This year is quickly drawing to a close and you may be considering a facelift or update to your law firm's visual brand elements to kick off 2018. Perhaps one of the most visible components of your printed materials is your business card. Even in the digital age, they continue to be vital for networking and client interactions. Your card is oftentimes the first touch someone will have with your brand, so it needs to be good. In this week's post, we'll break down the top four elements of a thoughtful business card to arm you going forth.
Fonts! Man oh man, font preference is subjective and divisive. Some people adore Times New Roman (so classic!), whereas others refuse to use anything other than Helvetica (so sleek and modern, what other font could you need?) That said, there are some general guidelines when it comes to choosing typography:
- Serif vs. sans serif: A serif font has embellished lines that look a bit like feet, whereas a sans serif font is typified by clean, unadorned lines.
- Serifs are considered traditional, timeless, conservative, and professional.
- Sans serif fonts convey simplicity and modernity.
Pro-Tip: You can combine a serif font with a sans serif font, but stay away from using two different serifs together or risk seeming disorganized and cluttered.
2. Shape & Texture
Did you know that you don't have to use a traditional rectangular business card? There are so many more options these days and switching it up could set you apart from your competitors. And then comes the question of texture; there are even more options in this arena. Will you pick one with a high gloss or matte finish? Recycled material or scented? Metallic ink or monochrome embossed? You can really do anything you can imagine, but keep the following in mind:
- Do you care if your cards fit in a wallet?
- Will additional design elements make them cost-prohibitive, so you become too stingy with your cards?
- Does your design choice match other brand elements or is it an outlier?
- Is your card aesthetically appealing to the majority of your clients?
Pro-Tip: The thicker the card, the guiltier people feel about throwing it away.
The color scheme you choose should make sense with the rest of your established brand materials. For example, if your well-known logo is navy blue, changing it to hot pink so as to stand out on a card is going to be odd if you've never incorporated it in any other pieces. Another thing to keep in mind is the power of color psychology. Here's a simplified rundown of common color connotations and associations:
- Blue: Tranquility, professionalism, confidence, trustworthiness, serenity, formal.
- Green: Fresh, eco-friendly, wealth/money, lively.
- Yellow: Fast, affordable/cheap, playful, friendly, innovative, cowardice.
- Orange: Creative, affordable, warm, unique, approachable, adventurous.
- Red: Power, passion, romance, urgency, danger, intensity, determination.
- Purple: Royalty, expensive, traditional, wise, ambition, soothing.
- White: Cleanliness, purity, traditional/conservative, simplicity, goodness, sterility, innocence.
- Gray: Stoicism, authority, formal, neutrality, modernity.
- Black: Elegance, mystery, power, formal, protection.
Pro-Tip: More than 2-3 colors will look messy and cost a lot more.
4. Content & Whitespace
A good business card gives you the information you need and nothing you don't. This isn't the place to be verbose or cluttered. Keep it simple and include enough whitespace that it's easy to read. Your card should include:
- The name of your law firm
- The name you go by professionally
- Your title
- A phone number you actually answer
- An email address you check daily
- A link to your website if you're proud of it
Additional elements that some people choose to include are:
- LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram handle
- A professional photo
- A quote
- A brief description of your position or firm (as in a couple of key words or a very short sentence)
Once again, consider your target audience. If your clients aren't particularly active on social media, you probably don't need to include your Twitter handle. Furthermore, if you never check email but communicate with clients via text, put your cell number on it and scrap your email address.