6 Rules for a Successful Business Card Design

6 Rules for a Successful Business Card Design

27 million business cards are printed every day. So if you think that business cards are a thing of the past then think again!

But this doesn't mean they always work. Out of the 10 billion cards printed each year, 8 billion ends up in the trash within a week.

That's 80% of business cards that people don't hold on to!

But business cards can increase a company's sales. So you want yours to be in the 20% that people hold onto, right?

Then you'll need to make sure your business card design is the best it can be. And fortunately, we're here to help.

Read on to find out our six top tips on how to design a business card that will grab your client's attention and keep it!

1. Understand The Basic Design Principles

Understanding this will ensure you don't waste time on designs that don't work.

And you don't want to spend loads of cash on designs that come out crooked or out of proportion do you? So what are these basic design principles?

Keep your copy at least 5mm from the trim edge. This is so the printers can cut down your business cards without affecting the design. This extra space is also known as 'the bleed'.

Some printers and design software provide their own bleed. So you can also work with the bleed provided. Or you can request the specific bleed from your printer.

This will ensure nothing important gets cut off your business card. And that it looks professional.

No one wants the most noticeable thing about their business card to be that it is off center!

And when designing your business card always use a grid. This keeps your design in proportion to ensure it looks professional.

Grids also work with the Golden Ratio. This means your cards will be aesthetically pleasing for your clients.

Make sure your colour and image printing is of decent quality. 300dpi is best for reproducing an image. And unless you're designing in spot colours, use CYMK.

Finally, stick with a business card size that people are happy with. No one wants to receive a business card that they could string up with their Christmas cards!

Business cards are usually around 55 x 85 mm. While it might be tempting to change the size to make them eye-catching don't go for anything massive. You want something that people are happy to carry in their wallet, not ditch in the bin!

2. Include The Basics

And not much else!

Your business card should interest the client. And it should let them know about your service. So it should be memorable without making their head spin.

A clear positioning statement about your business will tell them what you do. Or a call to action will tell them what to do next. But if you're giving them the business card in person then they'll already know this!

So what else should be on there?

Simple - the information they need to find you.

Your name, title, business name, phone number, email address and website will be enough. The beauty of living in an age of technology is that you're easier to find than ever. Even with a little information, they'll be able to find you with a quick Google.

It might be tempting to put your social media on your business card. Only include these if they're relevant to your business.

Otherwise, the design of your business card will become overcrowded. 

3. Consider Using Interesting Design Techniques

We can all remember a really unique business card that we've received can't we?

The likelihood is special design techniques created these eye-catching designs. They are 'out of the box'.

So what techniques are available to you?

Special finishes can give your business card design something a bit special. Foil blocking, spot-UV or metallic inks can make your business cards more engaging.

Or you could use cut outs. A cut out from the inside of the card or rounded corners will catch a client's eye.

And the longer they look, the more of your information they take in. Which is the whole point, isn't it?

Changing up the material you choose to print on can create a more unique card. You can print business cards on anything; from metal to wood to edible materials like dog biscuits! So consider moving away from the traditional card stock.

Being environmentally-friendly and printing on recycled materials is sure to impress your clients!

Think carefully about all the elements of your business card.

Choice of colour effects the first impression. And different colours evoke different emotions. For example, green encourages feelings of trust. So think carefully about how you use them.

But the most important thing to remember is this. Your business card design should be in line with your brand. Don't get carried away by crazy design choices.

If your card isn't in line with your brand then it will confuse your clients.

Imagine if someone gave you a slate business card embossed with a metallic font. But the business was for a local tutor. It'd confuse you, right?

Avoid this by keeping your design in line with your brand.

4. Don't Let Your Business Card Design Get Carried Away

You want something eye-catching, not blinding.

So take it easy on the finishing effects and be careful not to overcrowd your business card. If your card is too crowded, your client won't know what to focus in on.

Everything you decide to have on your card should be there for a reason. And that reason should be in line with your brand.

Bright colours work for businesses targeting a younger market. But a lawyer handing you a neon-pink business card might be a bit confusing!

Having white spaces on your card and minimal text can be as effective as having a brightly coloured card. As long as you pull the focus to the right areas you don't have to totally reinvent business card design.

And some blank space can actually be a bonus. This leaves the client with space to make notes on. That added engagement makes them more likely to hold onto it.

And like colour, choose your fonts carefully. You could spend hours looking through different fonts. And playing around with them can be great fun.

But the most important thing is to choose a font that is clear and well-sized. People aren't going to waste time trying to read your business card.

Finally, keep your audience in mind.

This links in with your brand. If you have a specific audience then giving a nod to them on your business cards is a really nice touch.

For example, an international business might have business cards printed in different languages. This shows that they think about all their clients. And that's the kind of thing that people remember.

And if you have more than one business don't ever put both on the same card. This creates a mixed message.

And if someone focuses in on the wrong business, you can be sure that your card will end up in the trash.

5. Invest In Professional Printing

And this is a real investment.

A company's sales can increase by 2.5% for every 2,000 business cards handed out. And with high quality, bulk printing easily available that's a lot of percent for a fraction of the price.

DIY business cards are often easy to spot. So unless you're professionally experienced, get help. The professionals know how to design a business card for success.

Online printing services provide loads of freedom to personalize your own design. And they sort the technical side out for you.

And can you imagine how long it would take to print thousands of business cards yourself? It really is a no brainer, isn't it?

Professional printing saves you time and money.

6. Always Check Your Work

Okay, we can hear you sighing.

If you've heard it once, you've heard it a hundred times. Always check your work.

Sending your business card design off to the printers with mistakes on it is a waste of your time and money. And those mistakes slip through easier than you might think.

If you've spent hours staring at your card design, the chances are your brain is less likely to pick up mistakes on it. And this could cost you dearly with clients.

No one's going to hire you if you can't get the basics right.

So take a short break before sending your design off. Just five minutes away from your screen will help you to come back with a fresh set of eyes.

Or better still get an actual fresh set of eyes to check it (once you have of course!)

And spelling is only one element that needs checking. Don't forget to look at the punctuation and spacing. A wonky indentation somewhere will really stand out.

Free software like Grammarly is also a great shout to help pick out any spelling or grammar errors. But don't just rely on this.

Nothing beats a good old-fashioned proofread.

So There You Have It

The key to a brilliant business card design lies in the detail and in getting the basics right. Use these in line with your brand to stand out from the crowd and you can't go wrong.

Check out our collections of business card designs here! Or visit our blog for more tips on how to use your new card in the most effective way!


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