Business Cards

Business cards originated in China in the fifteenth century. Back then, they were known as “meishi.” Today they are perhaps the most freely distributed commodity in the business world, as well as an essential part of your DIY marketing toolkit. But business cards can’t help you network if you don’t use them wisely. This post will give you 4 tips on business card etiquette so you can get the most mileage out of each card.

1. Perfect your business card design

To be a true master of business card technique, you must first have a standout business card. Your card is you at a glance, and you want that first impression to be positive and clear. In essence, you’re creating a personal brand that speaks to people, just as you would. Look at others’ business cards to get inspiration, and learn how to create your own personal logo. Then, use Lucidpress to create your own from scratch or from one of our free business card templates.

We can learn one business card lesson from nineteenth-century England. At that time, business cards were referred to as “trade cards,” and they featured a map intended to direct potential customers to the cardholder’s business. Your business cards should do the same thing: get potential customers in touch with you ASAP.

Make sure you put the most important information front and center in a font that stands out. You can also creatively use color to your advantage, keeping in mind that different colors have different psychological effects.

When it comes to business cards, the possibilities are nearly endless. You can put shiny lettering and inventive textures, or forge your business card out of pure platinum and install a tiny speaker that announces your name and title when your card senses the touch of fingerprints. Hey, one can dream.

4 tips to prevent business card blunders

Photo from Overflow Graphics

All right, the last option is a little out there, but there’s no doubt that you have a lot of options. If you design your business card with Lucidpress, you can even add a photo and a QR code. All of this can help people remember you and increase your chances of hearing from them.

As a final note on design, don’t forget to give serious thought to the material you use. Perhaps you’ve fought the losing battle of trying to write on a glossy card that deflects ink like it’s the plague. A poor paper choice can throw off your whole business card mojo. After designing your card in Lucidpress, you can take your design to your favorite printing shop or order prints directly from us. These days, your business card can even be edible. Whether or not you choose to go this route, your design should be so sumptuous that people have to restrain themselves from taking a bite.

4 tips to prevent business card blunders

Photo from Meat Cards

2. Don’t abuse the power of the card

A well-designed, well-placed business card can be an invaluable tool. But like money, business cards can suffer from inflation: if you give too many of them out, their value will go down. On the other hand, a thoughtful approach preserves the strength of the business card as an ace networking and marketing tool.

If someone walks up to you, smiles and hands you their business card, that card probably won’t be remembered for long, even if the person who gave it to you had a really nice smile. The truth is that, without some sort of a connection made before the exchanging of cards, both parties will soon forget about the whole thing. Humans are social beings, and a business card is powerful because it is a representation of an actual person you can see and talk with.

So what happens if you abuse the power of the card? Well, not to get all doom-and-gloom, but negative side effects may include a cheapening of your professional image, irrelevant emails and phone calls that waste everyone’s time, and loss of credibility.

3. Observe business etiquette

It’s also important to respect others’ cards. It’s a good idea to avoid writing on a card in front of the giver unless it’s related to a request they made (or something similar). Use your best judgement.

The point is that you never want someone to feel used, so instead of writing down how someone can help you, chat about how you can help them. The way you store your card and the cards that are given to you will be a reflection of your professionalism and respect. You spent a lot of time deciding on a card that presents you in a positive way, and most everyone else has thought a lot about that, too. So give your cards some love by keeping them in a case.

When someone gives you one of their business cards, take some time to look it over, then find somewhere to put it that communicates respect to the giver. [Tweet this] A card case will work perfectly, and if that’s not an option, your best bet is to either hold onto the card until the conversation is over or thoughtfully place the card in your suit pocket or purse. Business etiquette goes a long way.

4. Consider the culture

Business card customs are fairly informal in the United States, but there are specific rules and norms in other countries that are important to observe. For example, if you are doing business in Japan, you should know that business cards are seen as an extension of the individual to which they belong.

Also, be sure to not shake hands when exchanging business cards in Japan. A small bow is the way to go, and it’s best to present your business card with both hands. When doing any kind of international business, take some time to familiarize yourself with the customs of the country you’ll be working in. A little research can help you save face down the road.

Now you’re ready to conquer the business world with your finely-tuned business card savvy.

You’ve got this! If you liked what you learned today, feel free to share this handy infographic.

4 tips to prevent business card blunders

And of course, don’t forget about our free business card templates!

Here’s a bummer statistic: 88% of people will throw away your business card within a week of receiving it. In fact, it is likely easier for them to just Google your name or business to find your contact info when they need you. But that’s okay, because exchanging business cards offers so much more than a way for people to contact you when they need your services.

Whether you’re at a job fair, trade show, or any other networking situation, your primary goal should be for people to remember you and your brand. With this higher goal in mind, here are 3 reasons why business cards still matter.

1. They help you create the right first impression.

In any networking situation, you typically get one shot to make a great impression.

“A business card can, if one chooses, provide more than just contact information through graphics, mottos, type face, or other visual content,” said Keith McHugh of Painted Rock Enterprises. “This additional content could elicit emotions or a message that helps you stand out from the crowd.”

2. They present your brand as trustworthy and credible.

Building new relationships with potential clients, vendors, or employers requires you to break through any walls that they might have built up. A polished business card is one way you can build up enough trust to break down those walls.

“Not having a card makes you look like a brand new, one-person company that works out of the home and can’t afford $25 for business cards,” says Perryn Olson, marketing director at My IT. “Prospective clients do not want to gamble with an unproven vendor.”

3. They’re still an effective direct marketing tool.

Here’s how the e-commerce platform Shopify defines direct marketing:

“…a promotional method that involves presenting information about your company, product, or service to your target customer without the use of an advertising middleman. It is a targeted form of marketing that presents information of potential interest to a consumer that has been determined to be a likely buyer.”

There is nothing more direct than giving a potential client a handshake and a business card.

In fact, Mark Aselstine, owner of Uncorked Ventures, describes a recent situation where his business card drove tangible revenue:

“I definitely go back and forth if they’re worth it, but I think they do help bring in sales, often in unexpected ways. As an example, I had a corporate client reorder a series of wine club memberships for holiday gifts this year, despite having the person who used to be responsible for the order leave the company. At first, I thought they had access to her email, but it turns out they found my business card in her desk after she left the company and looked up our history in their accounting software.

For me, there are times when I need to source a case or two of wine and I look through the stack of business cards to choose someone to buy something from.

In any case, as much as people want to talk about how antiquated business cards seem at times, they still do help drive sales, but often in unexpected ways!”

Ready to give your business cards a fresh look? Design your own for free right here in Lucidpress.

30 awesome business card examples to inspire you

Now that we know why it’s important to create a memorable business card, here are 30 creative business card ideas you can use for inspiration when creating business cards.

Creative business cards

lucidpress lifestyle photographer creative business card

Source: Lucidpress

Warm pastel creative business card

caserne creative business card

Source: Lucidpress

Bold impressions business card

lemongraphic creative business card

Source: Lucidpress

Surf creative business card

thearslan creative business card

Source: Lucidpress

Character creative business card

manriquez creative business card

Source: Manriquez

Simple business cards

lucidpress classic blank simple business card

Source: Lucidpress

lucidpress lupine simple business card

Source: Lucidpress

emanuele cecini simple business card

Source: Emanuele Cecini

dk design studio simple business card

Source: DK Design Studio

erica boucher simple business card

Source: Erica Boucher

the mandate press simple business card

Source: The Mandate Press

Black business cards

noeeko studio black business card

Source: Lucidpress

markus tsang black business card

Source: Lucidpress

nathan riley black business card

Source: Nathan Riley

handsome black business card

Source: Handsome

danny jones business card

Source: Danny Jones

Double-sided business cards

lucidpress outdoor photography double sided business card

Source: Lucidpress

perconte double sided business card

Source: Perconte

claudia argueta double sided business card

Source: Claudia Argueta

mark brooks double sided business card

Source: Mark Brooks

gagik mesropian double sided business card

Gagik Mesropian

mike camera double sided business card

Source: Mike Camera

Vertical business cards

lucidpress corporate portrait vertical business card

Source: Lucidpress

lucidpress monochrome design vertical business card

Source: Lucidpress

lucidpress modern vertical business card

Source: Lucidpress

lagoo vertical business card

Source: Lagoo

janne koivistoinen vertical business card

Source: Janne Koivistoinen

martina obertova vertical business card

Source: Martina Obertová

giorgia smiraglia vertical business card

Source: Giorgia Smiraglia

vik design vertical business card

Source: Vik Design

Feeling inspired? You can design and order your brand new business cards right here in Lucidpress.