March 8, 2016
In the digital age, business cards are more relevant than ever
Many business owners today question the relevance of the business card. Do we need them when we can quickly and easily connect on LinkedIn? Why invest in quality print production when no one seems to hang onto them anyway? But the fact is, the business card has not really been replaced—it can still communicate a lot, including some things digital will never touch.
From the moment you first hold a business card, you get a sense of that person and their brand. And how that card makes you feel will frame your expectation of the service provided by the person handing it to you. Branding, after all, is not just about your logo—it’s everything that encompasses your brand. Every touch point of your business—including your business card—needs to align with who you are and what your business represents.
I once designed a card for an individual who was an ambassador for a luxury brand. He travelled the world on business, meeting new people, and so his business card was an important tool for him. In this case, I designed a card that was on brand in terms of the fonts and logo, but went the extra mile with other details—soft touch on both sides, two colors, gold engraving. The ultra-premium quality of the card gave him confidence when he handed it over, but also, for those who received this card, there was no mistaking that he worked for a premium brand.
But again, using over-the-top production qualities isn’t always better if it’s not on brand. If a card is not aligned with the brand, it’s confusing. So if your service or product is meant to be accessible and affordable, then your card should represent that. You may choose a thinner paper, or one color, thus reinforcing that brand value and brand voice from a tactile perspective.
Sometimes, all you need is one design touch to make an impression. I recently met a restaurant owner whose card alone made me decide to book a reservation. The material was simple in every regard, except that it was just a bit larger than the usual card dimensions. The typography was modern and elegant to be sure, but it was the nice use of an oversize dimensions that made me curious—would it be a larger than life experience? As it turned out, the restaurant was located inside of a multiple-story house. Although each room was normal sized, the experience of walking through all the rooms made it seem to go on forever. It was a subtle connection, but the restaurant’s brand was indeed accurately expressed in the card and my expectations of what I might experience there were perfectly met.
I said earlier that all the touch points of your brand should align—the business card is literally a “touch” point. This is something that you can never get with LinkedIn—a tangible piece of your branding that represents you when you’re not there. And the fact is you may never have a more intimate way of relaying information about your brand and the level of care that you put into your business.
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