While most methods of communication have gone digital, the traditional business card is proving to be surprisingly resilient. What originated in the 17th century as a method of announcing visitors has held its own to the tech-heavy present-day – but why?
Though a business card is tangible, it also has a number of intangible benefits. As the Boston Globe suggests, “Entrepreneurs who must fight to be taken seriously by prospective customers and investors talk about the sense of legitimacy they get from seeing their names and titles printed on quality card stock. They say that in the startup world — where businesses often don’t last long — it’s nice to hold something that feels kind of permanent.” Similarly, Print Media Centr’s Sandy Hubbard notes, “a printed business card still conveys credibility.”
In a way, business cards have also evolved to present more than just names and numbers. Graphic designer John Date refers to the exchange of business cards as “an experience… It’s become much more of a portfolio piece then it was in the past.”
A few things to consider in designing your next business cards:
Name, company, title… there are a lot of pieces of information you could include on a business card, but stick with the most valuable. What’s the best way to get in touch with you? Do you even use a fax machine? Choose the information you most want to share. If you include too much text, it may become difficult to read.
Once you know what text you want to include, think about what kind of typeface would be best to present it. Choose a font that is readable and matches the tone of you and your business.
Paper comes in a variety of finishes – smooth finish is typically the most popular. Of course, almost anything is possible. If it works for your business, you don’t even have to print on paper, nor do you have to stick to the traditional 3.5in x 2in size and shape.
You’ll likely want to include your logo on your card. How much card real estate will you devote to it? What color is it? What font is it? Make sure your logo is identifiable and works well with the font you’re using for the rest of your content. If you choose to use a color on your cards – or print on colored paper – make sure you choose a color that suits your logo and text and is still easy to read.
Image of Neenah Paper business card via Fey Printing.
EXHIBITOR Magazine has collected the following 10 expert opinions on promotional products.
Brochures are possibly the most flexible and hard-working of your marketing collateral. They can help initiate a sale or close one; they can be sent in the mail or handed out face-to-face. As John Treace wrote for Inc., “One of the biggest sales I ever made was initiated in an elevator with a brochure that I happened to have in my pocket.”
To showcase a configurable furniture collection, Miller Brooks created this brochure for Kimball Office.
This brochure for TVNZ 7 (Television New Zealand) literally unfolds to form the brand’s “7” logo.
Audi’s engaging centennial piece, when ripped open, features a timeline of the brand’s history.
To celebrate Pratt Institute’s 125th anniversary, this brochure includes die-cut pop-ups of iconic artists and their designs.
A [trade show] booth without a giveaway could be viewed as heresy…
That’s a quote from trade show specialist Janice Breuer. Lest you be viewed as a heretic, define your strategy for promotional giveaways.
Giveaways will attract attendees to your booth… it’s then your job to determine if they are qualified leads. Eighty-one percent of attendees have buying authority, and you can probably imagine how many pens they’ve already accumulated. Increase memorability with a limited run of more expensive giveaways exclusively for more engaged, qualified visitors. Higher quality items can also be a great giveaway for existing customers – after all, they are special.
Ninety-two percent of attendees go to trade shows to discover new products. A great way to ensure your product is remembered post-show is to include a sample as a giveaway.
What’s the greatest giveaway you have in your arsenal? Or – better yet – what’s the most memorable giveaway item you’ve ever received?
Image via ePromos.
Here is an amazing graphic visualizing the global spread of the printing press, beginning with Gutenberg’s introduction in the 1400s.
Found at The Writer’s Blog.
According to a study by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the most popular method for sharing product information is via printed brochures and catalogs. Eighty-five percent of exhibitors provide printed materials at exhibitions – and 58% of attendees prefer to receive information that way.
Email is the most popular post-exhibit follow-up method, followed (again) by printed brochures and catalogs sent after the event, used by 52% of exhibitors and preferred by 34% of attendees.
As CEIR research director Nancy Drapeau described, “print collateral on premises and post-event is still pervasive… A good portion of attendees still want print collateral when they walk the floor.”
Opinions vary somewhat by industry. Printed brochures and catalogues are most popular at medical and health care events, while industrial/heavy machinery and finished business output exhibit attendees are most likely to want printed materials sent to them after the event.
What’s your must-have trade show marketing tool?
Image via SXSW.com.
Understanding paper is more complicated than most people think – but choosing one for your project doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Below is a quick overview of 7 characteristics of paper:
The surface – or finish – of paper affects its look, feel, and printability. When paper is pressed at the mill, it passes through a series of rollers in a process called calendaring, which effects its surface. Through this process, paper can be made smoother, glossier, more capable of retaining ink, thinner, less opaque, and less bright.
The color of paper is perhaps the most important of all characteristics. White is by far the most popular color and is generally optimal for conventional usage, but not all white is the same – it runs the gamut from ultra-severe hues to softer, more antique shades.
The brightness of paper measures the percentage of light that it reflects. Most papers reflect approximately 60 to 90% of incoming light. Brightness is important because it affects readability — high brightness can cause eye strain, while low brightness can produce a blurring effect.
The opacity of paper is the degree to which other printing is visible through the page. High opacity, or density, minimizes the visibility of printing on subsequent pages, thus enhancing readability. Opacity increases with the bulk and weight of paper, and is influenced by numerous other factors, including paper color, ink color, coatings, and coverage.
The grain of paper describes the direction, or alignment, of its component fibers. Paper grain is either grain long or grain short. When fibers are patterned parallel to the length of a sheet, the paper is grain long. When fibers run parallel to the width of a sheet, the paper is grain short. Grain direction is a critical factor for print jobs because it directly affects usage — for example, paper strength, flexibility, tack, and versatility are all impacted by grain direction.
The weight of paper is calculated as the weight in pounds of one ream, or five hundred sheets. Each main grade of paper has a basic size that is used to determine its basis weight. Paper of equivalent basis weight is not necessarily of equivalent basic size – smaller sized paper that is thicker can possess a basis weight identical to that of larger, thinner paper.
The caliper of paper is its thickness. Caliper is measured in thousandths of an inch and referred to as point size. In this system, .001 inch equals one point — and eight-point paper would have a thickness of .008 inch.
Check out our Digital Paper Reference Guide for more information.