Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Rebecca Kutys of Moontree Letterpress in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Together with Breck Hostetter of Sesame Letterpress, Rebecca began a joint venture called “Brooklyn Social Cards” to create letterpress business cards for clients. In this post, Rebecca offers some do’s and don’ts to business card design. From the appropriate information, to the placement of text, Rebecca shares some helpful advice to creating a memorable card! Thanks Rebecca for this great post! — Stephanie
**Rebecca was kind enough to donate business cards to one lucky reader! If you’d like to throw your hat in the ring to win 250 custom one-color business cards from Brooklyn Social Cards (they made Grace’s cards!), leave a comment below describing a situation in which you wished you’d had a business card with you and why you’d like a set now. Comments will close tomorrow at 9am EST**
UPDATE: Congrats to A. Krause who won the contest! Rebecca and Breck selected her comment below as their favorite. Thank you to everyone who entered!
CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!
In my first year as a full-time letterpress printer, I got an early lesson in the power of having great business cards. I was struggling month to month, trying to drum up work wherever I could (on a very limited budget). So I decided to put some time into designing and printing really nice business cards for myself. I had no money for advertising or PR, but I figured this was my one slam-dunk marketing tool.
In those early days, I would spend one day a week pounding the pavement in New York City, stopping in at my favorite shops and leaving my business card at the desk. It didn’t matter whether it was a restaurant, salon or yarn shop, I would just leave my card and ask that it be passed along to the manager. One day I got a call from the owner of a high-end Soho stationery store. He said, “I don’t know who you are, but your lovely card is sitting on my desk. Tell me about what you do.” I went in for a meeting the next day and thus began a fantastic three-year collaboration.
Your business card is what represents you after you leave the room, so be sure it’s worthy of you and all the great things you have to offer. We used to hand out business cards so the recipient would have all of our contact info and clear idea of what we did. Before the Internet, you would likely have a hard time tracking someone down again if you didn’t get their card. But times have obviously changed . . . and I believe the key role of the business card is a new one.
These days, cards are no longer used just to provide basic information about yourself and your company. They are an invitation to look you up online and fine out more about you. That’s when the real magic begins. So make sure you design your card with that intention in mind. As for designing cards, here are some DOs and DON’Ts:
1. Remember that the character of your card should match your field. Creative professionals should have interesting and expressive cards, while more traditional fields (lawyers and accountants, to name a few) would do well with more conservative and tasteful cards.
2. Make sure your card matches the overall “brand” of your company and website.
3. Keep it in-check when ordering super thick, deluxe cards. I always hear people saying that they love their thick, 2-ply cards but can only fit three of them in their wallet at a time.
4. Remember that if you go with a delicate 100% cotton stock for your cards, they’re going to get banged up pretty easily in someone’s bag. Better to choose a slightly sturdier stock.
5. Make the info on your card clear and readable. Even though you want to express all your creativity in a small space, make sure you don’t over-design the look.
1. Have your cards made for free in exchange for an advertisement on the back. Believe me, I’m always thinking of ways to spend less money in my business, but this isn’t a great way to do that. If your cards are free they’re going to LOOK free.
2. Hand out cards with perforations still visible. This is specifically in the case of printing cards on your home computer. Office supply stores provide business card templates which are great and economical, but trim them down so the edges are clean.
3. Apologize when you give someone your card. You should love your business cards and feel confident handing them out. If you’re apologizing for how lame your cards are, its time to get new ones.
4. Be afraid to leave some information off your card. As long as it includes your website, the recipient will not have a problem finding you.
5. Cross off a phone number before handing someone your card. When any piece of vital information about your business changes, its time to get new cards.
Here’s a is a quick guide to the many different types of printing for business cards — any of these methods are available in local stores or online.
- Offset or digital printing — regular flat printing.
- Thermography — produces a raised, shiny effect through heating the ink.
- Foil-stamping — looks like letterpress with an impression into the paper, but instead of ink uses foil. Can produce a shiny, metallic effect.
- Embossing — creates a detailed raised image without the use of ink.
- Engraving — produces a raised image with ink on metal plates, and can create an extraordinary amount of detail in a small area.
- Letterpress — uses ink and impression to push image into the card.
- Handmade — this is totally up to you and your creativity. Some of the best cards I’ve ever received were homemade. Have a rubber stamp or embosser made, buy some die-cut tools at your local craft store, sew a line or two of stitching on each one . . . the possibilities are endless.
Image above: Design by Erica Heinz (www.energy7.com)
I hope this article has made you think about what message your cards are sending and inspired you to take it up a notch. Thanks for your time — I’m looking forward to reading your ideas and feedback below!