How to Create an Effective Business Card

There’s been some lively discussion online as of late about the effectiveness of business cards. We now have email, LinkedIn, Twitter, smartphones, and apps that can pretty much replace the business card. Maybe one day soon the business card will be obsolete, but not yet. And as long as people are carrying around and passing out business cards, you must make yours stand out and you must make it effective.

Most lawyers’ business cards are boring. They feel like construction paper–cheap and disposable. They’re usually white or beige with a cheesy gavel or scales of justice and some contact information for the lawyer. That represents about 99% of all attorney business cards I’ve ever received. They’re boring and I throw them out.

The business card is usually the one thing that prospective clients or referral sources take away with them after an initial meeting with you. They might have met with just you but chances are, they met you in a large group of people and you were one of a myriad of people they met that night. When they get back to their office, they dump out their stash of business cards that they’ve collected and it probably sits there for a day, or a week, or even months. When they eventually pick up that business card again to file it away or simply to enter the data in their contact list, chances are they’ve forgotten who you are. You are now just one of many people they’ve met that evening because your business card is indistinguishable from the rest.

Here are some things to consider when designing your next business card:

  • Use both sides of the card. There’s limited space on a card to tell your story, so make it work for you.
  • Remove cheesy graphics. Cheesy graphics are just that, cheesy. They don’t elicit authority like you think a gavel or scale of justice might.
  • Get a professional email. Don’t use anything that ends in, or worse, Instead, use your own domain name.
  • Tell them what you do. Don’t just put “attorney at law.” That doesn’t tell me what you do. If you’re a divorce attorney, say it.
  • Don’t be afraid to use color. You’re an attorney but that doesn’t mean your card should look like the walls of a mental institution.
  • Make it memorable. If possible, either have a professional design it or make the card stand out by adding something unique–but keep it clean and professional.

Gabriel is a divorce lawyer in Boston. Visit him at