Personal Branding: Make Your Business Card Stand Out

How many different business cards do you have in your wallet or near your desk right now? Twenty? Fifty? One hundred and fifty? Whatever the amount, you can understand my point. Most businesspeople are inundated with business cards. The challenge becomes, from a personal branding standpoint, how do you make your cards stand out from the rest? You need to think outside the box for this one—but it’s a challenge because you really can’t stray too far from the accepted standards for a business card. After all, your cards still need to be able to fit in wallets, purses, rolodexes, etc. Below are some of my favorite suggestions to help your cards stand out in a sea of business cards.

1) Size your business card irregularly. The standard size of a business card is 3.5 inches wide by 2 inches tall. As I mentioned earlier, you can’t stray far from this standard, but there is some room for flexibility. In particular, slightly reducing either the height or the width (but not both) of your card is a great way to make it stand out from the pack without going too far.

2) Consider laying your card out vertically. Most business cards have a horizontal layout. Designing yours to be read vertically changes the feel of your business card.

3) Altering the shape of your business card. Stepping away from the standard rectangular shape of most cards can be a great way to stand out. Even a simple effect like rounding the corners can make a dramatic difference. If you’re brave, a circular shape or an industry-specific shape can be a great route to go.

4) Use creative materials. The texture and feel of your business card is important. Simply by using top-of-the-line paper and dyes, you can help your card stand out amongst the lower quality competition. Or if you want to go further, consider using plastic or some other material. Designing your card to double as a refrigerator magnet is another good idea, and the possibility that it will end up on a fridge instead of in the trash is a major bonus!

As you can see, there are a variety of options when it comes to differentiating your business cards from the competition. It is important to remember, however, that your card needs to send the right message about you and your company. Thinking outside the box is great, but make sure you stay true to who you are and what you do. A tax accountant, for instance, probably wants to stay away from a card shaped and colored like a tropical fish—though such a card might be a great idea for a travel agent.

Oftentimes, your business card is the only connection that a potential client or customer may have to you. If that’s the case, the benefits of having a memorable card are obvious. Take a few moments and look at your card. Does it need to be improved? If so, the tips above should get your creative wheels turning.