I’ve had years of practice at biting my tongue. However, a recent article by ‘self-employed’ journalist Joe Donatelli left a bitter taste in my mouth… a taste that can only be washed out by telling you why he is wrong. The article details how slimline business cards are embarrassing to hand over and create a poor first impression – if any at all. To that I say “rubbish!”
As the owner of a slimline business card (actually, over 500 of them) I feel it’s my duty to stand up for them. They’re half the height of a standard business card with all the impact – and if done correctly, very eye-catching. The role of a business card, first and foremost, is to simply provide contact details of one business person to another. Secondly, it’s to provide a snapshot of the business and/or person.
Slimline business cards – small in size, big in impact
There were a few lines in Joe’s article that stuck with me like a corn kernel between the teeth. Not because they were glaringly wrong (it is an opinion piece, after all) but because they just don’t give slimline business cards a fair go.
‘It’s embarrassing when someone hands you a mini business card and the look on your face is “Where is the rest of your business card?’
No, embarrassing is fumbling around for your business card and settling for the back of a shopping receipt. I’ve been in business and exchanging business cards with people for five years now, and not once, after being handed a slimline card, have I thought this. Perhaps if the card was torn in half, I might have entertained the idea.
‘What was wrong with the old way we did business cards? They were fine.’
You’re right, some are fine. Blackberry thought sticking to their guns in the face of smartphone innovation was “fine”, and today they spend most of their time eating Apple and Google’s dust. The point is being “fine” is being part of the pack. Being unique is the way to get ahead of it.
‘New-style mini business cards are easily lost in the chaos of modern pockets.’
I love this one. The concept of a ‘modern pocket’ is just visually brilliant. I imagine something from the movie Tron. You dip your hand into your jeans equipped with modern pockets and suddenly you’re transported into this neon world of chaos. Business cards, lint, chewing gum wrappers whiz past you at great speed. This bizarre hellscape is purgatory for pocket detritus.
The simple fact is you won’t lose anything, not even a slimline business card, in your pockets… unless you have a hole in them.
‘They’re virtually invisible in a business lady’s purse.’
This one I can appreciate – only because I have a man bag and love making the joke “I can never find anything in here” when at the checkout. If you take business (and your clients/business partners) seriously, you’ll safely stow business cards in the available slots of your wallet until you get back to the office – where they go into a designated draw or tin for future reference.
In my book there are only four mistakes you can make when choosing a business card:
1) Unclear or cluttered contact information
2) Poor quality stock
3) Not creative/clean design
4) Going too big
The lesson? Sure, some people might end up losing your slimline business card. Not because it’s small or because it had sharp corners so they had to put it down. It got lost because either it wasn’t memorable enough to keep, or because the first impression you left them with wasn’t enough to make them care.