Want to play your cards right?

Business cards should work as hard as you do. Use these tips to create ones that sell.

to promote new products or services by incorporating pictures or graphics. Gaines, for example, uses his card to market his design firm and promote his retail project, Visual Funk.

  • Card stock. Like a handshake, a business card should be firm and solid. To create a durable card, use 80-lb paper. Thinner cards bend and tear too easily. Heavier cards, however, are sturdier and project a solid business image. Various textures, which you can choose, include linen, bond, granite and sandstone. To add gloss to your card, consider using postcard stock.
  • Typeface. People shouldn’t have to squint to read your business card. You should use a typeface no smaller than 7 points. If you can’t fit all of your information on the front, don’t decrease the point size to make it fit. Use the back of the card. You may want to consider a folding business card. It’s the same size as your 3.5-by-2-inch card, but it acts as a mini-brochure, giving you more printing space. Before printing hundreds, test a sample card on your colleagues to see if it’s readable.
  • Although prices of business cards vary based on the amount of color used and the card stock, they can cost anywhere from $30 to $500 for 1,000 cards. You can have them printed at your local stationery store or through printing shops such as Kinkos and PaperDirect. But Gaines suggests using a graphic designer to create a unique look.
  • Of course a box filled with creative cards is useless unless you pass them out. Make it a point to hand out as many of your business cards as possible every day.

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