business cardsShrink and simplify

Busi­ness cards, like cap­tion pages, have to fit a lot of in­for­ma­tion in a small area. But they of­ten try to do too much.

For in­stance, the card lay­out be­low is fairly com­mon among law­yers. I call it the base­ball-di­a­mond lay­out: in­for­ma­tion is pushed out to the cor­ners in the mis­guided be­lief that the shape of the card should dic­tate the shape of the ty­pog­ra­phy. As I men­tioned in max­ims of page lay­out, this tech­nique tends to pro­duce mediocre results.

  1. Goofy fonts used for all text.

  2. Point size of name too large.

  3. No let­terspac­ing in caps.

  4. In­for­ma­tion pushed out to corners.

The guid­ing prin­ci­ples with busi­ness cards are the same as with let­ter­head. Re­move any­thing nonessen­tial. Don’t worry about the text be­ing small—there’s not very much of it. Build the lay­out from the text out­ward. The white space will take care of it­self. If you work from the edges of the card in­ward, you’re more likely to end up with a base­ball diamond.

  1. Eq­uity used for all text, rather than Goofy Sans and Goofy Script.

  2. Point size more rea­son­able and consistent.

  3. Text lay­out simplified.

  4. Pom­pos­ity eliminated.

See the notes un­der let­ter­head for gen­eral tips about get­ting sta­tionery items de­signed and printed.

In ad­di­tion, care­fully con­sider the pa­per stock for your busi­ness cards. More than other printed items, busi­ness cards pro­vide a tac­tile ex­pe­ri­ence, much like shak­ing some­one’s hand. A busi­ness card should feel great be­tween your fin­gers. I’ve got­ten too many that felt like valet-park­ing receipts.

For that rea­son, I can’t en­dorse laser-printed busi­ness cards. Those sheets of per­fo­rated cards de­signed for laser print­ing are mis­er­ably thin, and the re­sult­ing busi­ness cards are flimsy and sad. Get them pro­fes­sion­ally printed, ei­ther lo­cally or through an in­ter­net printer.

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