We’ve rounded up the worst offenders for an identification parade unlike any other: the suspects are all business cards…business cards covered in blunders. We’re willing to bet that at some point in your career you have either committed one of these offences yourself, or received a card that is simply criminal. We’ll tell you our five most heinous card crimes in the hope of helping you avoid them in the future…
Bad quality stocks and finishes
Your business card is a handheld representation of your business. Is your business cheap? Poorly thought out? Vague or difficult? No, we didn’t think so. Failing to invest in nice papers and lasting finishes mean that your card comes off looking like an afterthought, and if you don’t care, why should your contact? Give out something which feels and looks the part — you should be proud to have your name on it!
Spelling, grammar and punctuation
If you’ve ever sent 500 business cards off to print and realised that you’ve spelled your own name wrong, you’re going to know exactly what I’m talking about here. Nothing makes you look sillier faster than a comma or apostrophe in the wrong place or a missing/additional letter where it shouldn’t be. Check everything you’re sending out, and when you’re done checking, give it to someone else to check. Nobody wants a repeat of this.
If you have your own team of designers, we don’t have to tell you how important it is to make sure that the logo, fonts and colours on your business cards match the ones that you have on your site. It helps the customer to know that they have come to the right place when they’re looking for you, and makes all your branding consistent throughout all your media and stationery.
If you don’t have the luxury of a designer in-house, be sure that the template you choose for your business cards is vaguely reminiscent of your company, whether it’s the colours or the industry. Don’t choose a card with spanners and hammers on it if you work at a beauticians — or worse — a plastic surgeons.
Details: not enough vs. too many!
The devil is in the details — only putting your name on a card in an attempt to look like an enigma is a no no. You’re not Batman or Madonna. Including the name you prefer to be called (e.g Bob instead of Robert or Dan instead of Daniel etc) can really help someone feel like they’re not making a faux pas when they call.
This blunder is worsened only by putting too many details on the card. Contacts will take their lead from you; if you include an email and phone number, they’ll assume that these are the best ways to contact you at work. Start including your home phone number, the number to your mum’s house and your local vet, along with all five of your private email addresses and the number for the fax machine that you hardly use isn’t going to win you any repeat calls. You could end up like this man.
Not handing them out!
This is possibly the biggest mistake of them all…ordering a lovely, well thought out set of cards, and then leaving them to sit in your desk drawer or in the bottom of your bag. Make sure that you always have a couple with you in your wallet or diary just in case the situation calls for it. Being caught unawares can be really embarrassing. The printed.com rule of thumb on this? It never hurts to hand out a business card.
Buy your own brand new set of cards here, and heed our words of warning when you order!