How to Create a Kick-Ass Business Card (And Why You Need One !)

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by MarsDorian

What ? Mars, which car crashed your head today ? A piece of paper in the digital era ?
I know – the eyeballs are moving to the digital realm. But having your own business card for your site still reaps massive benefits.

Expanding your online presence to the offline world is a kick-ass way to spread your influence.

Believe me, once you finish reading this article, you will RUSH to create your own.

Here’s my story:

During the last months, I have talked to many people about my business in the real word. When they asked for my email address and my website name, I had to write it down on a crappy piece of paper. It wasn’t a stylish way to spread your brand message, and it embarrassed the heck out of me. One day I finally said to myself:” THIS has to change !”

Within I week, I got my own card. And I think you should, too.

Why it rocks to have a business card for your online presence:

  • it’s the best and easiest way to share your address and site name in the real world. This is especially true if you have an email address or site name that’s difficult to spell.
  • It makes you look at least 100xtimes more professional. And I mean professional in the good way – not the corporate-collar-working-style-robotic-drone way. Having your own business card shows how much you care about your online presence, and that demands respect. You are not some schmuck having a site, you are are a digital entrepreneur. Just look at the people you hand your card over – they will treat you with other eyes.
  • It’s just awesome. Honestly, how many more reasons do you need ? Handing out your slick card speaks volumes. It makes you feel like a kick-ass online entrepreneur who’s in the business to whirl some waves. It’s such a small investment compared to the impact you are going to have on people !

I have seen many business cards in my life so far, and I have to admit, most of them ( we are talking 99 % ) are forgettable rubbish that’s not worth the paper they are printed on. If you are aiming for a decent, lame-ass card that bores the hell out of everyone, please skip this post. It will do no good for you.

If not, keep reading. You are about to create something awesome.

How to create a kick-ass business card

First a bit info about my own:

  • I have ordered 250 pieces for 70 dollars
  • I used a European online service called FlyerAlarm, Farnoosh from Prolificliving suggested Moo.com for internationals (esp. North Americans )
  • It’s a 4 color print
  • I made the card in Photoshop and then uploaded the image file to the company
  • Material: Chromosulfate Cardboard, matt
  • Weight: 450 gramms ( about 1 lb)

Enough with the chat-chat, let’s do some action. If you want to wooo people with your card, you have to consider some simple facts:

  • KISS, baby. You know the acronym – Keep It Simple Stupid. A business card is small, so you don’t want to overkill your recipient’s mind with a trillion color image. Aim for a simple style with few colors, only concentrating on the essentials !
  • Talking about colors. Use your brand colors ! If you check out my card, you only have 2 (!) colors – my brand black and yellow. The front side is my trademark logo – yellow font on black background, while the back side is the direct opposite – black font on a yellow background. Choose ONLY your brand colors for your card, and make sure to not use more than 2-3 colors. Remember, simplicity rules !
  • How many should you make ? That depends on you, I went for 250 pieces. It gets cheaper the more you order, but if you want to try it out first, aim for a few hundred. Increase as you please.
  • Worry about your weight. I have read somewhere that you should have at least 300 gramms  but I made mine 450 gramms (about 1lb ). Fact is – the more your card weighs, the better. A business card has to endure a lot in one’s wallet – the more it weighs, the more “damage” it can take. Plus, it looks dirt cheap when your card is thin as paper – I have touched many of those, and the impression was disastrous. It’s even worse than having NO business card at all.

The Front


Simple rule – make your front side as catchy and ass-kicking as possible !
Normal business cards have their basic logo, and offer some information , but guess what, when you read this article, you are NOT going to make a standard card.
Here’s what I chose to do:
I chose to use my logo “The World Needs You” for 2 simple reasons:

1)  it’s my brand logo (D’uh)
2) It has an inspirational message the goes beyond the function of the card. Even if people don’t act on the information, people can still use the card as a “lucky charm” that makes them feel good. “The world needs you” – isn’t that a grrreat reminder that you LUV to carry in your wallet ? I think so. And that’s why I ONLY put the logo on the front side, without displaying my url.

Can you think of a similar feature with your card ?  Something unique that makes it stand out ? How about a:

  • catchy tagline
  • cool picture / symbol that demands attention
  • some cool feature that makes your recipient look CLOSER at your card !

Whatever you choose, make sure you come up with something that’s eye-catching. A simple brand logo and your address isn’t cool…at all. Average business cards don’t get looked at; they quietly vanish into the oblivion of your recipient’s wallet…never to surface again.
Have something captivating on your front side. It’s the best way to make them act on the information you provide on the back…

The Back


I simply have 3 lines on my back side: My domain on top, my Twitter ID sandwiched in the middle, and my email address at the sweet end. Since my audience is international, I didn’t bother to show my number. I prefer people to contact me via digital means. But that’s my opinion, put on the information you think is necessary.

  • Use as few information as possible. The less information you provide, the more likely people will act on it. It’s called the paradox of choice. Fewer choices ALWAYS mean MORE results.
  • Make it dirt simple. Remember, the back side of your card is not supposed to blow anyone away, it simply provides your info. Don’t include any lavish symbols or colors unless you really have to. Make the font speak for itself.
  • Keep your font clear. Your information must be read-able, and that means no extravaganza with the font style. A simple, elegant style that fits your brand does the job. Sans-serif beats serif on this one.
  • Put your font dark on a light background. It doesn’t have to be the classic black on white, but a darkish color is on a light-ish background is ALWAYS better than the opposite.

Conclusion
When I handed out my business cards, and I felt like a “real” entrepreneur.  If you really want to bring your online game to a new level, GO create your own. The impact you will have on people will be priceless.
And if you have any questions about making your own, just shoot me a message.

What’s your take on this  ? Do you already have a kick-ass card (tell me about it) or will you now create your own ? Let’s share your ideas.

And please retweet and share this message with your friends !

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  • http://www.prolificliving.com/blog Farnoosh

    Killer advice for killer business card! And Moo.com delivers everywhere I think – I have their mini cards and let me tell you, Mars, if that business card did not make me popular at Blogworld, I don’t know what did. Everyone but everyone loved it. I used my own photography on the back but kept front simple, as you say dirt simple!!! but i did have a tad bit more info than you.
    A killer post my dear friend, keep it up!!!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Farnoosh,

      whatever works for you works :)
      It's awesome that you awesomely surprised peeps with yours, and thanx so much for the Moo.com tip.
      I used a German service for mine, but since this blog is all international, I had to include the link !

      Way to go !

  • eDatingDoc

    Hey Mars! Great post! I see you promote Attention Thievery 101

    What do you think of the Information Highwayman's advice about business cards having more information. The reason I ask is because I'm about to get mine made. See his post below.

    http://informationhighwayman.c…/

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Zack,

      yeah, I agree with what Bnonn says – but I wouldn't overload it.
      As for my card, I wanted to aim for that curiosity effect, and the overall message that the world needs you.
      In your case, I would include how YOU will help people with dating.
      A kick-ass image on the front, with your “title” and your URL, and on the back the problem you are going to solve. Bnonn's card image on the end of the post is a good model for your approach !
      (but make sure that the front side has a kick-ass image !)

  • http://www.murlu.com Murlu

    Sexy, sexy business card Mars – love that you went with the minimal approach – far too many people overload their cards with every possible bit of information.

    I won a set of business card designs a while back that I haven't taken advantage of – thanks for reminding me – I'll need to dig it up and get to work.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Murray, yeah, seriously consider getting your cards.

      I always prefer minimal – the worst you can do is bore the hell out of your recipient.
      The effect I made on people was awesome, it's just so much more professional to have your own.

      If you have any questions, just shoot me :)

  • ralphcarlson

    Mars,
    this is timely. I am finishing the design for my card this month. I have to confess that the simplicity surprises me. I expected to see some flamboyant,wild-haried, kick-ass design. Don't know if I will go as far as you away from conventional but you certainly caused me to stop and think- as usual.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Ralph,

      I only wanted to go for simplicity with this one. If you overload your card, you not earning eyeballs.
      I challenge you try something special with yours.
      If you got a question, shoot me. And send me a pic of your card – I'm curious.

  • PassportalCreativeStudios

    i love you.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      :)

  • http://www.foursides.ca James M

    Several people have been telling me to get a business card to promote my blog, as well as an online resume for when I need to get a job. With so many great services out there now, I think I should push forward and get it done.

    I really like the style of your card. Simple is by far more effective than complicated cards. You would be horrified if you saw the cards for people involved with the Federal Government here in Canada – full address, email, phone, job title… in English and French. Difficult to read when you need to get some info fast.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey James,

      I'm not so sure about the online resume (hell – your blog IS your online resume), but I'm all in for the card. It puts the entire perception of your online brand to a new level. I still cringe inside when I remember the days where I wrote down my address on a crappy piece of paper. It wasn't a cool way to spread the message about your biz, but now, it's just glorious.
      Get yours, James, seriously. And include some cool gimmick – a slick design, a memorable tagline etc.

      It's sooo worth it !

  • http://www.beachbettypr.com Shelly Cone

    Blog business cards are essential, but you need to get them done by a great company. I ordered mine (after laboring over them for two weeks) and they came just in time for BlogWorld. I was stoked, but the font turned out to be teeny tiny. It was still readable but it was obvious the font was wrong. It was like 8 pt. or something. It did not look anything like the proof they showed me. Needless to say I’m ordering from a different company next time.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Shelly,

      that sucks. I made a slight mistake with mine (not going to elaborate on that, though :) and it made me mildy cringe inside. As soon as I create my next load, I will be more careful.

      I hope you didn't spend a fortune on yours. Making your font readable IS one of the most important features of your card.
      Here's to the success of your next one :)

  • http://www.MyBeautifulAdventures.com/ GlobalButterfly

    I think biz cards are absolutely essential.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      2 months ago I would have said – hell no, not in this digital age. But it's true – the effect I had on people when I handed over my little treasure was PRICELESS !

  • http://www.ideasbubble.com Peter J

    I think it's awesome the way you've crafted your business card so that it leaves an impression that makes the person ask, why does the world need me?
    You've let curiosity take over, none of this bullshit bio about your site on the back of a card, just the link straight out. A person will visit your site out of curiosity because of it, awesome; and the cards look amazing :D

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Thanx Peter,

      that was exactly what I was aiming for – the curiosity factor that makes people act on the information. It won't work for everyone, but that's why I said you should consider other captivating options as well.

      When can I see yours ??

      • http://www.ideasbubble.com Peter J

        lol, I'm still working on mine.
        I'll use yours as inspiration because i would rather create a card that i was happy with over being in a rush to get a card out that i regret even getting printed.

        I don't think i will be able to create an awesome business card like yours without doing some heavy modifications on the title of my blog. I'll certainly get started though, and see where i can take the card :D

  • joshuanoerr

    Love those cards Mars! I need to run out and get some made myself. Cheers

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      You should…not….delete that. You MUST :)

  • Marcy Crandle

    Hey Mars. I LOVE your cards. Super stylin'. Here is a link to mine: http://ow.ly/3m5bL. Hope you like them :)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Nice Marcy,

      I luv the upbeat flair. So inspiring and illuminating, it's a grrreat brand extension from your brand.
      Nicely done. And BTW, I see your site is finally UP and running. Finally !

      • Marcy Crandle

        Thanks Mars! Yes, the site is finally up. Yay! Had to let go of that whole feeling “ready” thing or I was never going to get it up. Felt so good to just go for it!

    • http://nittygriddy.com/ Ingrid Abboud

      Hey Marcy,

      Very cool card you got there. Original, upbeat, colorful, fun and eye-catching :).

      Cheers

      • Marcy Crandle

        Thanks so much Ingrid! I like them too :)

  • Odtaa

    I had a special deal for a thousand traditional cards and I could have all sorts of clever things on the back. Being dumb and stupid those days I had a calender printed.

    So I give out around 200 to 300 cards a year. So year two and three I'm giving out cars with an out of date calender. (I didn't I dumped them) Real cool what?

    Also I hadn't though of being quite so simple as Mars suggests. That's good as I note that on a lot of occasions you want to write something on the card – an appointment, a business or website you recommend.

    Good one Mars

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Thanx Paul,

      I'm sucker for simplicity nowadays. And did I understand you right – you're giving out cars with out of date calendars ?
      Or is that British humour I don't get because I'm German :) ?

      • http://odtaafiles.com Paul Odtaa

        Sorry typo cards not cars.

        I bought the cards in 2005 and it was about August 2006 before I realised what I was doing. Holds head in shame and looks embarrassed.

        You're living in Berlin – you must have a good sense of humour. My short visit there a few years a go reminded me of the edgier, urban areas I used to live when I was young. My daughter Lydia lives in the poorer centre of Bristol and it has a lot of similarities with Berlin I think.

        Another tip in this section – do not under any circumstances get pens with your name, or business name on them.

        For some reason big companies always buy flash looking pens, but are defective. I've had two jackets destroyed and the number of times I've been using company pens and they've either broken, or the ink has run or it won't write.

        Always at important times and then when I'm looking at the damn pen, looking at the ink stain on my shirt and all I can see is the damn company's name that's given it to me.

        • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

          haha, sorry for the pen story.
          That's definitely NOT the kind of message I want people to associate with my brand :)
          For now, it's just the cards. And then something awesome as well that is not putting stains on someone's shirt :)

  • http://twitter.com/thelifething Jonny Gibaud

    Dude, get a picture on the business card. Thats the personal touch that makes all the difference.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Jonny,
      normally, I would agree with you. But with this one, I wanted to try the mysterious route. The message has to speak for itself – and these yellow letters on the black background just look too cool :)

  • http://blog.esimplestudios.com Gabriele Maidecchi

    I agree with you on this Mars, 100%. Sadly though heh.
    But anyway, I stopped by to make you smile and to make you think.
    Smile with these unusual business cards I am sure you will appreciate.
    And think, hopefully, with this article I wrote exactly on business cards.
    Have a nice day!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      haha,

      jeez – and I thought I had an usual card. But it's NOTHING compared to the crazy shit you have linked to – damn, once I run out of stock, I'm going for something crazy like that.
      Soooo cool !

      Liked your article – I agree – about pages are cool as heck and way easier to create. But when you are in the offline world ( it happens !) and you talk to peeps about your site, it's just so handy to hand over your card instead of writing it down on a piece of paper.

      Wouldn't you agree ?

  • Steve Kamb

    Hey Mars!

    Great post dude. I was JUST saying to myself “I need to get business cards made up before I go on my adventure” because I had the same issue with you…writing my email on a napkin at a bar in the middle of nowhere just doesn't cut it.

    Love the simplicity of yours…definitely going to keep that in mind when designing mine.

    Cheers!

    -Steve

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Awesome Steve,

      can't wait to see yours !
      Yeah, writing your email down on a napkin isn't cool…at all :)
      For me, simplicity is everything. I hate cards that are overloaded with crappy information that nobody cares about anyways.

      Definitely print yours, you'll be amazed at the impact you make on people !

  • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

    My name is a pain in the ass to spell (pronounced Eh-lissa, sounds like Alyssa or Melissa, looks like it should be said “E-lie-sa, not to even go into the number of people who think my name is Elise) and part of my email and my professional website redirect. It became so much easier to just hand them a card with the info.

    Plus, one point you touch on that is very true. *WE* all exist in the online realm, a digicard or landing page are second nature to us for contact. But to the other 95% of the world that we would like to buy stuff from us that doesn't live in that online world, it's nice to be able to communicate. :)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Elisa,

      awesome – I think your name is beautiful. Must be just Americans for have a problem with spelling it :)

      Yeah – I completely forgot about the offline world. When I'm online, I think everyone else is, too. And when you enter the real world and talk to people, you slowly find out that it's not the case :)
      Do you have a pic of your card ?
      I'm curious now.

      • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

        Aw, thanks! I like it a lot. It's a nickname from my European family's spelling of my full name, Elisabeth. (Not many people know that tidbit, you're in a select crowd now!)

        At first I thought you asked if I had a pic on my card. I was very confused! Here's my card currently, though I'm updating it as I don't use the vines and nature images with my current brand:

        http://www.opheliaswebb.com/bi

        • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

          wow – it'S really cool. The flowery style fits you, and it brings a certain movement into your card.
          Cool !

          • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

            Hrmmm…interesting you say that. I'm removing the flowery style from much of my brand and design because I don't like it. I appreciate the streamlined with a touch of whimsy much more.

            And yes, I designed it to have a flow, especially the back with my website listing and vines. Front is too wordy…

  • http://joelrunyon.com/two3 Joel Runyon | [BIT]

    Business cards are SUCH an easier way to stand out from the crowd with an initial impression.

    good stuff mars :)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      true true :)

  • http://www.howtomingle.com parker lee

    What a GREAT blog post. I've been wanting cards for some time but haven't had the chance simply because I would rather do my daily chores than go through the hassle of finding someone with a badass card i like, then getting the info and going from there.

    I checked out the links you provided and I like, always providing value mars.

    always coming back. thanks!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Thanx Parker,

      daily chores are important, but so is a kick-ass business card :)

      The impact mine had on people is priceless, I wish I had gotten one earlier !

  • http://StudySuccessful.com/ Stefan | StudySuccessful.com

    I have a business card which says: 'Hi, I'm Stefan, who are you?'
    And on the back there is my full name, phone number and personal website. Should consider one for my main blog though! Awesome.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      haha, nice line.
      Certainly puts a smile on my face – and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
      Definitely do one for your blog as well, Stefan !

      “Hey, this is my blog. What's yours ?”

  • the minimalists

    Love it! We didn't want to create a business card because it seemed counter-intuitive to our minimalist mission, but after reading this our minds are changed. It actually supports our mission.

    Josh & Ryan
    http://theminimalists.com

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Josh & Ryan,
      imagine creating an ultra, and I mean ULTRA minimalist card (maybe just showing your URL ?). I believe that would be killer-branding in terms of spreading your message :)

      • http://StudySuccessful.com/ Stefan | StudySuccessful.com

        I've seen that once. A guy just had 'hisname.nl'. Really minimalist and really awesome. Just have a 'wow' feeling when you get that card.

      • the minimalists

        Totally agree. Maybe add our favorite quote from Tyler Durden (Fight Club) on the front in big plain text: “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis.”

        Thoughts?

        P.S. We're really glad to have found your site. Added you to our RSS. Thanks for adding value.

        • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

          that's a killer line from Fight Club, but it's long.
          Also, it isn't yours. In terms of branding, I always want to make sure that my message is expressed uniquely. If people read this quote and think -woah, that's sweet, and later find out that you got it from a movie, it puts a copycat flavor on you.
          But what you can do is taking a famous adage, (movie) quote etc. and SLIGHTLY changing it to your brand message – hell, that can be cool as heck. Like :” Leading by example” was changed by boys who did garden work in the post-Katrina neighborhood and called it “Weeding by example”
          What a catchy title !

  • http://www.smartpassiveincome.com Pat Flynn

    Good stuff Mars, I really love your business card. I created one especially for Blog World Expo, which follows some of the same rules. One thing I heard though, is that one should always include a picture. Our brains are tuned to remember faces – at least that's what I read.

    Here's my business card: http://www.smartpassiveincome….

    p.s. I love how you have the same branding (The World Needs You) on your business card and in the header of your page. That's slick :)

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      hey Pat,

      your business card is pretty cool – and so eyecatchy. You are right about the face, people are wired to remember that.
      I luv the way you structured yours – especially the slim format is truly unique.
      With my next card, I'm going to include my face in the card. And I will add a call to action.

  • http://nittygriddy.com/ Ingrid Abboud

    Hey Mars,
    How's it going?

    Some awesome advice you got here – as usual :). Congrats on your new card – it looks great!

    I've been thinking about creating a second business card for my blog alone – as I obviously already have my “real” work one and it actually is pretty cool.

    I used 350 grams on that one and I totally agree with you about having a thick card. The paper thin ones look cheap, tear easily and are not practical to put away or save. I often toss them if I get one.

    This article is just the push I needed to go ahead and make a new one for nittyGriddy. Thank you :).

    I was reading Pat's comment about including a picture as well. I know people tend to remember faces and associate them with names – and I think it's a nice idea, but here's my question to you both:

    Will it take away from the professional feel or credibility factor or no? Cheesy or cool?

    I know that if Pat did it then it must be a great idea but still wanted to hear both of your thoughts – if there's more than what you already stated.

    I only ask this cause if it was a regular business card (you know what I mean) I don't think I would do that.

    I want it to look creative but at the same time inspire people to actually take me and my blog seriously.

    I like your idea of putting your url, email and twitter name at the back and a logo/tagline on the front – seems only logical to do so. Would you recommend adding your Facebook group as well?

    I'm thinking of keeping a white background on at least one side – that way it stays in tune with my current one that is white and gray. I'm a copywriter and MarCom Consultant so the blogging goes hand in hand.

    Anyways – just wanted to say thanks for the nudge. Great idea, great post!

    Cheers

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Ingrid,

      for your brand – definitely use the white IF it's part of your brand (don't just use it because 99% of the biz cards look like it :)
      Whatever you put on your card must be important, so if you consider your Facebook group to be super-important, use it as well.
      AND definitely add a call to action to your card as well, that's what I'm going to do with my next shipment !
      If you have more question, just shoot me a mail. NOW MAKE THE MOST AWESOME business card you can, Ingrid :)

    • Marcy Crandle

      Can't wait to see your new cards!

  • David

    Hey Mars

    my first comment and sorry for it being a hint for a potential typo. Somehow I seem to be the 'typo guy' :)

    You really mean 450 gramms?? That's almost half a kilo!? Can't be right, can it?? You'd probably make it into Guiness Book of Records for the heaviest business card around :)

    Regards from Greece,
    David

  • Todd

    Thanks for this post, Mars.
    Here’s the result from your inspiration for my new card: http://bit.ly/hkzi12.
    I find it simple and identical to my site. Next step is to get em printed ASAP.

    Thanks, Mars!

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      pretty ass-kicking, but I already told you that. It’s both funny and memorable = which makes it double-effective. Goood job, Todd.

  • Jgiganti

    Mars,

    Great advice. I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve been thinking a lot about doing this and I’m taking the next step.

    Jon
    1440
    http://www.myfourteenforty.com

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