Ted brady business card
How to Design an Effective Business Card

If you read our blog on “Why business cards are still an important tool” then, as you probably guessed from the title, you’ll know that business cards are still very much an important tool. They are the first impression of your business, the first point of call for many a client. The design is therefore, crucial. I spoke to our talented graphic designers to gather their top tips on the design of a business card.

Design Principles

Before we start getting into the decorations of a business card, we must start with the basic building blocks. There are some basic design principles that you must follow to give yourself a head-start.

    • Keep trim edges in mind; design within the boundaries of your printer. Keep at least a 5mm border (or bleed) around the perimeter of your business card.
    • Recommended to work at a minimum 300dpi for the best image reproduction.
    • Ensure your typography is legible by working to a minimum size.
    • Design in CMYK to produce the best quality colour once your cards are printed.
    • Work to a grid so you can have accurate alignments.


Eldon Tools Business Card Spot UV

Use Special Finishes

Add an instant impact to your business cards by printing them on special finishes. You could use spot-UV, silk or matt lamination, or plastic. This makes your business cards immediately more memorable, and makes them last longer in your client’s wallets. Special finishes do add extra cost onto the printing of your cards, but what you get in return in terms of the quality of design is worth the initial financial outlay.

Don't Waffle

Make your business cards concise and clear. No unnecessary information. Include your contact details and a company slogan if you have one as well as your logo – beyond that let the images do the talking. If you feel like you need to include a brief description of what you do, you need to rethink what images you are using, because they should immediately communicate what your company is about. For instance, a landscape gardener could have a picture of a tree or some gardening tools so that before their customers have even read anything they get the gist of what the company is about.

The Retreat Logo Mock Up

Is it Easy to Read?

This sounds obvious but trust me, we’ve seen a lot of business cards that don’t follow this rule. Your business cards readability is the most important aspect of your card. If you give someone your card and they can’t read your contact information when they revisit it, your card is pretty much useless. Check, double-check and triple-check that your business card has a clear font which is a suitable size, set yourself a minimum size so you know that you must avoid any size below that point.

White Space is Fine

You shouldn’t stuff everything into your 85x55mm business card. Doing so will make your business card look messy and crowded, without focus. There is a theme here – clear and concise. If you work to this principle you will produce a business card that is focused and high quality. Just think, what do my potential customers need to see; think contact information, logo, relevant image – it’s really that simple!

Jenny Douglas Business Card Mock Up

Call to Action

Encourage your potential customers to take that extra step once they have looked at your business card. You could include a code that they can use to unlock a special offer, or something that would direct them to your website. Calls to action are just that extra little push some people need to begin interacting with your company.

Use Both Sides

If you don’t spend that bit extra to make use of both sides of the card not only will you have a blank side which doesn’t look great, you’ll also be limiting the space you have to convey your message. By using both sides, you can have one side dedicated to your contact information and the other side could include supplemented messaging and images, increasing the overall quality and memorability of your business card.

Stay on Brand

Use your brands colours, these should remain consistent throughout all the promotional materials for your company to build brand awareness. If you don’t have brand colours you should create a complete identity with branding to fit your promotional materials around. Once you have selected the colours for your brand, only use one or two of them on your business card, any more than that can be confusing and look messy.

Ted Brady business card mock up

Business cards are a vital component of any company, of any size. Getting them right will not only save you money in the long run, but also reinforce your branding and company’s identity.

Of course, there is one more tip from our graphic designers;

Get a Professional!

The professionals know these tips like the back of their hand so they will always be the best option when it comes to designing the most effective business card possible. Graphic designers will fit a design around your brand whilst making it eye-catching, clear and concise. A professional printer will guide you through the process, giving you recommendations and advice before ultimately giving you the best possible finish for your business cards.

Sound good? Get in touch today to begin the design of your new business cards

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Created by, Chris