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10 Quick Tips: How to Design Good Business Cards (With Guidelines for 2019)


Small businesses are often discouraged from designing their own business cards, but when you’re just starting out and have limited cash that needs to be allocated strategically, you may have no other choice than to design your own business card.  

Business card by nicdark
Business card template by Nicdark

If you’re a small business needing to figure out how to make business cards you can be proud of, you first need to identify what makes a good business card, and then you need to access great Envato Elements business card templates or a great online business card maker like this one from Placeit.

Good Business Card Design - Guidelines for 2019

If you want to know how to make a good business card, you first have to understand the qualities that make up effective business cards. Good business card design should convey your business’s overall image in one glance. This may sound like a tall order considering that the average business card is generally 85 × 55 mm in size. 

Here’s the thing. Your business card can’t possibly tell your entire brand story, but it can use every single aspect of the card—its shape, size, card stock, colour, texture and text—to present the image that best sums up your company. 

Business Card by Micromove
Business Card by Micromove

So, if your company is an environmentally friendly travel agency, that should be communicated by the material you use to create your card as well as the logo, colours used, etc. Likewise, if you run a children’s indoor playground, you may want a card with an unusual shape that uses bright colours and playful but legible text. The point is to create a professional card that people will remember and associate with your business. 

Here are a few other crucial guidelines for creating effective and professional business card design:

  • Design your card with your audience in mind. If your target audience is designers, you would create a different type of card than if you're targeting bankers. 
  • Include only the most important information. Resist the temptation to overcrowd your card with tons of information, just include enough to make the card memorable and pique the recipient’s interest.
  • Make sure the text is legible. The point of your business card is to communicate, so if the text is too small, distorted or excessively stylised, no one will be able to read it.
  • Honour negative space. Resist the temptation to fill every conceivable millimetre of your card with either text or graphics. Here the old adage ‘Less is more’ applies. Including some negative space gives the eye somewhere to rest and makes the information you do include stand out.
Business Card
Business Card

10 Business Card Tips (Unique Design Ideas)

Effective business cards are a powerful tool that tell the story of your brand and create a lasting impression on prospective clients and customers. It's important that you understand how to design a business card so that it communicates what your company stands for, helps distinguish your business from the competition and encourages potential clients and customers to get in touch with you. That’s why we’ve created this list of business card design tips to not only help you create your own card but also to make sure that you get your business card design right.

1. Study Business Cards from Across a Variety of Industries

Real Estate Business Cards Templates
Real Estate Business Cards Templates

One of the best ways to come up with business card design ideas is to study effective business cards from a variety of industries, including your own. Try to collect as many as you can and lay them out on a flat surface. Make a note of what you like and don’t like about each card, what you find memorable and what you think just doesn’t work. 

Next focus on the cards of your competitors. Are there qualities that they've got in common? Which cards stand out and why? Which are you drawn to and why? 

You may want to emulate some of the qualities you’ve identified that you like, find successful or that are memorable in the cards you’ve studied. Just remember though that you don’t want to emulate your competition too much because you want to retain some qualities that'll differentiate your business. 

2. Make Your Business Cards Consistent With Other Brand Materials

Business Card by micromove
Business Card by Micromove

Before you start to design your business card you should have decided on your brand logo, typography and colour scheme. These are the foundation of your brand identity. They should play a big part in the style and layout of your card and should be consistent across your website and other promotional materials.

3. Use Basic Design Principles

Business Card Maker for Audiovisual Artists
Business Card Maker for Audiovisual Artists 

As printed materials, the basic principles of paper-based design apply to good business card design. You need to keep all your key copy at least 5mm from the trim edge of your card, maintain a minimum size for your text to remain legible, design in CMYK and work at 300dpi to achieve the best quality reproduction. 

It might also be helpful to use a grid to achieve proper business card layout of all the elements you use. This will help you to achieve the right hierarchy of information and ensure good alignment of different elements.

4. Choose the Best Shape and Size Card for Your Needs

Modern Minimalist Business Card Vol 05 by RahardiCreative
Modern Minimalist Business Card Vol. 05 by RahardiCreative

Business cards are traditionally horizontal rectangular cards, but that doesn’t mean that yours has to be. Depending on your industry, the brand image you want to project and the audience you’re communicating with, your card can take on a number of other shapes from organic to geometrical. Really you want to consider what shape and size card best represents your brand. Even if you don’t want to step too far out of the box, consider a vertical rectangular card. They're less common than horizontals and can differentiate you from the competition. 

5. Keep Your Design Simple

Minimalist Business Card Template
Minimalist Business Card Template
There’s a belief among design novices that simple equals boring, but this is far from the case. Minimal designs can be quite elegant, and best of all, creating breathing room on your card allows important information to stand out and catch the eye. 

6. Don’t Forget Key Contact Details

Dermatologist Business Card Template
Dermatologist Business Card Template 

There's some basic text that every business card should have to allow potential clients and customers who you hand your card to contact you. This will vary from company to company and individual to individual, but the most standard information on effective business cards is generally:

  • company name
  • your name
  • job title
  • contact information: phone number, email, address, one or two key social media channels 

For some businesses, just the name, title and a telephone number might be relevant, while for others all the above information will be included. 

7. Consider Including a Positioning Statement

Business Card Maker for Financial Analysts
Business Card Maker for Financial Analysts

A positioning statement is a short statement that most clearly defines your brand and its values and differentiates you from your competitors. For example, Nike: 

Just do it. 

Creating and including a compelling positioning statement on your card is a powerful way to stand out, be memorable and establish a connection with your potential clients.

8. Proofread Carefully

Motherboard Business Card Template for Web Developers
Motherboard Business Card Template for Web Developers

There's nothing more off-putting or more likely to damage a prospective business relationship than a business card with spelling mistakes or incorrect contact information, so proofread your card carefully and get others to proofread it for you. Double and triple check your contact details and make sure everything is legible.

9. Use Professionally Printers and First Rate Materials

Business Card by TMint
Business Card by TMint

A well-designed and professionally-printed card inspires trust and sets a relationship off to a good start. So, don’t let down your good business card design with shoddy printing on poor card stock. Once your design is complete, be sure that you've got your card printed professionally on good card stock. This will not only make a good impression but will help with card durability. 

10. Use a Business Card Maker

Placeits Business Card Maker
Placeit's Business Card Maker

Finally, if you know your way around Adobe Photoshop and/or Illustrator, one of the best ways to make sure that you execute your business card design well is to make use of business card templates like these terrific templates found at Envato Elements

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a simpler and easier alternative, you should use a business card maker like this one at Placeit. What’s great about this card maker is that it offers tons of business card design ideas and is a cost-effective way to design your own business cards quickly and easily. I’ll show you how. 

How to Make Business Cards Online

Once you’ve decided on the best business card for your company, you’ll need to customise it to make it your own. Here's how you can personalising your business card templates using the Placeit business card maker. 

1. Select a Font

Starting with the controls on the left, add your business details and select a font style to match your brand. 

Clothing Boutique Business Card Template

2. Upload Your Logo

Moving to the controls on the right, upload your logo, or if you won’t be using a logo on your card, select a graphic from those offered that best represents your brand. 

With this particular template, you'll also need to select a watermark graphic. 

Load Your Logo

3. Select Colours That Match Your Brand

Using the controls on both the left and the right, change the colour of the business card background, as well as the colour of the fonts and other aspects of the business card design, to match your brand. 

Select business card colours

4. Resize and Move Elements As Needed

If you’re not happy with the changes you’ve made, you can hit the Reset Layout button to return the design to its original layout.

Resize business card

5. Download Your New Business Card

Click the Download button to download your brand new logo for a small fee.

Download Business Card

And that's how to create a business card quickly and easily.

Create Your New Business Card Today

Now you know how to design good business cards and where you can find excellent templates at Envato Elements and Placeit. Check them out and let us know in the comments below if you’ve found the perfect business card template for your company and which it is. We’d love to hear from you.

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