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Your Business Card: Only the Facts

By Jacci Howard Bear

UpdatedOctober 19, 2016 .

Business cards serve many purposes but their primary purpose is to tell what you do and give the recipient a way to contact you. Don't leave off the information the recipient needs most.

At the very least, a name and contact method—phone number or email address—should go into a business card design. Although there are hundreds of possible arrangements, a few commonly accepted guidelines dictate where to place the most essential information. When in doubt or when there is little time to experiment, follow these guidelines for creating a basic, serviceable and effective business card.

Minimum Information for a Business Card

The standard business card size is 3.5 inches by 2 inches and mini business cards are even smaller at 2.75 inches by 1.125 inches. This isn't a lot of room for type and logos, but it is enough to get the job done. Although other information is optional, at a minimum the business card design should contain:

  • Individual's name and business name (or logo)

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  • Individual's title or some other descriptive text to indicate what the person does if it's not obvious from the business name
  • A way (preferably multiple ways) to contact the person.

    This could be a phone number, fax, email address, web page, mailing address or street address. You don't need to include them all. If you prefer to be contacted by email or phone, don't include other contact information on the card.

It is not necessary to include a complete listing of services or products on the business card. Keep it to the essentials. Use brochures and personal interviews to disclose the full range of services or products offered.

  • Orientation
    Horizontal layouts are the most typical, most widely used format for business cards.
  • Name
    Whether using a horizontal or vertical arrangement, the person's name or the business name is usually the most prominent item on the card. It is usually placed in the center or upper half of the card and emphasized with a larger or bolder font than the other text on the card. The title, if used, goes immediately beneath the name in smaller text.
  • Contact
    Contact information is usually placed in the lower half of the card (aligned left, right or centered). The preferred method of contact (such as phone number or email address) is often emphasized with a larger size or prominent placement.
  • Mini-Ad Layout
    Business card layouts frequently place the logo at the top or upper left of the card followed by the individual's name in bold with the contact information in the lower right.

Category: Business card

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