How to design a business card

A business card is a small, printed, usually credit-card-sized paper card that holds your business details, such as name, contact details and brand logo. Your business card design is an essential part of your branding and should act as a visual extension of your brand design.

In this guide, we’ll run through everything you need to know about business card design so you can tell your designer exactly what you want. Business cards should above all be personal, so this guide explains what your options are for the card that’s most… you.

Choose your shape

If you’ve already decided on a traditional rectangular business card, you can skip ahead to the second step. If, however, you want to learn about all your options, even outside-the-box strategies, keep reading.

As printing techniques grow more advanced and affordable, professionals have more room to explore alternative shapes. The printing technique of die-cutting allows you to cut out any shape you want and still print in bulk.

Choose your size

Your next decision is the size of the card. This mostly depends on the standard of the country, so that’s a good place to start. Even if you plan to stand out, you have to know what everyone else is doing to go against it.

  • North American Standard: 3.5 × 2 in. (88.9 × 50.8 mm)
  • European Standard: 3.346 × 2.165 in. (85 × 55 mm)
  • Oceania Standard:  3.54 × 2.165 in. (90 × 55 mm)

No matter the size, you always want to consider three factors when designing:

  • Bleed area: the outermost part of the card likely to be removed.
  • Trim line: the target line for cutting cards.
  • Safety line: anything outside this line is subject to cutting mistakes. Don’t let essential elements like text or logos fall outside this line.

Add necessary text

What your business card actually says depends on you. Work-from-home freelancers may have no need for a postal address, while professions that consult face-to-face require it. Or maybe it’s a strategic choice, such as drawing attention to your impressive social media following. The point is, different people benefit from different text on their business cards.

So the next step is for you to decide what to put on your business card. Below is a list of some common choices, so you can decide which to include and exclude.

  • Name – A given. Every card needs a name.
  • Company name – Another given, except for personal brands, in which case your personal name is your company name.
  • Job title – For traditional cards, include your job title. This also helps remind the holder of who you are, what you do, and even how your met.
  • Phone number – Even if phone is not your preferred method of communication, it is to some people.
  • Email – A business card staple; email is the new norm for non-urgent business communications, partially because it allows sending documents as attachments.
  • Website URL – Including your site URL is a non-aggressive invitation for visits.
  • Social media – If social media is relevant to your field, or you just want to show a bit of your personality, include social media links.
  • Address – Necessary for drawing customers into your office or store location.
  • QR code – While not as popular as years past, a QR code is still a viable shortcut to transferring whatever data you desire. Read about all the advantages of using a QR code here.
  • Slogan – Completely optional, a slogan helps with brand identity and adds a little personality.

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