Reverse Design Tip 7: The thicker the better

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It’s not often that that you’ll hear that said.

However, when it comes to making a first impression with a business card, many people fail to think about the messages sent (and received) when it’s handed over. I’m well aware that I’m fussy about these things – as a designer I would be, wouldn’t I? But, quality really does matter. The thickness, weight and feel of a business card conveys a lot of information about an individual and, by association, a company.

I know that this is true, from the observations I’ve made of peoples’ reactions. The first thing we all do is feel the card. Is it smooth or textured? Is there an embossing? We often turn the card over to see what’s on the reverse. Above all though, weight matters. Over the years, people have given me cards so thin that I immediately stop listening to them, discounting them as someone I want to do business with. A thin card says to me:

– ‘this person doesn’t care much about their business, so why should I?’
– ‘cost is always more important than quality’
– ‘he/she bought it from an instant card machine’

Ok, enough negativity – time to be positive. We all know that cost is an issue for small businesses, so what are the options for maintaining a good level of quality on business card production that doesn’t cost a small fortune?

Stack of business cards

1) First, don’t have your card printed on a board weight less than 400 gsm (grams per square metre). This is now the standard weight for most stationery producers. A 600 gsm ‘super weight’ board is now widely available. This can be costly, but there is plenty of online competition, so shop around

2) Ask a specialist local printer to show you some board samples and for a print quote. Feel the weight, texture and quality of the board and ask yourself ‘does that feel right for my business?’ If in doubt, ask someone to give you their opinion (someone you trust to give you a straight answer)

3) Get quotes from online-based print houses. There are loads to choose from and many will send you samples first. Typical prices are around £50 for 250 cards, printed on one side, if the card artwork is provided to them (they will charge more to design it for you).

Remember, people are brands. This is especially true of small businesses. As such, everything we say, do or show says something about our attitudes to the business. In a new business situation or networking environment, a business card is a great opportunity to say something positive that someone might remember, just long enough to prompt that all-important enquiry.

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