Thoughts on Business Cards, "Leave Behinds" and Self Promotion Pieces
Business cards are one of the first design projects given to graphic design students, as these are a perfect platform for creating compositions and exploring the interaction between typography and visual imagery.
Although we live in an era in which we can add all of a contact’s information to our smartphones and can communicate with anyone, anywhere in the world, all at the touch of a finger, I recently learned that traditional, paper-made business cards are still used for quick and easy transfer of contact information, and still have not only importance, but power as well.
For the first time in my twenty plus-year career, I decided a few months ago to participate in a networking event for small businesses, with participants from a wide range of industries. All that the participants were asked to bring with them was their business cards.
As a visual communicator that makes an effort always to remember to have with me business cards ready to be handed out (and l usually feel great about them), I believed I needed more than them this time around.
I imagined putting some of my business cards on a table, along with thirty other individuals. In a short time, the table would be a sea of cards, and chances are some people would completely miss mine. I had to find a way to give my cards some added value and make them stand out, so they attract attention and make people curious enough to reach for one.
I decided to make a "leave behind", a self-promotion piece that will not only lead people to take one, but will make them want to keep it and hopefully remember the graphic designer they met at the networking event.
There were three parameters that I felt where important for me, and I believe are important for every designer who wants to create a self-promotion "leave behind":
1. It has to look consistent with the graphic language of your brand. In my case, I used the same color scheme, same typography, same clean lines and simplicity and same personal touch and overall feel as in my website, my Facebook page, my business cards and all of my design work.
2. It has to be in a comfortable format for people to keep and not throw away: not too big that will make them have to look for a place to put it, and not too small so it can get lost.
3. It has to represent you, your skills, capabilities and experience.
Since I did not want to separate between my business cards and the "leave behinds", I decided to make a folding piece, that when folded, has the dimensions of a business card, but when opened it surprises, is interesting and impressive enough.
I made a double-sided four flap printed piece:
The front had to attract attention and say something about me, so using only typography, I wrote in Hebrew: "THIS IS ME, AND THIS IS WHAT I LOVE AND KNOW HOW TO DO".
The back had to have all my contact details, including a QR code for smartphone scanning, and enable entry to my website.
In the remaining six flaps I had to best showcase my work’s range and variety.
I printed the pieces at home, cut and folded them, and included my business card. I inserted them into size-matching cellophane bags, and this immediately gave them the look and feel of a small gift.
I admit I was pleased with the result. I was happy to get great feedback and many compliments from my fellow event participants. It made people remember “the graphic designer from the meeting with the cool "leave behind", but most importantly, it opened for me new business opportunities.