Thursday, May 14, 2009

Business Cards

I try to apply the principles I advocate not only in large things, but also in small. My business cards are a good example.

When we design something, we need to consider the purpose of the thing we design. The purpose of my business card is to:
• make it easy to contact me
• make me memorable
• make the card holder want to contact me

The first item is easy. The contact information on my business card is no different from that of any other business card: Name, occupation, and contact info.

I have stacks of business cards I've got from people I've met, whose faces I don't remember. I often take a snapshot with a camera when I meet someone for the first time, and add the picture to the address book in my computer.

This is a bit of a hassle, so it was a pretty obvious idea to add a picture of myself to the card. I chose a picture of me when I am working. The idea is to show that I do work if you hire me. (The picture also shows that I drink tea while working, but I hope that doesn't put you off. Tea is the fuel driving my creative engine.)

Most business cards are blank on the back side. That is an obvious waste. The question is how to put the space to use.

I decided I wanted to show a little bit about what I do. I do a lot of things, so what should I choose?

Thinking a bit, I thought, wait a minute, why make a choice? If I print the cards in small batches, I can have lots of different back sides. That way, people can chose the card they are most interested in, or take a couple of cards.

I have found that many people like to take two, three, or even four different cards when I tell them it is okay to do so. That is a good thing, partly because it makes our interaction a bit more memorable, partly because they have an extra card or two they can pass along to others.

Sometimes, when I pass my cards to groups of people, they start comparing cards. This is great. One more reason for people to remember me.

I have learned to hold the cards so people see the back side before I hand them over. If I don't, most people will tuck the card away without looking at the back.

I have tested giving people the card with the back side up, and that seems to work well. One person I gave a couple of cards to today looked at them and said: "Ah, your elevator speech."

I made the card to the left this morning. I printed only eight of them. Because I print such small batches, I can tinker with the card design and keep improving it. The next batch of Strategic Navigation cards will be slightly different.

The Innovative = Competitive card was the second card backside I designed this morning. I had the opportunity to pass a few business cards around today, and this one seems to be a winner: The image and heading convey a simple, clear message, and the colors are bright.

I will stick with this one for awhile. It will be interesting to see how many phone calls I get from people who have gotten this one.


Tobias Fors said...

This is excellent. Simple and powerful: a result of good design thinking.

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