A business card? It’s just an email address isn’t it? Seen one, seen ‘em all right! In the internet age, this time honoured antique seems rather low tech, even irrelevant. So much so in fact, that for less than the cost of a sandwich, you can have 250 of the little darlings delivered to your door! All you have to do is go online and press a few buttons!
I recently had a ‘business card situation’ with a young man who had joined a long term client’s business. He told me exactly how much his cards would cost at Knock’emout Print and perhaps I’d like to requote…in fact – he continued – their PR company would produce the design and artwork for free! I later learned that the PR company was on a monthly retainer, so his choice of the word ‘free’ was a subjective one that underlined a lack of understanding about (and even respect for) what design and marketing discipline is there to do for a business.
But if the purpose of the humble business card is to make a first impression (and we all know that you can only do that once), aren’t we missing the point by buying in this way? Because what you leave at that all important introduction is a representative of the standards you deliver – and the promise of who you are.
At the risk of falling out with every printer in the country, I’m going to argue that going to a printer without using a designer is like going to a builder without using an architect – the results of bypassing design are usually predictable whether it’s a building, a website, the sign that tells people they’ve arrived at your door, or for that matter, a business card.
Who’s going to kern the type so that it looks as though it’s been set, rather than just typed? Who’s going to create a ‘grown up’ identity, or consider your corporate guidelines, the visibility of typefaces, the materials, the layout and the use of space? Who’s going to think about the durability and the finishing flourishes that make a business card (or any other piece of promotional material) memorable so that it can speak to the recipient in the way you’d want it to?
Ultimately, what’s the point of spending money on print at all, if the first impression it makes is one of mediocrity – or worse?
There are more questions than answers in the lines above, and here’s another. As business looks for ‘new’ ways of making that crucial first impression, are we moving towards an unexpected renaissance in print where bespoke elegance is once again demonstrated at the end of your arm as you give or receive a business card or brochure?
We’ve noticed a discernible upswing in the interest in high end print recently, but the only question that really matters is, how much do you value your brand?
Clichés can hold a lot of wisdom and as I started with one, I’ll finish with one…You get what you pay for!
TAG. Be Memorable.