Tailor Your Card: Business Card Etiquette

on February 13, 2017

As both enterprise and marketing continue to go digital, business cards still retain the same power they’ve always had: the power of the human touch. Taking a moment to look someone in the eye and exchange info is still crucial to a strong first impression. It shows that you’re open to embrace possibilities — and leads — as they come. Although a smart business card design may be more low-tech than most of your gear, it says just as much about your business as any radio ad or Web page.

You’ve Got the Look

Think of your business card’s design as the foundation upon which its success rests. It crystallizes your first impression, so the design should encapsulate your business. Minimal designs exude professionalism, whereas lighthearted designs position your business as fun. Striking images drive home your visual work or products. Remember to include the basics, such as your name, what you do, how to get in touch with you, your social media platforms, or even a QR code.

In terms of aesthetics, stick to bold, readable fonts. Keep your fonts, logos and color schemes consistent across your website, social media and business card, using complementary colors that are easy on the eye. A visual document of 1039 x 697 pixels at a minimum of 300 dpi makes for the sharpest image quality for a standard-size card. A striking, clever or funny design can increase your card’s shareability.

What Not to Do

Using a dozen neon colors will definitely make your card stand out in a stack, but it won’t make the most professional statement. Likewise, avoid kitschy premade fonts like Comic Sans and Papyrus. At least an 8-point font size makes things easily readable, while smaller sizes or light colors might end up blurred or lost in the printing process. Stay away from bordered designs — they may come out lopsided or inconsistent once the cards are cut. Avoid low-quality paper if possible, and don’t forget to use the blank space on the back; it’s the ideal spot for your social media links, or a thoughtful brand promise.

To Give …

Crumbled, wrinkled or stained cards won’t do your first impression any favors, socarry your cards in a holder. Be discrete. Don’t treat your cards like junk-mail fliers. Share them after you’ve already made a connection. They’re much more useful when someone can relate them to a positive memory. Don’t hesitate to write a quick note on your card to personalize the experience, something like, “Graphic designer from Milwaukee — Go Bucks!” If you’re at a meeting or mixer, however, it’s a nice gesture to leave a card at each attendee’s table setting before it starts.

… And to Receive

You have an opportunity to create a good impression when you’re on the receiving end of a business card as well. Even a simple comment on the card’s design or brand promise goes a long way. Use the card as a place to keep the business’ or professional’s contact info up to date — you can easily cross out and replace numbers and email addresses as they change. And don’t be afraid to follow up. “I was just going through my business cards and I thought I’d say hi” is more than enough reason to drop a friendly email to an interesting lead.

To see the designs in this article and more great looks, visit the Copy & Print Center for all of your business card needs.


Entrepreneur: 5 Reasons Business Cards Still Matter
Business Insider: Here Are the Secrets to a Great Business Card

Hongkiat: Business Card Design: 7 Essentials to Consider
American Marketing Association: 10 Business Card Mistakes You Might Be Making
Careerealism: 3 Rules to Smart Business Card Etiquette
U.S. News and World Report: 3 Rules of Business Card Etiquette
Lydia Ramsey: Top Ten Tips on Business Card Etiquette

About the Author 

Dan Ketchum has been a professional writer since 2003, with work appearing online and offline in Bazooka Magazine, Anemone Sidecar, the Houston Chronicle, Motley Fool and more.

This article originally appeared on Office Depot/OfficeMax