Ever wonder how you can prevent your business card or resume from winding up in the slush pile? Well, Brian Spindel, president and COO of PostNet (as well as a frequent panelist at International Franchise Association conferences and conventions), may just have the answer for you. It's not easy making yourself stand out on paper, but there are ways -- and yes, paper is still "in"!
Q. What makes a business card or resume stand out from the rest?
A. Despite all the handheld devices and iPads at meetings, conferences and other events, you still see business cards exchanged on a regular basis. Design, stock, color, size, texture, and message all make a difference on the impression your cards make on the recipient. There are many strategies you can use to make your business card stand out; including simply incorporating your social networking URLs into your resume and business cards. This can include your Twitter handle, LinkedIn address, as well as a Quick Response (QR) code to make your business information downloadable into a Web format for smart phones, a conduit to Web information and downloads on smart phones.
Other ways to make your business card stand out are to use both sides of the card, and cater to your audience by printing your information in different languages for international clients. If relationships are important, consider a photo business card. These cards can also feature product photos. When deciding on paper, choose high-quality paper with a thick texture (such as linen) but make sure to maintain professionalism by avoiding glaring or florescent colors. Die cut and oversized cards are also effective at making your card literally "stick out" when cards are collected or piled.
Q. Are the "rules" different, say, for someone looking for working in the banking industry vs. the art world?
A. First of all, business cards are not just about contact details. The design and color scheme can say a lot (or too little) about you and your "brand." If your company or profession is more conservative, you want to stick with traditional fonts and colors. Whereas, if you are an artist, a colorful business card with rounded corners, glossy UV coating and raised print is appropriate. There are also newer specialty stocks that "say" something about your belief system. For example, some stocks are manufactured with sustainable resources that indicate the user is concerned about the environment.
Q. What's a bad example of a business card?
A. Never hand out a business card that is on a white stock with black type. It says nothing about you or says you are unoriginal. Make sure you remain practical. Cards that mix design elements and too many fonts lack practicality and, unless you are a clown for hire, undermine credibility. Our franchisees see many examples of bad cards produced by graphically challenged.
Q. What are some of the hot colors, styles, and paper stock for resumes and business cards this year? Do those really change, like fashions? Any specific fonts that are cool right now?
A. Business cards as well as resumes have evolved over the years from colors, shapes, fonts, and designs. Today, there are more specialty stocks featuring metallic finishes and are even made from unusual materials like plastics and wood. Paper is like fashion and does come in and go out of style. For example, speckled stocks were recently the rage and are now fading out of favor.
Q. What, exactly, is QR (quick response) code?
A. QR or Quick Response codes make your information download-friendly. Many early adopters are now including QR codes on their business cards so that others can use their smart phones to be instantly directed to a Web site or instantly download your contact information or a map of your business straight to their phone. The use of a QR code tells others that you are tech-savvy and like to be on the cutting edge of trends in those areas.