Handshakes and Business Cards

Handshakes and Business Cards

In the west, a firm handshake inspires confidence, a limp handshake is considered weak. In China, and many parts of the east, a weak handshake is far preferred. In Japan it is a sign of respect to grasp the right arm with the left hand when shaking hands; and the look of ‘homie handshakes' can vary from one end of the city to the other.

Business cards are much like handshakes. Upon meeting a new prospect or business contact face-to-face the offer of, ‘here is my card,' is as vital as the right kind of handshake.

Very often, the person glancing down at the business card that you have just handed them is getting the first visual hit of your brand identity. The standard size of a business card is 85mm by 55mm.  So this comparatively small area of space has a great deal of very important work to do.

Clearly the combination of colours, typefaces, images, layout, content, textures, material, effects, shape, paper type and weights is infinite.  The Sky (and your budget) is the limit.

However, in our view, if you are employing a graphic designer or illustrator to design your cards, to get the best results-to enable the designer to really use their imagination and creative flair to best serve your business purpose, it is important to create, (however simply), a clearly focussed design brief.

Apart from showing your designer all your existing marketing materials, these are some things that you could very usefully be communicating or perhaps reiterating.

1.       The values of your brand world: what your brand stands for, tone of voice, personality.

2.       The sector of business in which you operate (where your prospective clients are) and its values.

3.       Examples of cards you have been given over the past six months.

4.       Examples of what you like and what you are not comfortable with - setting design parameters  (for example: I do not want my cards printed on clear material)

5.      The information you want on your card.

a.      Are you considering having QR codes, social network info?

b.      Are you considering having descriptor?

c.      Would you like a call to action on your card?

d.      If you are printing cards for a special event like a trade show or launch, have you thought of including any other interactive ideas?


I hope these points have been useful. We have started collecting examples of interesting business cards on our Pinterest page.  Please take a look for some really inspiring ideas.  And if you would like to have a chat about your business cards or stationery, you can always give us a call.

Posted on April 5th 2012

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