Sunday, July 22, 2012

Folding Business Card Designs - Pros and Cons

Folding business cards are one of the current top trends in business card design.

They are designed to fold to the size of a standard business card, so easily fitting in a regular wallet or card-holder, but have twice as much space to fill. You can choose between the long fold, which will look like a mini greetings card, or the short fold, which allows it to stand vertically and fold out into a long bookmark shape. There is also the offset fold where the front is shorter than the back revealing the lower panel of information both open and closed. Well designed, all these formats can be appealing, functional and cutting edge, but there are also pitfalls to avoid.

You get a whole lot of extra space to include more information on products or services. You can add pictures, maps and all sorts of details on the inside of the fold, even making your cards into dual function mini-brochures.

The fold makes the cards self-supporting, so they can stand up and stand out on a table display making them far more noticeable and eye-catching than ordinary flat cards.

This format allows for plenty of creative design ideas and making your business cards into useful giveaways that people might want to keep longer - think about printing a reference guide relevant to your business in the middle: perhaps a weights and measures conversion guide; keyboard shortcuts list; a calendar; a planting guide; a colour chart, anything that your contacts might like to prop up on a desk or kitchen counter as a long-term reference.

You might prefer this format just because it allows for a whole lot of blank space inside to scribble notes. Some people print on the outside and leave the whole inside blank - especially in a business where the personal element is important. You can then scribble a twitter handle, a blog address a personal cellphone number inside before handing it over - whatever information is most relevant to that particular contact thus making your conversation more memorable.

Folding business cards can get too cluttered, as you try to cram in as much information as possible into what is still a relatively small space. Don't forget the prime design mantra of the business card - less is more.

These cards will cost more than ordinary business cards - they are effectively twice the size with twice as much printing and design involved, as well as the scoring for the fold. Weigh up whether you are saving money on other flyers and informational material by having the extra space inside - it could still be cost-effective if it saves you printing and giving out several other pieces of printed paper.

At double the size they are double the bulk, so you will have to carry more weight around in your pocket to have the same number of cards on hand: a small consideration, but worth remembering if you like to travel light.

In a similar vein, if you are going for the green approach they might not be your best bet - they use double the amount of card and ink, so even if you do choose recycled card stock and natural vegetable based inks, you are doubling the amount of resources used in your business cards.

If you decide to go for a fold, then make sure your designers make the most of it, so that it really does stand out from the crowd.