Business card design:

It’s an exciting thing when you give your card to someone and they say, “That looks great!! Can I have another one to share?” Or they turn to the person next to them and say “Hey, look at this!”

Awesome, huh!?


duct tape and glitter - via

duct tape and glitter – via


Have you kept other people’s business card just because they look great? Get them out and have a think about why that is.

A while ago, I came across this trick to help you figure out some things about effective business card design. Find all the business cards you can and lay them out on the table. Close your eyes for a few seconds and then open them. Guaranteed some of them will grab your attention straight away – pick those ones out and analyse what it is that grabbed you. Colour? Images? Great font or logo? Vertical layout? Texture? What else?


patterns via

patterns via


 rio mas by melisa sceinkman - via

rio mas by melisa sceinkman – via


angela and evan photography - via

angela and evan photography – via


candle belle by alan cheetham - via

candle belle by alan cheetham – via


david and claire wedding invite - via

david and claire wedding invite – via


making lemonade - via

making lemonade – via


jane lindeman - via

jane lindeman – via


thedarlingroom - via

thedarlingroom – via


{Except for the last one, I’ve chosen the above examples for their simplicity and effectiveness on a standard size business card. Click the images for the original source.}


Business card design can be a fabulously effective tool for your business. Or not. Remember ever tossing a boring business card in the bin? Sure you do. You don’t want yours to suffer that fate, do you? So, make it interesting. And remember, your business card is NOT there to show and say everything about who you are; it should be a introduction, a conversation starter. Use them to showcase your work and style. And it DEFINITELY needs to fit with your brand. {Have you got that sorted? Here.}


Your Layout.

– The weight of card makes a big difference to how your business is perceived. Heavier card sends a message of quality; flimsier cards send a message of cheapness. Don’t print your cards on anything much less than 300gsm (grams per square metre) – anything thinner feels like throwaway material.

– The texture of your card can add another level of class – of course there is the standard choice of matt or gloss, but you can also get textured cards, or even letterpress embossed.

Other materials:  If you’re prepared to pay, you can get cards made out of lots of different things, for instance wood, metal or transparent plastics.

– Special sizes and cuts:  A standard business card size is 84mm x 55mm (3.5″ x 2″). You can really make your card stand out by making it an unusual shape or size, but that will add to the cost. Simple rounded corners on a standard size card don’t usually cost much, but I’ve also seen circular ones from a smallgoods store that look like a slice of salami, and one from a furniture maker that folds out into a miniature chair. Another trade-off to consider is that it’s harder for your customer to carry or keep if they have a standard business card holder (although, is your ideal customer likely to have one of those things?).

– Readability is important. Overly fancy or stylised fonts, or even something that is too small…. don’t use’em. You want to communicate clearly.

Images: Especially useful if you’re a photographer, artist or a maker. Great images of your work can act like a sneak peek into your portfolio. Cover one side of your card to serve as the main ‘face’, and print your details on the other side.

Borders: Don’t use a layout with a border; even a tiny shift in alignment of the cutters at the printer will result in lopsided borders (which is why when you’re designing a card, they usually allow a ‘bleed’ area of around 3mm).


It’s For More Than Just Your Contact Details.

If you make your card useful, people are more likely to hang onto it too. Include a discount code towards the next purchase, include a map, a ruler, or handy reference info that is relevant to your work.When you make your card useful AND pretty, you send a message about your business as a provider of useful stuff.


What to Put On Your Card.

It’s so easy to connect with people once you have a website. And when you overload your business card with too much text it looks messy and yuk. So keep it simple, and remember that “Less is More” (my fave quote from one of my fave architects).

Absolutely essential:
– business name.
– website (preferably just the one – don’t confuse people).
– contact details eg email addy.

– business tag line or description (if you think it’s necessary to explain what your business is about).
– an image of your work.
– further contact details if it’s appropriate – a street address, phone number, your name, your job title.

Probably not: {because don’t clutter your card with unnecessary information.}
– social media. It’s not what your business card is for; if people want to connect with you, they’ll find the info when they go to your website.
– multiple web addresses. don’t confuse people. One, or two at the most.





So get designing!! In Part 2 of this post, I will go through some basics of graphic design so that you get a REALLY fab looking card, and some of the technical stuff of printing so that you get exactly the result you want.

See you then!!
Julie x