What’s the best size for your business card?

When it comes to business card design there are tons and tons of options you can use to stand out. There are different sizes, shapes, finishes, paper weights and styles but when it comes to your business card size, what's the best size?

The standard dimensions for a business card are 3.5”x2”. It may seem novel to have a card that is larger or smaller and draws attention to it by being an odd size, but as a designer I always recommend using the standard size. There is a good chance it will get lost or discarded because it doesn’t line up with the others and it ends up feeling like a bit of a misfit.

Typically, business cards are horizontal but if you have lists of services or you are working with an image or logo that works better vertically, a vertical card is perfectly fine. I would recommend that if you go vertical, you do so for both sides. The same goes for a horizontal card; switching orientations from the front to the back feels choppy and awkward.

If you're feeling like this is a boring choice, I recommend going with a jazzier paper or adding a finishing option like edge painting or a foil stamp.

Need more design tips? Check out my Design & Branding guide that includes all of my design secrets in one handy little guide, perfect for designers, students or new business owners who are ready to look their very best.

BONUS! Generate the best ideas using my free Brainstorm Like a Pro ebook, get it here for FREE

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5 Ways to Spot a Career Freelancer

There are two categories of freelancers and knowing how to spot the difference between the two will help you make the best decision when looking for some help. Temporary freelancers are just what the name implies, they may be currently transitioning between jobs, trying to make some extra cash on the side or freelancing as a hobby as projects pop up. This type of contractor might not be the best fit for you if you're looking for someone who's going to be reliable and with you for the long haul. The other type of freelancer is the career freelancer, this type of worker is going to be the best fit if you're looking for reliable talent who will be there indefinitely to help you with your business, below are 5 ways you can spot a career freelancer.

1 - They work regular business hours

Not all career freelancers work exactly 9-5, but they should be keeping somewhat regular hours and you should have a good idea of when they will be available. If you're constantly playing phone tag, they're getting back to you days or weeks later and at odd hours, they might not be as dedicated as you are. Asking what their typical availability is should get you the answers you need.

2 - They treat their business like a business

Career freelancers usually have a great website that is a bit more robust than a typical portfolio style site that one would use for getting a job. You shouldn't see a resume, but you should see some recent work, some awards, a great bio, a services page, etc. They will also have some great branded materials, and have a distinct process for how they do things.

3 - They have a lot of experience

You can see from a portfolio the type of work they do, but talking to someone you should be able to get a deeper understanding of their level of experience. Have they been hired by big companies and have a history of challenging and varied work? Have they been freelancing for more than a few months? Have they ever worked on a project similar to the type of project you're needing to have done? How did it go? What were some challenges, how were those solved? A good career freelancer will be able to easily navigate challenging situations and working with difficult clients.

4 - You sometimes have to wait

Career freelancers are not always readily available, especially to new clients. Often times, you will have to wait a week or sometimes even a month for a project to kick off. While this can be irritating, it should be comforting to know they have lots of work and are dedicated to completing their existing projects before taking on more.

5 - They don't take every project or every client

Good career freelancers typically aren't desperate for work. They have a solid list of happy repeat clients and a flowing pipeline of work. They also know what types of clients and the kind of work that's a good fit for them. When you're a freelancer, potential clients propose all kinds of projects, which may be in or outside of your wheelhouse, a good freelancer only takes on projects and clients where they know they can shine and be successful. A career freelancer will be interviewing you the same way you'll be interviewing them, they'll ask a lot of questions about you and your project before saying yes.

Temporary freelancers are certainly great for certain types of work but if you're looking for a career freelancer who will be there for your business a year or 5 years into the future, these are some good ways to spot the differences.


Brain Cancer Awareness Month

May is Brain Cancer Awareness Month. Last May, this wasn't something I was aware of, but this May is much much different. My Dad was diagnosed with Brain Cancer in August of last year and even though I have quite a bit of medical knowledge, I quickly learned there was a lot I didn't know about Brain Cancer. 

I've learned a lot of complicated medical terms, I've learned about different types of treatments and research but there was a lot of basic knowledge that I just didn't have. Towards the end of April I knew I wanted to do something for May, but what? I could donate money, I could do a walk, I could do something myself, but it would be more impactful if I could convince other people to do something too. Since I'm a graphic designer and have a lot of experience working on campaigns, a social media awareness campaign seemed like the perfect choice.

I started with brainstorming, what kinds of things would be the most helpful to teach people about this disease? I narrowed it down to: important stats, research and education/important people. I know from some of the Facebook groups I'm involved in, people like to deliver cold, hard, sobering facts. There are a lot of sad realities to this disease but there is also a lot of hope and a lot of good people working everyday towards finding better treatments. Teaching people the basics first, and also sharing what they can do to help seemed like a more convincing and positive approach that might be better received. In the end, it's about awareness, the more aware you are of a problem, the more likely you are to get involved and/or help.

I quickly learned that facts were all over the internet and were VERY difficult to verify. Putting out accurate information was a top priority, so I started emailing people with more knowledge than me. Three people who were a tremendous help were Dr. Thomas Kaley, a Neuro-Oncologist from Memorial Sloan-Kettering, which is a very prestigious hospital in New York, NY and Dr. Shawn Carbonell who is a former Neurosurgeon turned private researcher who has a pretty big on-line following. I also enlisted the help of my favorite copywriter/editor, Rachel to make sure I didn't embarrass myself with grammatical and/or punctuation errors. These people were so helpful with making sure all of my information was correct. 

The campaign went live the last week in April and so far it has far surpassed what I thought was possible, as of May 2nd, it's been downloaded 530 times by people interested in running the campaign on their own Facebook pages. With about 100-500 Facebook friends on each page, that's a lot of awareness. The point of this post isn't to toot my own horn, it's to show that if you really care about something and want to do something about it, nothing's stopping you.

Below is a look at the final campaign, if you hover over the picture you'll see the 'call to action' and link for each post.