For small businesses, your business card is often the first form of marketing communications that potential customers see. It is the first chance you have to make a great first impression. In addition to providing all the necessary contact information, your business card should really stand out and help people remember your company long after they’ve met you. Here are some ideas to help you design a memorable business card.

Don’t be afraid to use color. Using more than just black, or not using black at all, is one of the easiest ways to make your business card stand out. Pick up the colors from your logo. There is no rule that says the background of the card has to be white. As long as it’s still easy to read the text, and it fits with the personality of your company, have fun with it!

Select a unique paper stock. You are not limited to white or cream paper. Papers come in a wide variety of colors and textures. There are papers with subtle patterns, metallic papers, recycled papers that show the grain, and they come in pretty much any color you can dream up. Talk to your designer or printer to get some samples.

Take advantage of the back of the card. There are so many ways that you can use this valuable space, and it’s not much more expensive to print on both sides. Here are some of my favorite uses. List the services that your small business provides. Include your company’s mission, tagline or a sentence about your company. Offer potential customers a special discount on your products or services.

Try new shape with a die cut. Creating a different shape around the edge of the card, or cutting a special shape out of the middle of the card, are great ways to get your business card noticed. Your printer may have existing dies that you can use to save costs. Or, you can create a custom die, but save money by only printing in one color.

Add a QR code for instant access to your web site. Quick Response (QR) codes are an easy, free way to make your business card interactive. Potential customers can use the camera on their mobile phone to link directly to your web site. Or you can encode your contact information so they can load it directly into their contacts on their phone.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to give your business card design a fresh look. When you’re creating your new card, keep in mind the personality of your company. Does the technique you’re using fit with the image you want to portray? Also, it’s best to use the less is more concept. It may be tempting to try all of these ideas, but limiting your design to one or two will keep the focus on the communicating the necessary information and marketing your small business.