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

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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.

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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 August 25, 2021

Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

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Why Personal Branding Is Important to Your Career

As a recruiter, I have met and interviewed hundreds of candidates who have no idea who they are.

Without a personal brand, candidates struggle to answer the question: “tell me about yourself—who are you?” They have no idea about who they are, what their strengths are, and how they can add value to the company. They present their CV’s believing that their CV is the key to their career success. In some ways, your CV still has its use. However, in today’s job market, you need more than a CV to stand out in a crowd.

According to Celinne Da Costa:[1]

“Personal brand is essentially your golden ticket to networking with the right people, getting hired for a dream job, or building an influential business.” She believes that “a strong personal brand allows you to stand out in an oversaturated marketplace by exposing desired audiences to your vision, skillset, and personality in a way that is strategically aligned with your career goals.”

A personal brand opens up your world to so many more career opportunities that you would never have been exposed to with just your CV.

What Is Your Personal Brand?

“Personal branding is how you distinctively market your uniqueness.” —Bernard Kelvin Clive

Today, the job market is very competitive and tough. Having a great CV will only let you go so far because everyone has a CV, but no one else has your distinct personal brand! It is your personal brand that differentiates you from everyone else and that is what people buy—you.

Your personal brand is your mark on the world. It is how people you interact with and the world see you. It is your legacy—it is more important than a business brand because your personal brand lasts forever.

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I have coached people who have very successful careers, and they come to me because they have suddenly found that they are not getting the opportunities or having the conversations that would them to their next role. They are having what I call a “career meltdown,” all because they have no personal brand.

A personal brand helps you become conscious of your differences and your uniqueness. It allows you to position yourself in a way that makes you stand out from the pack, especially among other potential job applicants.

Don’t get me wrong, having a great CV and a great LinkedIn profile is important. However, there are a few steps that you have to take to have a CV and LinkedIn profile that is aligned to who you are, the value you offer to the market, and the personal guarantee that you deliver results.

Building your personal brand is about strategically, creatively, and professionally presenting what makes you, you. Knowing who you are and the value you bring to the table enables you to be more informed, agile, and adaptable to the changing dynamic world of work. This is how you can avoid having a series of career meltdowns.

Your Personal Brand Is Essential for Your Career Success

In her article, Why Personal Branding Is More Important Than Ever, Caroline Castrillon outlines key reasons why a personal brand is essential for career success.

According to Castrillon,[2]

“One reason is that it is more popular for recruiters to use social media during the interview process. According to a 2018 CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and 43% of employers use social media to check on current employees.”

The first thing I do as a recruiter when I want to check out a candidate or coaching client is to look them up on LinkedIn or other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Your digital footprint is the window that highlights to the world who you are. When you have no control over how you want to be seen, you are making a big mistake because you are leaving it up to someone else to make a judgment for you as to who you are.

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As Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, once said, “Your brand is what people say about you when you are not in the room.”

In her book, Becoming, Michelle Obama writes about the importance of having a personal brand and her journey to defining her personal brand. She wrote that:

“if you don’t get out there and define yourself, you’ll be quickly and inaccurately defined by others.”

When you have a personal brand, you are in control. You know exactly what people will say about you when you leave the room.

The magic of a personal brand is that gives you control over how you want to be seen in the world. Your confidence and self-belief enable you to leverage opportunities and make informed decisions about your career and your future. You no longer experience the frustrations of a career meltdown or being at a crossroads not knowing what to do next with your career or your life. With a personal brand, you have focus, clarity, and a strategy to move forward toward future success.

Creating your personal brand does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of work and self-reflection. You will be expected to step outside of your comfort zone not once, but many times.

The good news is that the more time you spend outside of your comfort zone, the more you will like being there. Being outside of your comfort zone is where you can test the viability of and fine-tune your personal brand.

5 Key Steps to Creating Your Personal Brand

These five steps will help you create a personal brand that will deliver you the results you desire with your career and in life.

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1. Set Your Personal Goals

What is it that you want to do in the next five years? What will your future self be doing in the next five to ten years? What is important to you? If you can answer these questions, then you are on the right path. If not, then you have to start thinking about them.

2. Create Your Unique Value Proposition

Create your unique value proposition by asking yourself these four questions:

  1. What are your personality features? What benefit do you offer people?
  2. Who are you and why do people enjoy working with you?
  3. What do you do and what do people want you to do for them? How do you solve their problems?
  4. What makes you different from others like you?

The answers to these questions will give you the information you need to create your professional story, which is the key step to creating your personal brand.

3. Write Your Professional Story

Knowing who you are, what you want, and the unique value you offer is essential to you creating your professional story. People remember stories. Your personal story incorporates your value proposition and tells people who you are and what makes you unique. This is what people will remember about you.

4. Determine Which Platforms Will Support Your Personal Brand

Decide which social media accounts and online platforms will best represent your brand and allow you to share your voice. In a professional capacity, having a LinkedIn profile and a CV that reflects your brand is key to your positioning in relation to role opportunities. People will be connecting with you because they will like the story you are telling.

5. Become Recognized for Sharing Your Knowledge and Expertise

A great way for you to promote yourself is by sharing knowledge and helping others. This is where you prove you know your stuff and you gain exposure for doing so. You can do this through social media, writing, commenting, video, joining professional groups, networking, etc. Find your own style and uniqueness and use it to attract clients, the opportunities, or the jobs you desire.

The importance of having a personal brand is not going to go away. In fact, it is the only way where you can stand out and be unique in a complex changing world of work. If you don’t have a personal brand, someone will do it for you. If you let this happen, you have no control and you may not like the story they create.

Standing out from others takes time and investment. Most people cannot make the change by themselves, and this is where engaging a personal brand coach is a viable option to consider.

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As a personal brand coach, working with my clients to create their personal brand is my passion. I love the fact that we can work together to create a personal story that defines exactly what people will say when you leave the room.

Other People’s Stories

Listening to other people’s stories is a great way to learn. In his article, 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding, Rafael Dos Santos presents the best Ted Talks where speakers share their stories about the “why,” “what,” and “how” of personal branding.((GuidedPR: 7 TED Talks About Personal Branding))

Take some time out to listen to these speakers sharing their stories and thoughts about personal branding. You will definitely learn so much about how you can start your journey of defining yourself and taking control of your professional and personal life.

Your personal brand, without a doubt, is your secret weapon to your career success. As Michelle Obama said,

“your story is what you have, what you will always have. It is something to own.”

So, go own your story. Go on the journey to create your personal brand that defines who you are, highlights your uniqueness, and the value you offer to the world.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

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