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What Customers Actually Think About Business Cards

Vistaprint asked 2,000 people for their honest views on business cards and making a first impression – the good, the bad and the ugly.

One of the most asked questions today in small business circles and among aspiring entrepreneurs is whether business cards have become obsolete in today's digital environment. I mean, with tools like Hellosign and Linkedin, does one need to have an actual business card anymore?

Vistaprint asked 2,000 people for their honest views on business cards and making a first impression – the good, the bad and the ugly.

Do business cards still have an impact?

According to our survey, yes, they do. 63% of the people we asked said that having a quality business card helps make a good impression on them. Additionally, 60% would be more likely to use a business that has a unique or memorable card.

So, what makes a quality business card and how do you get noticed in a way that’s positive for your business?

The art of standing out

It’s all well and good to stand out from the crowd, but you want to be sure it’s for the right reasons and in a way that elevates – rather than undermines – your brand. Here are some valuable insights from our survey on ways to make your business card stand out (or fall down!) .

Thinking outside the card holder

There are certainly opportunities to get noticed by being a little different with your card design. Here are some original approaches that worked well for their owners:

  • Alternative materials: Chocolate, wood, etched metal, Lego, a tin of mints and transparent business cards were all remembered for their uniqueness.

  • Quirky shapes: Chalkboards, hearts, cats, cupcakes, butterflies, triangles, photo frames and luggage tags served as custom-shaped cards for businesses whose purpose matched their designs.

  • Multi-purpose: USB sticks, fridge magnets, spanners, coasters, bottle openers were seen doubled up as business cards. Another standout was an origami card containing seeds to be planted.

  • Special effects: Glow-in-the-dark and thermographic cards earned points for being different, while subtler effects such as gold foil or raised text also got a mention for their uniqueness.

If your business naturally lends itself to a creative approach, it could certainly help you stand out and gain recognition if done well. But, if it doesn’t feel right for your brand, don’t force it. As someone put it, too much effort to get noticed can also create the impression of “trying too hard”.

“Unique” things to avoid

Standing out shouldn’t be for its own sake, and there are certainly ways it can backfire. For example, a survey participant once received a round business card that opened to reveal a joke inside. He did remember it, but only as being “incredibly lame”, while another recalled an overly complex design that was “awful but interesting.” Not quite the desired effects!

Of the 2000 people we surveyed, among the top things they did not want to see on a business card were:

  • a cheesy strapline or pun

  • pictures of unicorns or quirky animals

  • wacky facts about the business owner

It may be tempting to do something original to stand out, but uniqueness should never come at the cost of your brand integrity. Always think about the message you may be sending and check that you’re being authentic, rather than just gimmicky.

So, if being creative can get attention for your business but also comes with risks, what does this mean if you’re stuck for ideas? There’s good news. While people do admire a unique card when done right, our results show that the number one way to ace your business card design is to embrace simplicity.

Simplicity wins

While original, quirky designs can certainly enhance your brand and get you noticed; overall the majority of people favour the clean, classic card. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have personality. Quality speaks volumes, and by focusing on the finer details, you can create a winning card the simple way.

Read the full article here

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