger. Imagine a Google card, with the name Google written in another font and in black. It would be harder (or maybe impossible) to connect it to the giant.

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10. Match the card to the company brand

If you are using colors, make sure they are the exact code of what is used in the rest of the branding material. Also, the overall style should reflect the same one used in every online presence of your company or work.

11. Test the printing quality

Before you invest in the final result, do a test to check the quality of the printing. Sometimes there’s too much black or dullness. You want to make sure things look sharp and clean. It’s a good time to double-check the colors too. Finally, test the ink to understand if it smudges easily or fades in sunlight, disappears under water or from rubbing.

12. Don’t use the same business card for multiple companies

It is very difficult to digest the information when two or more companies are in the same card, unless you want to show your relation to the companies. In such case, use only your name and an email or phone number, along with the companies’ logos. Spare further details to prevent the card from looking like a yellow page.

13. Use the back of the card

Even if you want a single side business card, you can take advantage of the back to put your signature or a handwritten note. A helpful idea is to encourage people to write something about you or how you met by having a couple of lines ready for them to fill in or a specific phrase like “How we met”.

14. Pick the right font

The font of your choice should be legible and neutral enough. Nothing sketchy or tacky should be in your card (unless that is your purpose). You can use 2-3 different sizes and strokes to create hierarchy in the text. Also make sure the numbers are not overlapping each other and are legible.

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15. Take advantage of the space

Don’t try to fill in the space, but see it as a tool to showcase the information. White serves as a great canvas, but any other solid color or subtle background can help enhance the text.

16. Choose materials wisely

Use the highest material and printing quality you can afford, but be aware of super bulky cards or ones that can easily be worn out. Use recycled paper if your company is well into the environmental industry. But don’t overdo it only to show that you are environment friendly or you’ll be mistaken for a recycling company. Same logic goes for wood, metal, glass, plastic or any other innovative material.

17. Consider the power of a hashtag

If you are on several social media, make sure to use the same hashtag on all of them. Including only one hashtag in the card will be much more effective and easier to remember than four different ones.

18. Use your work

If you do something innovative or a very specific service, you can incorporate a photography or illustration of what you do. Also, if your style is coherent and you’re famous for a specific thing, showcase that on all cards. Words can be used too, as long as you can express what you do in a couple of short sentences.

19. Use your own photo

There’s nothing wrong with putting your own photo on the card, as long as it brings something extra to the information and matches the theme of your work. It’s a good move particularly when you attend meetings and conferences or travel on a regular basis.

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20. Make it memorable

Whatever you do, you will want to make your business card memorable by including an extra something with it or telling a short significant story when you introduce your business. Stories and a nice attitude are much more likely to be remembered.

21. Don’t fall into the technology trap

Use technology only if it is accessible by your target audience. As a web design company you can use QR codes in your card, but as a florist you might not need it. The less you distance yourself from the audience, the more likely they will stick with you.

22. Approach your business from the future

What is one single thing you want people to immediately associate you with? Take a look at this meaningful poster of Michael Jackson. Use what you think is the most unique or strong feature of the company and highlight that. Just make sure it is something you already have and not what you think you do or wish to have some day.

23. Experiment with shape

Even if you belong to a non-creative industry, you might want to distance yourself from the competition by going with a non-classic shape. Squares, small rectangles and even circles are great to catch attention, but keep it small enough to fit into people’s pockets or cardholders. You might consider a foldable design too.

24. Choose objects that your company is directly connected to

Far away is the era of printing your logo on every commercial object available. Instead, choose a relevant everyday use object and transform it into your business card. Make sure the connection is direct and your company is specialized in that object/theme/industry.

25. Be creative all the way

If you want to be creative with your business card, make sure it’s so creative that everyone gets it and causes no confusion. Run a little test with people around you. Even if only one person doesn’t get it, you should not consider going with that idea, unless you’re aiming to reach a specific audience. Here’s a list of 30 creative business cards to understand what you have to compete with.

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Last Updated on April 8, 2020

9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

9 Tips for Starting a New Job and Succeeding in Your Career

Congratulations, you’re starting a new job! You’re feeling relieved that the interviews and the wait for a decision from the hiring manager is over, and you’ve finally signed the offer.

Feelings of fear and anticipation may surface now as you think about starting work on Monday. Or you may feel really confident if you have plenty of work experience.

Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones. It’s very common for seasoned professionals to overestimate themselves due to the breadth of their experience.

Companies offer different depths of on-boarding experiences.[1] Ultimately, success in your career depends on you.

Below are 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career.

1. Your Work Starts Before Your First Day

When you prepared for your interview, you likely did some research about the company. Now it’s time to go more in depth.

  • How would your manager like you to prepare for your first day? What are his/her expectations?
  • What other information can your manager provide so that you can start learning more about the role or company?
  • What company policies or reports can you review that can get you acclimatized to your new job and work environment?

You’ll need to embrace a lot of new people and information when you start your new job. What you learn before your first day at work can help you feel more grounded and prepare your mind to process new information.

2. Know Your Role and the Organization

Review the job posting and know your responsibilities. Sometimes, job postings are simplified versions of the job description. Ask your manager or human resources if there is a detailed job description of your role.

Once you understand your key responsibilities and accountabilities, ask yourself:

  • What questions do you have about the role?
  • What information do you need to do your job effectively?
  • Who do you need to meet and start building relationships with?

Continue to increase your knowledge and do your research through the company Intranet site, organizational charts, the media, LinkedIn profiles, the industry and who your company competitors are.

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This is not a one time event. Continue to do this throughout your time with the company. Every team or project you engage with will evolve and change.

Keep current and be ready to adapt by using your observational skills to be aware of changes to your work environment and people’s behaviour.

3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work

Understanding your work culture is key to help you succeed in your career.

Many of these unwritten rules will not be listed on company policies. This means you’ll need to use all of your senses to observe the environment and the people within it.

What should you wear? See what your peers and leaders are wearing. Notice everything from their jewelry down to their shoes. Once you have a good idea of the dress code you can then infuse your own style.

What are your hours of work? What do you notice about start, break and end times? Are your observations different from what you learned at the interview? What questions do you have based on your observations? Asking for clarity will help you make informed decisions and thrive in a new work setting.

What are the main communication channels?[2] What communication mediums do people use (phone, email, in-person, video)? Does the medium change in different work situations? What is your manager’s communication style and preference? These observations will help you better navigate your work environment and thrive in the workplace.

4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions

You got the job, you’re feeling confident and are eager to show how you can contribute. Check the type of language you are using when you’re approaching your work and sharing your experiences.

I’ve heard many new employees say:

  • “I used to do this at ‘X’ company …”
  • “When I worked at “X” company we implemented this really effective process …”
  • “We did this at my other company … how come you guys are not …”
  • “Why are you doing that … we used to do this …”

People usually don’t want to hear about your past company. The experiences that you had in the past are different in this new environment.

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Remember to:

  • Notice your assumptions
  • Focus on your own work
  • Ask questions, and
  • Learn more about the situation before offering suggestions.

You can then better position yourself as a trusted resource that makes informed decisions tailored to business needs.

5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification

Contrary to common belief, asking questions when you’re starting a new job is not a vulnerability.

Asking relevant questions related to your job and the company:

  • Helps you clarify expectations
  • Shows that you’ve done your research
  • Demonstrates your initiative to learn

Seeking to clarify and understand your environment and the people within it will help you become more effective at your job.

6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand

Starting a new job is the perfect time to set clear expectations with your manager and colleagues. Your actions and behaviors at work tells others about your work style and how you like to operate. So it’s essential to get clear on what feels natural to you at work and ensure that your own values are aligned with your work actions.

Here are a few questions to reflect on so that you can clearly articulate your intentions and follow through with consistent actions:

Where do you need to set expectations? Reflect on lessons learned from your previous work experiences. What types of expectations do you need to set so that you can succeed?

Why are you setting these expectations? You’ll likely need to provide context and justify why you’re setting these boundaries. Are your expectations reasonable? What are the impacts on the business?

What are your values? If you value work life balance, but you’re answering emails on weekends and during your vacation time, people will continue to expect this from you. What boundaries do you need to set for yourself at work?

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What do you want to be known for? This question requires some deep reflection. Do you want to be known as a leader who develops and empowers others? Maybe you want to be known for someone who creates an environment of respect where everyone can openly share ideas. Or maybe you want to be someone who challenges people to get outside their comfort zones?

7. Manage Up, Down, and Across

Understanding the work styles of those around you is key to a successful career. Particularly how you communicate and interact with your immediate manager.

Here are a few key questions to consider:

  • How can you make your manager’s job easier?
  • What can you do to anticipate her/his needs?
  • How can you keep them informed (and prepared) so they don’t get caught off-guard?
  • What are your strengths? How can you communicate these to him/her so that they fully understand your capabilities?

These questions can also apply if you manage a team or if you deal with multiple stakeholders.

8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company

It’s important to keep learning from diverse groups and individuals within the company. You’ll get different perspectives about the organization and others may be able to help you succeed in your role.

What types of relationships do you need to build? Why are you building this relationship?

Here are some examples of workplace relationships:

  • Immediate Manager. He/she controls your work assignments. The work can shape the success of your career.
  • Mentors. These are people who are knowledgeable about their field and the company. They are willing to share their experiences with you to help you navigate the workplace and even your career.
  • Direct Reports. Your staff can influence how successful you are at meeting your goals.
  • Mentees. They are another resource to help you keep informed about the organization and your opportunity to develop others.

Other workplace relationships include team members, stakeholders, or strategic partners/sponsors that will advocate for your work.

Learn more in this article: 10 Ways to Build Positive And Effective Work Relationships

9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” – Michelle Obama

You are part of an ecosystem that has gotten you to where you are today. Every single person and each moment that you have encountered with someone has shaped who you are – both positive and negative.

Here’s How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

Make sure you continue to nurture the relationships that you value and show gratitude to those who have helped you achieve your goals.

Summing It Up

There are many aspects of your career that you are in control of. Observe, listen, and make informed decisions. Career success depends on your actions.

Remember to not assume that your new work environment will be similar to previous ones.

Here are the 9 tips for starting a new job and succeeding in your career:

  1. Your Work Starts Before Your 1st Day
  2. Know Your Role and the Organization
  3. Learn the Unwritten Rules at Work
  4. Be Mindful of Your Assumptions
  5. Ask Questions and Seek Clarification
  6. Set Clear Expectations to Develop Your Personal Brand
  7. Manage Up, Down, and Across
  8. Build Relationships Throughout the Company
  9. Keep in Touch With Those in Your Existing Network

Celebrate, enjoy your new role, and take good care of yourself!

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Featured photo credit: Frank Romero via unsplash.com

Reference

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