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What Does Your Business Card Say About You?

What Does Your Business Card Say About You?

As a recruiter I give out and receive hundreds of business cards each year.  Cut out cards, plastic cards, transparent cards, folding cards, disc cards, thin cards, think cards, oversized, undersized and/or some combination of all of these.  I have no idea what is the best option but whenever receiving them I am reminded of the scene in American Psycho with its business card one-upmanship (and Christian Bale’s corresponding disappointment at having the inferior card).  I thought therefore I would, for no reason in particular, outline some of the design elements that both grab my attention and/or put me off.

Wrong sized cards.

These have the power to annoy.  Why?  Because if they’re too large they won’t fit in my business card folder, too small and they’ll fall out.  This can mean I’ll lose them which is obviously frustrating.  As an involuntary card collector, I do need to be able to store them conveniently ideally in a handy folder format.  On a more positive note; if I were to be glancing through a post conference pile of business cards, these are the ones I’d notice first (but then I would probably growl and shake my fist at them).

Cards with your picture on them.

They can be really rather convenient in the sense that a while after meeting someone it is more likely that you will remember who they were (and connect the dots to what they do) because of the picture.  On the down side I can’t perhaps get over the feeling that it might be a bit cheesy?  Ultimately then, from a practicality point of view, I find these types of card useful – I just wouldn’t do it myself.  But I do have my picture posted on the Internet on Linkedin, Twitter, etc. so maybe I should revise my thinking?

Overly laminated or plastic cards.

Indestructible! Yay! But completely pointless because no one can write on them, which as most people who attend networking events know is the best strategy for remembering relevant conversations.

CD based cards for your PC.

Nice idea but suffers from the same problem of unwriteability (not yet a word but I’m lobbying the various dictionaries).  But I do defy anyone not to be overwhelmed by curiosity and to boot them up.  Another downside I suppose is that with the advent of netbooks not everyone has a disc drive to hand (and other than your website what on earth do you put on them?).

Folding Cards

Can be brilliant.  But usually aren’t.  I was once given a business card by a web designer that was standard size but folded out into a small but beautifully formed brochure – it really was magnificent.  Normally they are just too damn fiddly or unnecessary, too many pictures and you can’t obviously see who the cards belong to.

Boring cards

Ok this is a non specific category but come on folks – there must be something more interesting than just your name and your firm’s on your card???  At least put a picture on the back, or maybe some nice embossing.

Thin cards

There are some very cheap places to order business cards from but unfortunately you end up with very cheap cards.  One obvious indicator of not much of a budget is cards that are so thin you can see through them or that tear easily.  Avoid at all costs. Business cards aren’t very expensive generally so really, don’t be such a cheapskate!

So what have we learnt?

Essentially the best cards are non boring, unplastic, with pictures (but not necessarily of yourself) that you can’t put in your PC but you can write on and they are of sensible thickness.  Questions?

Pete Fellows.

We would be keen to hear of any business card related gripes please send us an email to: [email protected] and we’ll post the best comments here.

Pete Fellows is the MD of Fellows and Associates; you can find his profile at www.petefellows.com.

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