The problems with free (or cheap) business cards

Can have advertising for the printer/company on the back.

Cheap paper that bends easily and doesn’t feel good in your hand. It’s not unique and probably not FSC or eco-friendly (If that matters to you).

Registration might be off, meaning, the type or image will have an unintentional drop shadow or appear blurry.

Templates say nothing about your business and what you do, especially if your card is placed next to others (see photo below).

If it is not memorable, it does not stand out. It also doesn’t stand up for anything.

If you’ve manipulated the template or done your own design you can still have a few of the above issues but it’s better.

Assuming you have good alignment and spacing. Do you know what your colors and font say about your brand? Do you have a clear hierarchy? Do you have too much copy?

Do you have all your graphics at a high resolution (especially your logo) or do they appear blurry or pixilated?

Free says you are not invested in your business. Are you just testing the waters? If you believe in your business then you’ll have to put some money into it to be successful. Start with hiring for the things you are not good at, like design or marketing. Stick to the things you love, the thing you are being hired for (i.e. coaching, hair stylist, painter, plumber).

What’s better?

The right business card doesn’t exactly have a formula so much as be a representative of you and your brand. It should be uniquely you.

It should have the same colors, fonts and images that someone would also find on your website or other materials.

It should be easy to read (color, font size).

The information should be easy to understand. (What’s you business about? How can I contact you?)

It needs to appeal to your customers and be eye catching. (Here’s some more design hints)


Your business card should not be part of a matching game. You are unique and so is your business.

Business Card Bingo by Melissa Jones

P.S. All business cards contained in this photo are ones I’ve collected from different businesses and bulletin boards. What? But some of them look the same? Templates…why they are bad.