Taking care of business... cards!

How to Design a Business Card

How many business cards have you received in the last week? Month? Year? How many of those cards ended up somewhere other than the trash can? Creating a business card that entices someone to actually keep it can seem like a daunting task, but it’s not as hard as it seems. We’ve compiled a list of tips for you to keep your business card top of mind and out of the trash.

Decide what your business cards are supposed to do
What is the purpose for creating your business cards? Knowing the reason is an essential part of creating a well-designed card. Who is the audience? Do you want them to call you? Should they check out your website? These questions will help you decide what kind of feel your business cards should have, the material they are printed on, and what information is included on them.

Keep your business cards clean
Negative space is your friend when it comes to business card design. You want the viewer to be able to read and understand the information on the card—after all, that is the point. Choose fonts that are easily read and keep the space between lines larger. When choosing color, pick something that not only matches your brand, but that also makes the card easy to read. If you are going to use a lighter type on a darker background, make sure the type is large enough so it doesn’t get swallowed by its surroundings. Also, don’t choose colors that are too close in tone. Red and blue may look nice together on screen, but when printed could result in a legibility disaster.

Narrow down your information
While it would be nice to tell your whole story and include all of your contact information on your business cards, there simply isn’t enough space. This is where the purpose of your business card largely comes into play. If you want your audience to call you, it is obviously important to include your phone number; but, if you want your audience to check out your web presence, maybe your phone number isn’t as important. Another thing to keep in mind, phone numbers that can be turned into words can be easy to remember but difficult to dial. Similarly, long URLs are hard to type into a web browser, so it is best to keep your website name as short and simple as possible when you create it.

Print often
While designing your cards, use Control + P often. Printing out your cards lets you visualize how small they actually are and what the colors will look like on paper rather than on your screen. When printed, colors tend to be darker because there is no light behind them like there is on a computer screen.

Choose the right material
Traditional business cards tend to be printed on white cardstock. However, there are so many paper and ink options now that it is worth doing some research about how to differentiate your card. For example, consider using a heavy duty cardstock for a more expensive feel or experiment with color. Try using colored or white ink on a colored cardstock, or using a foil or spot varnish for a gorgeous and unexpected twist. Make your business cards into something useful, like a magnet. You could also print your cards on a transparent or frosted plastic for an elegant, professional feel. Spend some time with different materials to determine what material is going to fit your brand and budget best.

Pick a size
Who said your business card has to be a rectangle? You can make it a square, circle, oval, or even triangle if it fits your brand and message better. Just keep in mind, if your card is too big, it can’t be kept in a wallet and may cause the viewer to discard it due to the inconvenience. On the other hand, if the card is too small, you may not be able to fit all of your information on it or the user may lose it too easily. Funky shapes and cut outs make your card stand out, just don’t go too overboard or there may be nothing left to hold on to.

There are a lot of factors to keep in mind when designing an effective business card such as what information to include, the material, and the shape of the card. Each decision will play a part in representing your business, so don’t choose just any random design for your business cards.