Business Cards: Design Them to Leave a Lasting Impression

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Fisher & Company, P.A., Marketing & Creative Strategists

Wow, did I collect a lot of business cards at the Southeast Builders Conference over the past few days, and fortunately I was able to hand out a bunch of mine.  I hope that people will hang on to them as a reference for whenever someone says that they need help with marketing, and that they'll remember us and pass our contact info along.  I think I prefer handing out a card over a Blackberry to Blackberry data swap.  I want something that will last a lot longer than my last mobile backup. 

As I was sorting through the cards and making notes on them, I was struck by what a wide variety of looks the cards had.  Business cards are one of the most important parts of your marketing message.  Here's what a business card does:


  1. Formally announces you
  2. Creates a first impression
  3. Tells something about you (title, professionalism, accolades)
  4. Tells something about your company (culture, professionalism, length of time in business, awards, etc.)
  5. Provides important contact information
  6. Brings them to your door
  7. Sends them to your website
  8. Sends either a negative or positive message
  9. Reminds them what you do
  10. Reminds them of the product and services you provide
  11. Becomes the BRAND of your company
I am a firm believer that the look and feel of your business card is critical to making a great first impression.  Your business card should differentiate you from the rest of the competition, and there are several ways to design your business card to gain an edge over your competitors.

1.  Give the recipient the right information and leave the clutter off
  • Company Name
  • Your name
  • Job title
  • Street or mailing address
  • Direct line or mobile number
  • e-address
  • Web address

2. Stand out
  • Business cards brand you and your company.  Consider having a logo designed by a professional that you can use to further your brand.  The logo is the anchor to your card, and a logo added to another piece of collateral, such as a flyer, a brochure, or a sign, can make all the difference in establishing your brand.
  • Use a quality paper.  Cheap, flimsy paper sends the wrong message.  If you are providing quality services and products, shouldn't your business cards reflect that quality and substance?  Skip the office store do-it-yourself cards and consult with a professional printer for paper choices.  Be sure to consider other materials that may provide more information on the essence of you and your company.  I recall a very clever card once that looked like a piece of corrugated box used for shipping packages.  Guess what the company did? 
  • Since there is a lot of type on a business card, the font you select is critical.  Play with a few fonts and see which you prefer.  Avoid using generic fonts such as Arial and Courier or extreme fonts such as Jokerman.  Bypass overused fonts such as Papyrus and Mistral.  Times and Times New Roman are very over used, but I think that these will never be thought of as inappropriate as they are considered to be classic, professional fonts.
  • Run, don't walk, away from ink-jet and laser do-it-yourself printing.  Raided lettering can also be very effective in adding a quality look and feel.
  • Consider foiling or embossing your card.  Once you purchase an embossing die, you own it.  Our business cards (and letterhead) has our logo embossed, and everyone comments on it.  Foil doesn't have to be in gold or silver.  There are numerous choices available.
  • Size matters.  Do you want to do a fold over card, a traditional 2" x 3.5", or something odd shaped to reflect your company's uniqueness?  Just remember when designing your card that the card needs to be stored by the recipient.  Does anyone use a Rolodex anymore? The office supply store still has an abundance of them available, so I suppose people still do.  Business cards that I receive go in a three ring binder with plastic inserts that hold a 2" x 3.5" card perfectly.  On a Rolodex, an over sized card usually gums up the works and stops the Rolodex from spinning, and an over sized card may get pulled and tossed.  As card scanners come down in price (currently about $160 at the moment) perhaps more and more of us will switch to scanning a card, but everyone will still have to hold it in their hands and get a feel of both you and your company first before scanning.  Yes, I recognize that more and more of us are using device to device scanning, but when you send out a letter, or leave collateral for someone, you still need a first-rate business card.
            3.  Keep it easy to read
  • Watch the font size. If you have a decorative font for the company name as part of the logo, consider providing names and contact information in a simpler font so that the information is easily absorbed and understood.  
  • If you have a lot of information and you make the font size smaller to accommodate the details of who you are and what you do, try "kerning" (spacing) the letters a little further apart to help make your information more legible.
  • Consider moving things to the back of the business card, such as accolades, your picture, a picture of your office building, your sign, a famous landmark in your city, corporate philosophy, mission statement, or even a statement or slogan. (Please think carefully when developing a slogan.  Try developing something that tells people in a very few words what you are all about.)

This article has me thinking about our business cards, and I have a great new idea for something a little more creative to draw some attention to our company.  We'll be working on this over the next few weeks, but how about you?  What are you going to do about tweaking and improving your first impression?

Until next time, Happy Marketing!



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Tim and Pam Cash
Crye-Leike (Sango) - Clarksville, TN
Real Estate Professionals - Clarksville TN

Deborah, great information.  I am still working on a new card - I want something that pops and is rememberable.  Thus far I have not found it.

Aug 02, 2008 08:22 AM #1
Deborah Fisher
Fisher & Company, P.A., Marketing & Creative Strategists - Fort Worth, TX

Great, Tim and Pam.  i am so happy that this has helped you think through the process. 

Might I suggest that you grab a few cards from other industries and see what it is about each that you like.  If you have the money, have a professional design something for you.  Do you need a logo?  That's the first place to start. Get that nailed first.  Consider having someone that is a professional design your logo for you.  It will be well worth the money.  Then move on an select a font that you like.  Then do the layout.  I would consider having someone design a business card and letterhead package for you. You can typically have both done as a package very reasonably.

Please let me know how turns out.  I hope you are pleased with the results. If we can help you, let us know.

Happy marketing!


Aug 03, 2008 06:14 AM #2
David Slavin
Keller Williams Premier - Katy, TX
CDPE, ABR, SRES Keller Williams Premier

I don't work for them but I have used them for the last 2 years with great success. has hi gloss cards with rounded corners.  The ones I use are the most expensive with a background pcture and tip chart on the back.  I have had so many people comment on how good they look and feel.  Nobody wants to throw them away.  I even got a listing from leaving my card at a house that I showed and when the house expired they called me.  Said they liked my card.

Aug 03, 2008 06:39 AM #3
Deborah Fisher
Fisher & Company, P.A., Marketing & Creative Strategists - Fort Worth, TX

Thanks for the tip, David.  The idea is to get people to hang onto the card.  The tip chart is quite a good idea.  Thanks for the suggestion.

Aug 03, 2008 07:49 AM #4

One generic business card would be like everyone weraing the same outfit. Your business card is a opportunity to express yourself and portray your company image. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Aug 03, 2008 10:44 AM #5
leon  icq

Oct 11, 2008 10:35 PM #6
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