Image

Success by Design

Creating a business card is more intricate than you think. It’s a delicate balance of design and printing that delivers a message and creates an image. Here are the secret ingredients for making a great card;

Invest in a logo. Pay a designer to create you mark of distinction. Logos from graphic designers cost between $500 and $2,000.

Invest in design. Graphic layout is as critical as your logo. Let your designer work magic from your criteria.

Add color. Ask the designer to suggest distinctive colors. Select a color that punches up your logo and card design.

Use the best materials. Quality paper can set you apart. Paper stock and style are an important part of your image. And remember, you aren’t limited to paper. Plastic, metal, wood and other substances can make your card outstanding. Match the card with the business.

Use printing styles that set you apart. Printing can add distinction and color at the same time (for a surprisingly modest cost). Blind embossing (raising a portion of your name or logo) and foil stamping (shiny metallic material in a variety of colors) are the current rage. More traditional and professional firms use engraving. It’s similar to blind embossing, but it adds ink to the raised letters.

Your Best Bet

Get samples of everything, lay them out, and see what works best for you.

Use a top-quality printer. Printers are the link between design and reality. The difference in price between good and the best is minimal. Select the best. Remember, this is a one-time investment in your image, so make it count.

Add something unusual. A different size, a fold, your mission statement on the back, a creative title - these can be the final touch that sets you apart from the competition.

Ask opinions before you go to press. Show your ideas to friends, customers, prospects, people you respect. Let them give you feedback, but don’t let them make your decisions. In the end, go with your gut feeling.

Know approximate costs before you begin. Get estimates from everyone, or you may be in for a billing shock.

Pointers and Pitfalls

Beware of the pitfalls of business cards:

1. Don’t do thermographic cards. This is a type of printing process. It feels cheap, and the cards stick together in your wallet.

2. Don’t hurry. If you can’t wait a few days or a week for your cards, something’s wrong. Print a few makeshift cards while you wait for your masterpiece. I’ve never seen a good "rush job".

3. Don’t try to tell the history of your business on the card. Less is more.

4. Don’t try to save money by cutting corners. You aren’t spending money on business cards; you’re investing in your image and your business.

5. Don’t ever say "That’s good enough". That attitude leads you to mediocrity.

A new card can be a business face lift. It shows you’re new and improved, revitalized, up to speed.

And even if your existing card is tops, you may need more than one design. Have a special card just for trade shows. Revolutionize the cold call with a hot card.

Picture your biggest prospect mulling over the decision to select you or your competitor. He’s scrutinizing your card and your competitor’s. Look at your card - who would you pick?

When you hand your card to someone, you only want to hear three words: "Wow, great card!"

Article by Jeffrey Gitomer

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