How to design a business card: Rules, tips and steps
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How to design a business card: Rules, tips and steps

How To Design A Business Card

Learning how to design a business card might seem unnecessary in today’s digital world. Why bother printing physical cards when you can just use your social media profiles to advertise your personal brand, or send your contact details to someone’s phone?

The simple answer is that your business card isn’t just a card. It’s a crucial part of your brand identity, and a valuable way to form connections with your target audience. Whenever you encounter potential clients or partners in-person, your business card gives them something to remember you by.

It provides a quick snapshot view of your brand identity, ensuring first impressions last longer. With the right business card design strategy, you can differentiate yourself from the competition, and unlock new opportunities for growth.

So, what does it take to design effective business cards? Based on my years of experience working with Fabrik to produce business cards and brand assets for all kinds of companies, I’m going to share my top tips in this step-by-step guide.

What you need for a great business card design

You’ll need a few crucial things before you can make your own business cards.

First, determine howyou’re going to create your business cards. The best way to ensure you end up with a professional finish is by working with a graphic designer. However, you can also design your own cards using free tools such as Canva, Adobe Express, or Visme.

Next, you’ll need your core brand assets.

You’ll struggle to create anything if you don’t already have:

Your business name

If you’re promoting your personal brand, you might just feature your own name on your cards. If you’re drawing attention to your business, then you’ll need to include your company’s name. Make sure it’s evocative, unique, and easy to remember.

A professional logo

Your logo is a core component of your brand’s identity. If you haven’t already designed a logo, reach out to a design team for help with logo design. The last thing you want is for a sub-par brand logo to damage your brand’s reputation.

A color scheme

Your color palette also has a direct impact on the impression you make when connecting with customers. Think carefully about the background color and core colors you’ll use on your printable cards.

Make sure the colors you choose work well together, and don’t harm the legibility of your card.

Here’s an attractive example of the business cards we helped Hawkswell create, to give you an insight into how all of these core elements come together:

How To Design A Business Card

How to design a business card: Step by step

Learning how to design a business card is still important in today’s digital world. According to one study, around 57% of businesspeople think having a card is essential to their growth. Plus, 72% of people still judge a company by the quality of their business cards.

The good news? Mastering business card design isn’t as challenging as it seems.

Here’s your step-by-step guide to designing unique business cards in 2024.

Step 1: Choose a template that reflects your brand personality

Unless you’re working with a professional on business card design, it makes sense to start with a template. Most graphic design tools come with pre-built templates for business cards that are ideal for highlighting the personality of your business.

If you’re using Canva for design, you can choose a brightly colored minimalistic business card template to show your creative and bold nature. Alternatively, you might choose a template that allows you to add photography, which helps showcase your product.

How To Design A Business Card

Choose a template that makes sense based on your unique brand identity. Think about how all of the design elements crucial to your business card, such as your company name and logo will work together with the format you choose.

Step 2: Select a shape and size

The size, shape, and orientation of your business card will influence how much information you can include. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy here. Most custom business cards are about the size of a credit card, and include business information positioned horizontally.

However, there’s nothing stopping you from experimenting if you want to differentiate yourself from the competition. You might choose a square shape or a rectangle with rounded corners, or create miniature business cards that only showcase a very limited amount of information.

Remember, you can always print on both sides of your card, to ensure you maintain plenty of white space in the design.

Here’s a great example from GamaLife, that features just the brand name/logo on the front, and critical information on the back:

How To Design A Business Card

Double-check which sizes and shapes your chosen commercial printer can offer before you make your decision. Additionally, remember to account for bleed areas, trim lines, and safety lines, to ensure no important information gets cut off during printing.

How To Design A Business Card

Step 3: Add your logo and essential graphics

Once you have your template, and you know the size and shape of your business card, you can begin to implement those essential visual elements we mentioned above. Start with your brand colors, thinking about how you’re going to balance your background color and other shades.

Next, add your business logo. I’d recommend using an entire side of your business card to draw attention to your name and logo, like Network Homes does here:

How To Design A Business Card

You can also include your logo, either in the form of a more transparent watermark in the background, or at the top of your business card on the other side.

Usually, the best way to ensure an eye-catching design is to keep things simple. Don’t overwhelm people with too many colors and graphics. If you want to add further graphics to highlight your brand’s personality, or your products, keep things simple.

Follow basic design principles, like ensuring there’s plenty of white space on the card, and making sure information (such as your contact details and website URL) is easily visible.

Step 4: Choose your typeface

After you’ve added all of the crucial graphics and colors to your business card, the next step is making sure it features all of the right information.

The first step you’ll need to take here is choosing the right typeface. If you already have visual brand guidelines, you should have an insight into which fonts you can use. If you’re starting from scratch, remember different fonts can send different messages about your brand.

If you want to present an air of authority and expertise, an easily legible serif font could be a good choice. If you want to seem more modern, opt for a sans-serif font. Remember to consider font size carefully too, the text you include needs to be easy to read.

You might choose to make more important information larger, such as your name, or bold particularly important details, like Lumeon does here:

How To Design A Business Card

Remember to consider the color of your text carefully too, ensuring there’s plenty of contrast between your typeface, and your card’s background.

Step 5: Organize your information

Now you need to ensure your details are organized effectively on your card.

It’s up to you to decide which information will be crucial on your business card, but I recommend including at least some of the following details:

  • Your name, your company’s name, or both.
  • Your job title (or a description of what you do).
  • Contact information, such as an email address or phone number.
  • A website URL or QR code users can scan to visit your site.
  • Social media usernames (if necessary for brand recognition).
  • The address of your company.

You can also consider adding a slogan or tagline to make your business card a little more memorable. Here’s a great example from Abri, a company that uses cheerful, positive messages to build relationships with potential customers.

How To Design A Business Card

I usually find it’s a good idea to follow a specific “flow” when organizing your information. Start with the logo as the central point of focus, then your name, before moving onto secondary information.

Step 6: Give your business card design a personal touch

At this point, you’ll almost be ready to send your card design file to a print shop to production. However, before you take this step, it’s worth thinking about any “unique extras” you can add to make your cards really stand out.

One option is to choose premium paper or card. Special finishes can make a huge difference to the impression you make on your customers, partners, and clients. Extra-thick paper creates a luxurious finish, while a glossy finish or letter pressing can draw attention to specific details.

You can even consider using a spot gloss affect to only add a shine to your logo, your business name, or certain words and phrases.

Alternatively, you could achieve a modern, sleek look with a full matte finish, like Adelio Partners does here:

How To Design A Business Card

If you’re still wondering how to design a business card that stands out, here are some good ideas:

  • Embossing: To create three-dimensional effects.
  • Foil stamping: For a glamorous and luxurious finish.
  • QR codes: To instantly direct customers to your website.

You could also consider creating a business card that serves another purpose. For instance, you might design a card that also doubles as a bottle opener.

How to make a business card the right way

Mistakes to avoid

While there’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for effective business card design, there are some mistakes I often see companies and professionals making when they design a card themselves.

Before you send your cards to the printing presses, make sure you haven’t:

Cluttered the card with too much information

A business card should only include essential information (and nothing else). If there are too many elements on the card, and not enough white space, your cards will seem cluttered and unprofessional.

Ignored the CTA

Just like your other marketing materials, the perfect business card should encourage potential customers to do something. Consider adding a QR code to drive customers to your website or ask them to call or contact you.

Made any silly mistakes

Typos, grammatical errors and misspellings will harm your brand’s reputation. Consider asking a friend or colleague to double-check the information on your card, and make sure it’s all correct. Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of money in the long term.

Used unnecessary borders

Borders might seem like a fun design element, but they can make it harder to maintain a consistent, professional image with your business cards. Avoid adding any extra design elements that aren’t necessary.

Saved the file in the wrong format

Make sure the final files you send to your printer follow their design and formatting guidelines. If you haven’t used official premade templates, there’s a risk your custom design will be ruined in the final printing stages.

Seek a professional business card designer

If you think a business card design that aligns with your broader visual identity isn’t necessary in today’s world of website and social media handles, think again. The right business card design is an important marketing asset in the business world, helping you connect with your target audience.

Creating attractive business cards you can share with customers and potential partners helps to keep you, and your brand top-of-mind with the people you meet. They offer an insight into your brand identity, and ensure customers always have a way to contact you.

If you’re struggling to get the right results with a free business card maker or online tool, the best option is to work with a professional design team.

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Stephen Peate
Creative director
Stephen Peate
Creative director
As Fabrik’s creative director, Stephen oversees complex branding programmes. He advises our clients on their tone of voice, creates logos and visual identities and crafts names for companies, products and services. Writing for Brand Fabrik Stephen reflects his love for logo design and visual identity.

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