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10 Common Business Card Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

custom business card template exampleIn this digital age, there’s still one thing that’s really handy to have on paper: your business contact information. Whether you’re meeting with potential clients, at a networking event, or just want to throw it in a fishbowl to enter to win free sandwiches for the office, a business card is an essential must-have for every wallet. Now that we’ve established that you need one, let’s make sure that you do it right. Here are ten common business card mistakes and how to avoid them.

1 Outdated style

The first thing someone sees when you hand them your business card is the design. If it’s dated, they’ll think you haven’t evolved with the times. What’s dated, you might be asking? Well, if you have to ask, it probably is. Look at the colors (or lack of colors), your typeset, and your layout. Would you order this business card today? If the answer is no, it’s time for a change. You can get a head start with our modern templates.

2 Outdated information

Even worse than an outdated look is outdated information. Has your phone number, email address, URL, or name changed? Did you even have a URL when you got this card? No one wants to wait for you to find a pen so that you can quickly scrawl your “real” info on the back of an old, dirty, dogeared card you fished out of the bottom of your bag.

3 Typos

Proofreading your own work is nearly impossible. Make sure you get a friend to have a quick look so that you don’t breathlessly tear open your package of fancy new business cards just to find that you transposed two digits in your phone number, misspelled your first name, or worse, handed it out to a lot of potential clients only to discover it’s wrong after the fact. It happens.

4 Font too small or too hard to read

The entire point of a business card is to make it easy for people to contact you. If they can’t read the content, you might as well be handing them a gum wrapper. And no, you can’t just make the type smaller. You need to edit. Your best bet is to start with a template and keep the ratios the same. Also, pay attention to the font because some of the more fanciful fonts are seriously difficult to read. Try to keep it clean and legible with just the most essential information and you’ll be fine.

5 Too many different fonts

You can also make a wrong turn mixing and matching too many fonts. Unless you work for a circus, you don’t want it to look like you do. Combining two styles can help make certain information stand out, but we don’t advise that you go much beyond that.

6 Too many different colors

The same advice for fonts goes for colors. Find a cool color combination or get a template that does it for you, but don’t try to take it too far or no one will actually be able to pay attention to your contact information, which is the whole point of the card.

7 No contact information

You have to have it, or else why are you giving someone a business card? At the very minimum, you want to make sure to include your first and last name and your email address. Other details that would be great to have (but you might choose not to share for personal reasons) are your job title, desk and mobile phone numbers, mailing address, and social media accounts. Look at your peers’ cards and think about how people contact you to figure out what works best for you.

8 Not including your URL

If you have a website, you should include it on the card. If you don’t have one, consider getting one. You can set up a simple site for a small monthly fee (or even free!) and give people a chance to see a portfolio of your work, your resume, or anything else you might not be able to share on a business card.

9 TMI (or TLI) too much or too little information

Once you figure out what you want to include, lay it all out and see how it looks. Then take a break. Come back and look again. Do you feel like this is the right amount of information? Is it necessary? Are you missing anything?

10 Boring

Experiment with the above advice and see what works for you, but whatever you do, do what you can to make sure it isn’t boring. After all, an exciting business card is much more likely to make people feel good about contacting you.

Get more ideas here or try one of our easy-to-use business card templates today!

Miellyn is the Copy Manager at Custom Ink. Her work has spanned marketing for television networks like TLC and Travel, educational content for Smithsonian and National Geographic, marketing and story for indie video games, essays for publishers including Random House, The Telegraph, and Smart Pop Books, and stories for press outlets like VICE and VH1.

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