The whole purpose of handing out a #business card is to connect with people, share your contact information, and promote your brand.
A business card should always include these 7 basic lines
- Your name
- Your company or business affiliation (with a logo if available)
- Street address
- Telephone number(s)
- Fax number
- E-mail addresses
- Social media (i.e.Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) (Optional)
Business cards are printed on some form of card stock. The graphics, method of printing, and costs varying according to preferences. Select a quality card stock that has a good weight and feel. This lets the receiver know that you pay attention to such details and you do not leave things to chance.
With the onset of digital printing, and batch printing, it is now cost effective to print business cards in full color. Use this to your advantage.
To simulate the effect of printing, a less-expensive process called thermography was developed. This process uses the application of a plastic powder, which adheres to the wet ink. The cards are then passed through a heating unit, which melts the plastic onto the card.
A business card can also be coated with a UV glossy coat. The coat is applied just like another ink. UV Coating is not to be confused with coated stock, which has a gloss or semi-gloss finish that is applied before printing.
Business cards can also be printed with a digital copier, which uses toner fused onto the surface of the card; however many modern printing firms instead utilize high end “Digital Presses”.
UV coats and other coatings are used to speed manufacturing of the cards and so that the cards dry quicker and not “offset”, (the ink from the front of one card will mark up back of the next one). Plastic lamination can also be applied to thicken thin stocked cards and make them more durable.
Fold-over or “tent” cards and side fold cards are popular as well. Generally, these cards will fold to the standard size. Cards can also be printed with a different language on each side.
Business cards are no longer held to card stock. Some innovative materials now used include plastic (PVC), especially frosted translucent plastic, crystal clear plastic, white or metallic plastic. Other extraordinary materials are metal, rubberized cards, rubber, magnets, poker chips, wooden nickels, and even real wood. These can be quite costly.
Business card software
Printing your business cards is not recommended for everyone. Unless you have a high quality colour printer and purchase top of the line card stock so that the perforations do not stand out, your best option is to seek a discount card service online.
If you choose to go this route, many high-quality affordable software programs that provide you the tools to create a great card. Such software typically contains design, layout tools, and text editing tools and will integrate with other software (like mail clients or address books) to eliminate the need of entering contact data manually. Cards are usually printed on business card stock or saved in an electronic form and sent to a print shop. Multiple programs are available for users of Linux, Mac and Windows platforms.
In addition to business card software, many printing firms now offer a web-to-print service, which allows the customer to choose from a selection of stock design templates, customize online using their own logos and imagery, select quantities, view pricing options and request them for delivery to home or business addresses. Often this process is applied to business cards, letterheads, notepads, and labels.
Japan Customs Presenting your Business Card
Conducting business with a Japanese firm is a very formal affair. A Japanese business card is called a meishi. It typically features the company name at the top in the largest print, followed by the job title and then the name of the individual. This information is written in Japanese characters on one side and often English on the reverse. Other important contact information is usually provided, such as business address, phone number and fax number.
The presentation of one’s meishi to another person is more formal and ritualistic than in the Western world. The card should be held at the top two corners, face up and turned so that it can be read by the person receiving it, who takes it by the bottom two corners using both hands. Placing one’s fingers over the name or other information is considered rude.
Upon receiving the meishi, one is expected to read the card over, noting the person’s name and rank. One should then thank the other person and bow. When meishi are being exchanged between parties with different status, such as between the president of a company and someone in middle management, it is proper that the person of lower status extend his or her business card in such a way that it is underneath or below the meishi being extended by the person in a higher position.
Meishi should be kept in a smart leather case where they will not become warm or worn, both of which are considered a sign of disrespect or thoughtlessness. A received meishi should not be written on or placed in a pocket; it is considered proper to file the meishi at the rear of the leather case. If the meishi is being presented at a table, the recipient keeps the meishi on top of the leather case until they leave the table. If several people are involved in the meeting and one receives several meishi, the one with the highest rank is kept on the leather case, and the others beside it, on the table.
The manner in which the recipient treats the presenter’s meishi is indicative of how the recipient will treat the presenter. Actions such as folding the card in half, or placing the presenter’s meishi in one’s back pocket, are regarded as insults.