Whether you’re part of a large corporation, small company, or simply work alone, you won’t get very far without your own business card.
It’s an essential tool for networking, representing yourself, and promoting your business.
Some think making a business card is as simple as having your name and contact details printed on a piece of paper. In reality, you have to think seriously about the design, size, and materials among other important details.
Even if it seems trivial at first, these details are important to consider if you want to leave a positive and lasting impression.
This article will help you understand what makes a good business card and how to design one, and offer some extra tips to help you create a business card that’ll ensure you’re remembered.
Table of Contents
What makes a good business card?
First up, let’s consider the qualities any successful business card should reflect.
- Appealing – your business card is the first marketing material people will see. It should look eye-catching and create a good first impression of your business.
- Simple and clear – the design has to make the content easier to grasp. Consider how the layout, color palette, and visual elements support the card’s main function.
- Concise – within the small area available, the card should only contain the most important content – the company’s name, contact details, social media handles, and logo.
- Easy to read – the font type, size, and hierarchy should make the card easily read at a glance.
- Professional – the design elements should convey that your company is an expert in its field.
How to design an impactful business card
Design your perfect business card with these 10 easy steps:
Step 1: Conduct research
Begin by studying different business card designs.
This will allow you to source ideas and make sure yours has a design that stands out from the crowd. It will enable you to differentiate good designs from bad ones and avoid making the same mistakes.
Search for cards that represent businesses from the same industry. There might be a common pattern that is shared among them. You can choose to follow the trend or take a different route.
Consider looking for cards from companies in other fields as well for more inspiration.
Pay attention to what you like and dislike about each card.
Think of how you can incorporate features you like into your design. However, don’t copy everything. Come up with ideas to personalize these elements in your own card.
Step 2: Choose your business card’s size and shape
Most business cards are rectangular, horizontal, and close to the size of a bank card. They’re designed that way so that they’re easier to carry and store.
A standard card in the US is 3.5 by 2 inches or 88.9 by 50.8 mm, while other countries occasionally have a different standard sizing.
However, there’s no definite rule for card sizes and shapes. You can choose a different form and alternative dimensions to make your card more distinctive. Keep in mind the card’s practicality when deciding the size and shape.
The easiest way to modify the card’s design is by using a vertical layout. It’s less popular than horizontal orientation and can instantly make your card more noticeable.
When picking the size, remember that the card should be readable. This means the design should be large enough to accommodate the amount of information and the font size you desire.
Step 3: Use design elements related to your brand
When creating the card, it’s important to use design elements associated with your business or brand. This helps maintain consistency and makes your business more recognizable.
These design elements might include your business logo, typography, and color palette. Refer to your other existing branding materials to decide which elements would be useful.
If you have no branding materials for reference, start by making a website with Zyro.
Our website builder comes with a free hosting plan and free to use responsive templates to suit any business.
It’s intuitive and fast, so you won’t spend long hours creating the perfect site. Once you’re done, you can base your business card design around your website’s look.
Don’t have a logo yet? You can also use the free Zyro logo maker.
With this tool, you can make an attractive and professional logo to put on your business card, website, and other formal documents. You can create a logo in minutes, with no design software experience required.
With the help of Zyro, you don’t need to worry about choosing an image editing tool. If you want to design from scratch, simply go to the Zyro logo maker and start working.
No designing experience? There are free and premium templates available. You can draw inspiration from them and get ideas to make your logo more unique.
Once you’re ready to export your new logo and show it to the printers, find out if they have specific dimension standards. Be sure to communicate where and what size you want your logo to be on the card.
Step 4: Get creative with your business card design
Now, start designing.
First, think about the layout. The logo, name, position, and contact information should be sized and positioned for maximum neatness and impact.
Your logo and name should be the main highlight. They have to be larger and carefully placed. Be sure to leave some negative space between the content as well so that the design doesn’t feel cramped.
The typography and colors should be consistent with other brand-related content.
When picking a typeface, choose two sans serif or serif font types since they’re clear and easy to read. One font can be for the name and position, while the other is for the contact details.
For the color scheme, limit the number of colors. More colors could be distracting and risks looking less professional.
Make sure to pick a color for the background, text, and other visual elements. Figure out how they can complement each other to create an appealing business card.
You might also want to include some decorative graphics. For example, you can use icons that signify the phone number, email address, social media handles, and company address.
Be careful though, make sure these elements don’t divert too much attention from the important information.
Ensure all the elements complement each other to create an appealing aesthetic.
When you’re finished, convert the document to 300 dpi so that the print is clear and sharp.
Step 5: Don’t cheap out on materials
The material is a crucial component of a business card. Although good materials are usually more expensive, they make for a sturdy, impressive and long-lasting card.
Quality card material can leave a more positive impression on your clients and customers. After all, if you invest in your business card, it shows that you care about your image.
If you have physical copies of a business card, examine what they are made of. It will help you decide how you want your own card to feel.
The most common business card materials are paper and plastic. Paper comes in different textures and thicknesses, which means there are usually more customization options.
Generally, thinner cardstocks break more easily, so it’s advisable to opt for a thicker material as it makes for a more solid business card.
Plastic is less popular and more expensive. Not all printing companies can make plastic business cards. Nonetheless, it’s a great material if you want to use a transparent background.
Step 6: Add special finishes
The easiest way to make your business card more distinctive is by adding a special finish.
There are tons of print finishes to choose from. For instance, if you want to make your paper look glossy or matte, use a laminating plastic.
Glossy lamination is great for vibrant business cards, while matte plastics are more suitable for a stylized design.
To highlight certain text or to create a more visually interesting card, use foil stamping or metallic inks to make specific areas stand out. Alternatively, apply a spot UV varnish so that one area has a different texture to the rest of the card.
Consider embossing or debossing the material as well. These techniques will allow you to add more tactile variety.
Step 7: Experiment with unusual materials
Want your business card to stand out even more? Consider getting creative with unconventional materials.
Some companies have done this by using fabrics, metals, balloons or magnets. If you want to try this out, pick a material that is relevant to your business. If you offer a recycling service, you can create a business card out of recycled materials.
However, ensure that the card is still practical and easy to store; the material should be strong and durable.
Step 8: Give your business card an additional use
Another way to make your business card more impressive is by giving the card an additional function.
This way, people can interact with it, which could provide a reason to keep it around.
Making your card multifunctional can be as simple as featuring a calendar or portfolio on the back of the card.
You might try turning the card into a playful tool, like a finger hole puppet or a model kit. Some companies even make useful utensils as their business cards, like a cheese grater or a bottle opener.
Whatever you choose, the added function should remain related to your business.
Step 9: Double-check the content
Whether you decide on a traditional business card or a less conventional route, make sure to check and re-check the contact details and design elements.
Business cards are usually printed in bulk, so double-checking can avoid wasting the material and money to make another batch. Additionally, giving people a card with spelling or design mistakes can damage your image.
Before printing, check for typos and design flaws. Ensure that the document follows the printing requirements.
Before printing in bulk, create a dummy card and see how the print turns out. If you want, give the dummy to your friends or family and ask for their opinions. Ask for feedback, and see if they think it’s attractive and suitable for your business.
When you’re happy with the final design, start printing.
Step 10: Consider hiring a designer
If your design isn’t coming together, or you don’t have the time to make your own business card, consider hiring a graphic designer if you can afford it.
The designer’s main job is to turn your ideas into beautiful content. They can help translate your concepts into reality.
If you already have your own design, they can add some expert touches to make it look more appealing.
Designers are also more familiar with printing standards, so you can rest assured that the final print will look sharp.
Extra tips to create your business card
Need help to get creative with your business card?
- Crack a joke – the social media company Yik Yak uses some funny quotes from their own platform on the back of their cards to entertain readers.
- Create multiple designs – if you can’t settle on one design, consider using more than one. This designer creates several business cards for IKEA to not only richen the selection but also to reflect the company’s identity better.
- Imitate a well-known object – Take a look at the following example by Croxton Design, where they imitate a roll of tickets that can be torn into individual business cards.
Despite its small format, a business card is a powerful tool for marketing and networking.
It’s essential to come up with a design that is appealing, simple and clear, concise, easy to read, and professional.
To design your business card:
- Conduct thorough research – study other business cards to learn how your own should look and how to make it stand out in the crowd.
- Choose your card’s size and shape – you can pick a standard size and shape or get creative, as long as the card remains practical.
- Use design elements of your brand identity – refer to the design elements present in other branded content to use in the business card.
- Get creative with the design – follow printing standards and make sure that the layout, colors, typography, and decorative elements work well together.
- Don’t cheap out on card materials – invest in good materials so your card lasts longer.
- Add special finishes – print finishing techniques can make your care more visually interesting.
- Experiment with unusual materials – consider using unconventional materials so your card stands out.
- Give your card additional uses – make the card functional to impress people and stick in their minds.
- Double-check the content – check the document for any mistakes before printing in bulk.
- Consider hiring a designer – an expert can transform your ideas and add special touches to the design.