How to design a business card

Do you still need a business card in the digital age? In short, yes. It’s best to think of a business card as a small piece of marketing that you can give to any existing or potential customer.

Business cards also communicate a sense of security to the recipient, showing that you are part of an established business that is ready and willing to work together.

Business cards alongside designed email signatures, letterheads, branded envelopes all help to create a consistent brand experience for customers or partners of your business or brand.

While there are online platforms that can serve as an online business card of sorts, the art of designing and giving a potential client or employer a business card after a successful meeting is still relevant today.

In the article below, we’ll show you how to design a business card and why they are still important in today’s business landscape.

Table of Contents: How to design a business card

Why design a business card

Why business cards are important

Humans have unreliable memories. We often forget to pick up milk from the store when it’s the sole purpose of our visit, so it’s easy to forget the people we meet. Having a business card is extremely useful to prompt your customers, especially at those times when they need you most. Designing your own business card goes beyond just name and title. It’s a device loaded with visual clues so you’ll be remembered long after the initial encounter.

Business cards are a great way to introduce yourself

If you know a person or company you’d like to reach out to, business cards are a great ice breaker. They can be handed out in person or accompanied by a note sent in the mail. A business card makes you look professional and provides all the information recipients need to find out more about you.

Business cards communicate who you are and what you do

It’s difficult to keep track of job titles, particularly in meetings where you encounter multiple new faces. Presenting a business card makes it easy for people to understand what you do, and to attach your all-important name to the service.

Business cards keep you front of mind

Business cards tend to remain on desks, in wallets, or stored in places where they might one day be used. And that’s great news for the moment when people need you.

Related article: The business cards of some of the world’s most famous people

Why business cards are important in the digital age

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Image by Headway via Unsplash.

In today’s digital world, It’s easy to assume business cards have fallen out of favor but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A survey conducted by Statistic Brain Research Institute states that 57% of businesspeople claim having a card is essential to their business. And when it comes to designing a great business card, 72% of people judge a company by the quality of its business card, with 39% saying they wouldn’t do business with someone offering one that looks cheap.

So here are three things to consider when designing your business card:

1. Think about how it’s going to look

First impression count. The same way you dress up for an interview, your business card should dress up too. It’s not just about the design either. Think about the words, the weight, and the feel.

2. Consider the goals you want your business card to achieve

Your business card is a reflection of you. Consider the role your card plays, and what you would like it to convey to customers. What makes you the right person for the job? What you offer that no one else can? If your service is quite common, how can you make it compelling in a visual way?

3. Make sure it’s easy to read 

Well-designed cards are kept. When you take the time to craft a beautiful card, people will respond by hanging on to it. Unappealing designs tend to be discarded but if it's pleasant to look at, it will remain and eventually be utilized. And ultimately, that’s the goal.

Business card design inspiration

Before you get started, get inspired with the following business card designs:

Color grabs attention and you can adjust designs by selecting colors that best suit your business. Try Canva’s Pastel Modern Web Designer Business Card template or Design Studio Business Card.

Photography can be impactful and is great for showing off your product. Use a collage style like Yellow Eggs Funky Business Card template or choose a single image like Blue Surfer Photographic Business Card.

Graphic design is dynamic, clean, and sleek. There are plenty of existing designs to work with like the dynamic template Athletics Store Business Card or Green Gradients Technology Business Card. 

Using an artistic design can evoke a mood or feeling. Showcase your own artwork or use a template like Bermuda Brushstrokes Freelancer Business Card or Yellow Brushstrokes Creative Freelancer Business Card.

Illustration helps to identify an audience or convey a stylized look. Check out the adorable Owl Illustration Cute Business Card template or Illustration Kitchen ToolsCatering Business Card.

Minimalism always feels sophisticated and timeless. Go for a refined template like Turquoise and Grey Modern Lawyer Business Card or Navy Blue and Gold Stripes Wedding Planner Classy Business Card.

Creative ideas increase memorability, especially when the idea relates to the business, product, or service. Come up with your own idea or use templates like Black and White Movie Clapper Filmmaker Business Card or Orange Speech Bubble Business Card.

Typography can be simple and straightforward, or it can take on a life of its own. For a less-is-more approach, try the template Black and Cream Classic Technology Business Card or Blue and White Moon Beauty and Fashion Business Card.

For even more inspiration, find great examples here.

How to design a business card

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Image by Balaz Ketyi via Unsplash.

With so many design styles, it can be difficult to know where to start. Your business card should feel like an extension of your existing brand, so the design should be based on your logo, signage, or letterhead. If your business card is the starting point for your brand, consider how the same design will extend to all your other touchpoints.

What to add to your business card

When first starting to create your business card, you have to assess what elements you’re going to include. However, there are a few non-negotiables that you should consider:

  • Your name. It’s important that your name is clearly visible and that it uses an easy-to-read font.
  • Your company. You want the recipient of your business card to associate your name with the business you own or work for.
  • Your current title. It’s important for the cardholder to easily link how you can help them. Whether you’re a CEO or a marketing manager, it’s helpful to provide as much context about yourself as possible.
  • Contact information. Another essential piece of information to provide is your contact information. Whether it’s your best contact number, email address, or both.

Other items you can add to your business card includes:

  • Your company logo. Many people opt to add their company logo to their business card as a visual replacement for the company’s name on the card. This adds a sleek visual element to the business card and breaks up the text elements.
  • Relevant social handles. For many in creative industries, social media serves as an indicator of popularity, authority, and success. For a polished look, you can simply add the social media icon with the social handle underneath. This can even be added to the back of your business card.

Seven business card design considerations

Here are seven design considerations to take into account:

  • Shape. Horizontal cards are the most common, but if you’re looking to stand out from your competitors, you could choose portrait format. Curved corners are an option, as well as imprints or die cuts. A completely different shape (say a circle) will result in additional costs so weigh-up whether it’s worth it.
  • Size. We recommended using the standard business card dimensions (varying from county to country) so your card can be easily stored in wallets and business cardholders. Of course, if its impact you’re after, the sky is the limit but do consider how the recipient of the card will retain it. Too small and it may get lost, too big and it could be a burden.
  • Design. It’s tempting to choose designs simply because you like them but it can be confusing for people who receive your card. A bright, colored design may not be representative of someone who works in the finance sector, just as a subdued, basic design is not a great introduction to an artist’s work. Think about colors or designs that represent your industry so it helps people understand what you do.
  • Logo. A logo isn’t mandatory but it is a  great way for customers to quickly and easily identify your brand, especially when it reoccurs across all your brand communication. If you feel your business card could use one, here’s how you can design your own.
  • Text. There are a few things every business card should feature, and in a particular order: Company name is followed by your first and last name, job title, and your contact details (phone number, email, web address, social handles). Any more information and the card can become cluttered so stick to the basics.
  • Typography. When it comes to your details, legibility is key. It defeats the purpose if customers can’t read what’s on your card. Fancy cursive typography may look lovely but recipients may struggle, for example, figuring if it’s the letter ‘s’ or the number ‘5’. Use fonts that are easy to read.
  • Texture. Never underestimate how a business card feels. If it’s too thin and flimsy, a card can feel cheap so you want to choose a quality paper stock. Also, consider what finish your card should have. A high-gloss finish results in a shiny look and feel, a matte finish has a slight sheen and is softer, while an uncoated finish uses the paper’s natural texture.

For a more detailed look into shapes, colors, and more, check out this article on the ultimate guide to creating a business card for any industry.

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Image by Mika Baumeister via Unsplash.

No matter what printer to use, business cards are all printed using a similar method. Multiple versions of your design are laid out on a single sheet of card, which is then cut or trimmed down into individual cards. While printers make every effort to ensure cards are trimmed in the right place, the trim line can alter slightly

Therefore there are a few things you must check before sending them off to print.

Before you print

  • Ensure all type is 5mm from the edge so it won’t get chopped off when the cards are cut
  • Borders can highlight trim errors, so it’s something to be aware of
  • Ensure all words are large enough to read (legibility) and there are no mistakes
  • Get a second (or third) pair of eyes on it to pick up errors or to get design feedback

Sending a business card to print

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Image by Brando makes Branding via Unsplash.

Once your design is finalized, Canva makes it really easy to print cards. You can do it all online and they’ll be delivered directly to you. Hit ‘Print Business Card’ in the top right-hand corner, you’ll be given a few options on how you want your cards printed from the drop-down menu.

Paper

Select your paper type based on the thickness of the card. Choose from standard, premium, or deluxe paper.

Finish

Select your finish based on the coating of the card. Choose from a matte, gloss, or an uncoated finish.

Copies

Select the number of cards you need, anywhere from 50 cards up to 2,000 copies.

Related article: A stunning collection of 50 letterpress business cards

Share the love

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Image by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash.

There’s nothing quite like the excitement of business cards arriving, stacked with so much promise and possibility. Get into the habit of giving them out to see how they feel, noting any feedback or comments that you can apply to your next print run. Make sure you always have some on you, particularly when attending conferences or events. Insert them into thank you notes and packages, and present one next time someone asks what you do. Remember, meeting people is a door to a new experience and your business card is the key. Get started creating yours today.

Your secret weapon for stunning design