With so many professions shifting to the digital environment, it would be easy to imagine that physical printed materials have begun to disappear. On the contrary, the fact that many of us spend a huge amount of time in front of our computer screens has actually increased the value we place in quality physical materials. Take web designers for example, while it's easy to think that their entire business exists within lines of code, very often the most successful web designers are the ones who attend local business events handing out modern business cards. So what are the trends in modern business card design and how can you create a piece of material you're proud to hand over?
Modern design - standard size
Contrary to popular belief, creating a modern business card design does not mean you need to create a card that turns into a chair for a mouse or rolls up into a joint paper. One principle we try our best to stick to is "don't design for design's sake". That means, don't add more when less will do. In fact, less is often better. As it applied to business card design, this means staying within some common parameters. For example, there's a reason why business cards generally come in a standard 2″ x 3.5″ - wallets are made to keep cards this size. Yes, you can absolutely create a square business card or an oversize business card. But in our humble opinion, you probably shouldn't. Why? Because while it's good to be memorable, you want to be memorable for the right reason, you want your business card to be remembered for its weight, its texture and its impression. You do not want it to be remembered as the one card that wouldn't fit in the recipient's wallet and as a result got left in the bathroom trash can.
Materials and effects
The vast majority of modern business cards are printed using a digital design and an inkjet printer. This poses a challenge for anyone who provides a premium product or service. Irrespective of the design of the card, it's very difficult to convey quality using cheap materials. As a general rule, the thicker the business card, the higher the quality. Obviously this counts within reason, you can't have a cube of paper, that's not fitting in anyone's wallet. But beyond the thickness of the paper, the weight is also important. This is why some modern cards have been made out of outlandish materials like brass, plastic and even marble! While this probably sounds great if you're selling yachts, it's still possible to hand out premium business cards without stealing Greek antiquities.
Many modern business card designs invert the standard dark on light color choice. This kind of color change is only possible using modern printing methods like embossing and foiling. We get a lot of request for black business cards with gold foiling. This kind of card has become much more common in recent years. But it's not suitable for every person and every brand. Modern letterpress business cards are more universal than foiled cards. Classic dark on light is still more common than the alternative.
No information overload
The primary function of your business card to is give a prospective client the ability to contact you. Never forget that. As we mentioned earlier, you should never design for design's sake. All the information on your business card should be there for a reason. The discipline to create a card with "no fat on it" can be difficult to maintain. We'll often have business owners contacts us saying "please copy this design we found on Pinterest" - which is usually fine. The only challenge is when that design contains information that is non-essential. Modern business cards do not contain superfluous information. They don't use quotes from famous people, paragraphs of marketing text etc. Sometimes, they don't even have a physical address. Let's face it, with so many people telecommuting, working out of coffee shops or from home, physical addresses for businesses are less common than ever. Card designs have followed this trend. In fact, many modern cards will include a Twitter @handle rather than a fax number. In a way, business card designs reflect the times we live and work in.
At a bare minimum for most letterpress business cards, we suggest include your name and your company name, what you do, and your basic contact information (phone, email and website address). Other information you might consider including:
1. Garage Culture | 2. Spotted Zebra | 3. Javier Garcia