Firstly, a disclaimer. Alex Saville Photography are not graphic designers. That’s right. We are not a graphic design company. But we know what we like. And what we don’t.
Are you a graphic designer? Or maybe you’re looking for one? Or perhaps you think you are one, and have decided to create your own business card. Well, designing a business card isn’t easy. The overall layout is a challenge in itself. But if you want to have a go at it, here are a few common mistakes that, like good graphic designers, you should avoid.
If it’s too small, most of us can’t read it. Also, the smaller it is, the harder it is to print. If they can’t read the email address, or the phone number, you’re sending the message, “don’t contact me.”
If clients can’t read what it says on your card, they are less likely to contact you. It smacks of amateurish design. Which isn’t doing you any favours.
I’m not saying that having an email that matches your website makes you professional. I’m just saying that if you’re using a hotmail account and a website that isn’t your own domain name, it’s more likely to hurt your credibility. It’s ok for a man with a van, but would you expect a removals company to use it?
Cheap card says cheap, lack of care. Also, it tends to partner with cheap ink and will fade.
Often it’s because the print was too small, or maybe it was a cheap printer. Sometimes, it’s because of a poor choice by the graphic designers. Maybe they thought shadowing everything looked cool. Always make sure you can read everything clearly.
Typographical errors – when you spell words wrong, or get your numbers transposed. None of us are infallible. All I can say is check it, recheck it, read it backwards and get someone else to do the same.
Of course, if you’re the sort of person who says “no job to small”, and insists that you know best, all I can do is shake my head in despair.
Just because your computer says that white is the acceptable background for green type, does not make it so. Also, what looks ok on a screen does not always look ok in print (just like what you say in your head doesn’t always soon as good when you say it out loud).
Firstly, it can make them hard to read. When they’re on a screen, they serve a purpose. But have you noticed that a lot of the time designers make them a different colour on websites? Also, on a business card, we know that www.fredblogscompany.com is. We know what an email address is. So don’t underline it.
Eh? Ok, let’s simplify this. If there are bits chopped off, it doesn’t have enough bleed edge. Or you’re got a rubbish printer. If you have only part of your email showing, how will your potential clients email you?
Pretty obvious at first glance. Why? Because it says that you aren’t serious about your business. But there are people who hold the view that a large card is better. I’d definitely say it’s better than nothing. The reason I don’t regard it as a step upwards is that it’s awkward. We’ve pretty much accepted that business card as the standard. We have business card holders. They fit in wallets, in pockets. They’re portable. A6 cards aren’t anywhere near as convenient.
Then there are magnets. They sound cool at first. But here’s the thing. Most people don’t keep magnets on their fridges unless they have a reason to. And your company name generally isn’t it. Personalised magnets (personal to the person receiving it, not the one giving it) – yes. Places they’ve visited – yes. But not companies alone.
When you’re fresh in someone’s mind, that’s great. But months, maybe weeks or even days later, will they know what “happy faces” does? Is it a face painter, a photographer, or a nursery, for example? In fact, think about exactly what information you need to include. Too much and you risk a cluttered design. Too little and you’ll be sitting there wondering why no-one’s ringing the phone.
If you do decide to go down the route of not choosing graphic designers, and instead design your own business card, then the Hertfordshire Wedding Photographer hopes that you’ll bear some of the pitfalls in mind. And if you have decided after reading this that you’d rather employ a hertfordshire graphic designer – then tell them we sent you ;-).
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