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  • Amanda Paterson

Business Cards: Making a Good First Impression

Yes. Business cards are still important. A well-designed card can go a long way. At networking events and trade shows, having a unique business card might just help you stand out in a crowded bag of handouts.

1) Before your client looks at your card, they feel it. Make sure yours feels better than the rest.

Choosing Your Material:

Not 'a Card' at All - consider handing out 'things' instead of cards. USB disguised as a card (as pictured above). A small packet of grass seed for a landscape company. A drink coaster for a bar manager.

Alternatives to Paper - cork, metal, wood, transparent vinyl, tree bark, recycled materials, computer chips - these are certainly memorable business cards, but ensure that the materials suit your business. The material you choose needs to make sense.

Double-thick/Luxe Stock - You can find printers who will produce 40 pt and over (650 GSM). These cards will make your client double-check if they've grabbed two by accident. They're THICK.

"Soft Touch" Laminate - With "Soft Touch", your cards are coated with an extremely smooth laminate making them feel very soft.

Cardstock - go with a MINIMUM of 16 pt. Points (pt) are used to indicate the thickness of cardstock paper. The higher the point value, the thicker your card will be. The weight of the card is measured in GSM (grams per square meter) - 16 pt = 350 GSM.

Choosing Your Finish:

Variety of business card finishes

Glossy - PROS: makes colors and photos vibrant; durable and offers some protection against scratching. CONS: may see fingerprints; may experience glare when reading

Matte - PROS: no glare; no fingerprints; you can write on it with pen; clean and classic look. CONS: may be more easily damaged; recommended to upgrade paper weight to avoid looking 'cheap'

Pearl - between glossy and matte

Linen/Natural - often looks/feels elegant but work with your printer to ensure your design prints nicely on textured paper

2) Ok, your card stood out from the rest and now the client is looking it over - what do they see?

Keep it clean: leave ample white/blank space. It helps the brain to digest the information.

Your logo, name, title and contact information: this is a given, but make sure you have a friend double-check your accuracy and spelling!

Your social handles: tell people how to socialize with you. On LinkedIn? Make sure you include your personal and/or company page. Use Skype? Include that too!

Your tagline: is your company on a mission? Share it with the world (via your business card).

Your products/services: find a creative way to communicate your offering.

Variety of Business Card Finishes

3) Icing on the cake

There are a multitude of premium finishes you can use to give your card a little extra 'punch'. Here are just a few you might consider:

Raised print/embossing - giving your text or brand elements a 'bumpy' feel

Colored edges - on extra-thick cardstock, you can choose to have a color added to the card's edge

Aqueous coating - offers protection against scratches and adds shine

UV coating - adds extra shine

Spot UV - selecting choice areas of your card to be extremely shiny

Foil stamping - adding a unique foil-look in your choice of color

Business cards can make or break your first impression. If you're going to give them out, make sure they're cards you're proud of and are a reflection of your business.

*Business Card Photo Credit -

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