Have you ever stopped to consider the subliminal messages you and your business card may be sending out to prospective clients? I don't mean in terms of deep, dark, psychological angst but simply that the colours and design of your card, and the way in which you present it to people, all carry their own message.

Colour psychology is well established and, whether we like it or not, we have become conditioned to respond to certain colours in specific ways. Try buying baby clothes for a new arrival and you will be hard pressed to move away from 'blue for boys', 'pink for girls'.

Valentine's Day comes coated in passionate red and hippies and spiritualists always tend to opt for purple. This means, even if stereotypes are an anathema to you, it is worth considering how the general public may react to the colour choices on your business card.

If your business is eminently serious and high-minded then try to stick to colours that reflect this. White is the most conservative of colours and can be combined with almost any other shade and still look highly professional. If you prefer something a little different, then look to the darker end of the colour spectrum: navy blue, racing green, or perhaps burgundy. Think about the colour palette for expensive sports cars and it is easy to see how we relate these colours to class and luxury.

Black connotates power, sophistication and perhaps a little mystery. Think of formal social occasions: the men all wear black-tie, black and white photography is used to create a stylish feel and men (or women) of mystery tend to arrive dressed in black, in a smooth black car with dark tinted windows and sporting dark sunglasses. Thus using a black background on your business card allows you to buy into all these connotations. Add a touch of gold and silver and you also give the impression of wealth and luxury, great for chauffeur business cards, less effective for advertising a budget hire car company.