With the rise of on-demand business card companies like Moo and Vistaprint, DIY physical business cards are now endlessly customizable. One word of caution before you go crazy with colors and fonts: When designing a business card, know your audience.
A Wall Street Journal report on the rise of weird business cards found that they can be a turnoff for recruiters: “Some people embrace edgy shapes and colors or make cards of metal, plastic or wood,” Sue Shellenbarger wrote. “While oddball cards may make a strong impression, they also risk annoying recipients if they can’t be scanned easily or won’t fit into a wallet or purse.”
To avoid your business card ending up in the trash pile, you need to be strategic about what you put on its frame and what you intend to communicate. Here’s how:
Design the card with the intended audience in mind
The goal with a business card is to communicate who you are and what you do clearly and quickly. In a networking conference with different recruiters and contacts, it may be best to err on the side of minimalism. Put your essential contact information — name, occupation, social media handles if relevant, and the best way for someone to reach you — in an easy-to-read font and color. You want it to be easy for a networking contact to get ahold of you.
Do not feel the need to put every title and role you have. Less can be more. A business card is a point of first contact, not your resume. “Don’t stuff too much on the card trying to impress someone. Instead, use smart word placement to pique interest and motivate further contact,” Lisa Rangel of Chameleon Resumes advised.
Ultimately, business cards should be a means to an end. The card is there to help you make contact, but your job is to make sure you can maintain it. You do not want someone’s lasting impression of you to only be the creativity of your business card.