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The Best Instructions for Designing Business Cards

Updated: Jul 3, 2022

These commercial multi-tools satisfy many of the fundamental requirements of the professional, including branding, call-to-action, advertising, and so on. They also, of course, contain contact information. These little billboards may attract devoted clients from passing strangers when they are well designed and leave an impact.

A business card is a tiny, printed paper card that is typically credit card size and contains information about your company, including your name, contact information, and brand logo. A visual expression of your brand design, your business card design is a crucial component of your branding.

We'll go over all you need to know about business card design in this article so you can give your designer detailed instructions. This tutorial shows your alternatives for the card that's most... you. Business cards should always be personalized.

Let's first speak about the prerequisites before diving into the eight phases of business card design.

Before you begin

Before you even start thinking about business cards, regardless of whether you're a solo freelancer, the founder of a fledgling startup, or a member of an established company, there are two critical design elements you need to finalize:

  • Finalized branding color scheme

  • Finish logo

The two most crucial visual decisions for branding are logos and color schemes. These components will not only have a significant impact on the design of your business card, but they will also have an impact on other features like layout and identity.

Know yourself

There is one more step that is necessary before moving on to the rest of the business card design process. You must be aware of your communication goals. What type of brand are you, as a person or a company? What do you want your business card to convey visually as well as verbally?

Here is a selection of inquiries to ask yourself in order to ascertain your unique brand identity. This is also a subject deserving of its own debate, so if you want to delve deeper, feel free. Thinking carefully about your personal brand will be beneficial when designing your business cards in the future, especially when it comes to showcasing your personality.

8 steps to designing a business card

You're ready to begin after you have your logo, brand colors, and a clear understanding of what you want your business card to say about you. To discover which business card design will work best for you, simply follow the 8 steps listed below.

1. Select a shape

You can move on to the next stage if you've already chosen on a conventional, rectangular business card. However, if you're interested in learning about all of your alternatives, including unconventional ideas, keep reading.

Professionals have greater freedom to experiment with unconventional forms as printing technology become more sophisticated and accessible. Die-cutting, a printing method, enables you to cut out any form while yet producing large quantities of prints.

For a friendlier business card, you may just go around the corners on the more conservative end of the range.

However, if you truly want to be amusing or stick out, you may use almost any form, including animal mascots, product outlines, or an entirely unique shape.

Even your entire business card motif might be based on creative cutting. The staff image on Cireson's business cards is strongly highlighted by form, making the individuals appear more approachable and genuine.

Depending on the impression you want to make, you could or might not utilize inventive forms. Special shapes help you stand out and look more entertaining, but they might backfire in more traditional sectors. Logistics, such as how the card fits in a wallet, are another consideration.

After completing step 6 and completing your design, you might wish to look again at the die-cutting option. For instance, some businesses, like STIR above, want to die-cut certain portions of their logos.

2. Determine your size

The card's size is the next choice you must make. This mostly relies on the national norm, so that's where you should start. Even if your goal is to stand apart, you must be aware of what everyone else is doing in order to do the opposite.

  • North American Standard: 3.5 × 2 in. (88.9 × 50.8 mm)

  • European Standard: 3.346 × 2.165 in. (85 × 55 mm)

  • Oceania Standard: 3.54 × 2.165 in. (90 × 55 mm)

No of the size, three things should always be taken into account while designing:

  • The section of the card that is most prone to bleed is its outermost portion.

  • The trim line is the line that cards are trimmed along.

  • Outside of the safety line, there is a risk of cutting errors. Don't allow crucial components like text or logos to go outside of this area.

  • Check out the following chart to determine the proper business card size while accounting for bleed, trim, and safety lines.

Setting the trim line at 0.125 in. (3 mm) from the edge is a good idea even if these regions differ based on the size and printer. The safety line should then be positioned at 0.125 in. (3 mm) from the trim line. Total distance from the edge of the bleed area to the inside of the safety area is 0.250 in (6 mm).

3. Add your emblem and any visuals

The logo is the first graphic component of your business card design that we will layout now. On your business card, your logo should be the main focus, while other flourishes and supplemental visuals can occasionally be effective as well.

Remember that you can use both sides of the coin. One tactic is to just include the logo on one side of the business card, and display the recipient's contact information on the other. However, it's also advantageous to have the logo on both sides, so frequently, as with Omni above, you'll notice a smaller, less noticeable logo on the side containing contact details.

However, this is only one tactic among several. Feel free to try other logo placements until you discover one that suits your preferences.

Although minimalist designs are common for business cards, you may add more visuals if the bare area doesn't appeal to you. When it comes to a charming theme, Londees aims to push as far as it can in the children's apparel sector. To that goal, they utilize a fading backdrop to prevent congestion and add more sheep doodles to their emblem, the sheep (also notice the use of soft blue, a playful and kid-friendly color). Any associated graphics serves the same purposes whether your logo is complex or just text.

Adding more visuals is a good way to showcase your business identity. You may convey your or your brand's personality through images, including colors, without stating it out loud. For instance, a funny cartoon and some vibrant colors might look approachable or casual, respectively.

Another trend that is becoming more and more common is using a little mystery to pique people's attention. Brands often use a wordless image with a URL on one side and all the essential information (such as the name of the company and its employees) on the other.

4. Add the required text

What's written on your business card is up to you. Freelancers that work from home may not require a postal address, but occupations that include in-person consultations do. Or perhaps you're making a purposeful decision, like highlighting your huge social media following. The idea is that various individuals might profit from utilizing various content on their business cards.

Making a decision about what to put on your business card is the next stage. Here is a list of some popular options so you can choose which to include and which to leave out.

  • Given name – Each card must have a name.

  • Company name – Another given, unless it pertains to personal branding in which case it is your name.

  • Job title – Your work title should be included on conventional cards. This serves to remind the recipient of your message about who you are, what you do, and even how you met.

  • Phone number – Even if you don't enjoy it, some people prefer talking on the phone to other forms of communication.

  • Email – A must-have for business cards, email has become the standard for non-urgent business communications, in part because it facilitates the attachment of documents.

  • URL of your website Including your website's URL is a friendly invitation to visit.

  • Social media – Include links to your social media accounts if they are pertinent to your industry or if you simply want to display some of your personality.

  • Address – Important for attracting clients to your office or retail space.

  • QR Code – While not as common as it once was, a QR code is still an effective shortcut for sending whatever data you require. Here are all the benefits of utilizing a QR code.

  • Slogan – Completely optional, a tagline aids in establishing business identification and lends some personality.

Keep in mind that the purpose of business cards isn't merely to transmit information, but also to retain it. Even though they might already be aware of your phone number, address, or URL, have a card on hand just in case.

5. Pick a font style.

You may select how it appears once you've decided what you want to say. Typography is crucial at all times, but on business cards it's especially crucial because there isn't much room and the text needs to be completely readable.

Let's divide typography into these three basic groups:

Size. You want all of your text to be at least 8 points in size to preserve readability. However, feel free to experiment with different font sizes since you want your most crucial components, like your name, to stand out. Keep your text tiny enough so there is plenty of breathing area around each piece; you don't want to overcrowd your card.

Font. You can learn more about typefaces and how they affect your brand identity in The 5 types of fonts and how to utilize them, which we've previously discussed extensively. Just keep in mind to pick a typeface that fits your desired personality. A neat and contemporary sans-serif, a unique and attractive script, or a timeless and traditional serif font? Here are a few illustrations showing the benefits that various font types may offer.

Color. Here’s where a pre-existing brand color scheme comes in handy. Staying on-brand, choose text colors that go well with the background color of your card, which should also be a brand color. Similar colors may look nice together but can be hard to read, so experiment with contrasts for legibility.

The most important thing in typography is legibility; this is the golden rule. No matter how beautiful your font is, it won't matter if no one can read what it says.

6. Think about unique finishes

As you near the finish line, it's time to start thinking about printers, particularly in terms of what they can provide. Some printers have unique finishes that can really help leave a lasting impression. Check to see if any of these "special effects" will help your design plan for business cards.

Embossing. By using this process, three-dimensional reliefs are created, causing some regions to "jump out." Similar to spot UV coating, you may use it to highlight particular elements of your card, including words.

Letterpressing. Letterpress printing pulls the paper down while inking it as opposed to lifting it. The end result resembles an engraving and is frequently printed with distinctive ink to attract more attention. Useful for letters since it lends your words more gravity.

Metallic stamping. You may foil stamp all or just a portion of an image to create something glossy and reflecting like tin foil. If you've selected a bold enough typeface, this also works for underlining text.

Spot UV protection. A smooth varnish is used on several cards to give them a gloss and smooth touch. The same procedure is done, but only in certain places, using spot UV treatment. This implies that you can only gloss a portion of your logo, a set of visuals, or even a single word or phrase. Use it to draw attention to certain regions while minimizing the effect on the rest of the composition when only a piece is bright.

7. Select a designer.

Finding a skilled designer who can make the ideal card for you is a smart idea if you truly want to stand out with your business cards. You may hunt for a local freelance designer or look for one with the proper aesthetic and experience on a website. To determine if they are a suitable fit for your brand, be sure to look over their portfolio.

Once you've identified the ideal individual, make an effort to explain your company's mission and the type of atmosphere you want to create so your designer can realize your vision.

8. Complete the design.

You may reassess your design to make sure everything functions after all the components are in place and an exact projection of your final color selections and special finishes is available.

Analyze the visual flow by watching how your eyes move when viewing the card. What do you initially notice? Last? A solid visual flow should begin with the logo, go on to the name, move on to the secondary information, and then, if applicable, end with any supplementary graphics. The size and placement of an element may always be altered to improve the visual flows.

Additionally, you should get rid of all the clutter you can. Is every piece of information required? The more the influence each has, the fewer the remaining components are.

Verify again to make sure you avoided any typical mistakes. Is the writing clear? Are the hues in conflict? Any components that are too close to the edge?

Don't forget to request a vector file and a PDF that is based on vectors from your designer once the project is complete. In case you need to adjust the size, vector graphics are preferred, and nearly all printers can read PDF files.

Advanced approaches

These eight steps are all you need to make a business card that works perfectly, but if you want to take things a step further, think about these more sophisticated suggestions:

Make a splash with a brilliant concept. You can use more innovative techniques for differentiating oneself if your sector permits some whimsy.


Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC is a marketing agency in Red Bank, NJ, Westport, CT, and everywhere in between. We service businesses with marketing strategies, digital marketing, social media, and consultations.

Phone: NJ: (732) 802-6205 // CT: (203) 429-9671

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