How to design a business card: 10 golden rules
A business card represents the next step in making your small business dream a reality. For many potential customers, it’s also the first interaction they’ll have with your brand—so, make sure it’s a positive one.
A thoughtfully designed business card does more than just carry your contact information. It will make you look professional, build trust for customers and set your small business apart from others. But before you start giving out business cards to everyone you meet, stop and ask yourself: What makes a good business card? How can you make it stand out, and ultimately bring in more business?
The answer: By carefully considering the information you include, and how you present it. Here, we’ve put together 10 essential tips on how to design a business card that best represents you, and your business.
Ready to get started? Here’s how to design a business card:
- Find a template that reflects your brand’s personality.
- Find the right typeface.
- Settle on a size and shape.
- Organise your information.
- Think dual-purpose.
- Maximise your logo.
- Leave some white space.
- Add something special.
- Include a call to action.
Find a template that reflects your brand’s personality.
Your business card says a lot about you and your small business, so be sure to choose a design that reflects your brand. Maybe you’re an interior designer who specialises in modern styling and loves clean lines—reflect that with a template that’s clean and simple. Or, perhaps you’re a dog walker with an outgoing personality—reflect the fun nature of your business with a colourful, less formal card.
If in doubt, talk to a designer. Ask a friend who specialises in print graphics to make sure your business card design aligns with your brand—or take a look at Vistaprint’s Design Services.
Find the right typeface.
If there’s a specific font you’ve been using on your website or other marketing materials, bring that into your business card. The font you choose should represent your brand. For example, an elegant script if you’re an etiquette coach, or a typewriter-inspired font if you’re a writer. It must also be easy to read. All of your text should be at least 8pt, but more important information (like your name or business name) can be printed in a larger size, a different typeface or in bold.
Tristan’s recommendation? “A good rule of thumb is to make the company name larger than a 12pt font, and never use any font sizes smaller than 8pt.”
Settle on a size and shape.
The size and orientation of your business card affects text size and the amount of information you can include, and also makes a statement about your brand. Are you a conventional, no-frills company, or a bold non-conformist?
Most business cards are rectangular, about the size of a credit card, and laid out horizontally. People are familiar with this format, so it’s a safe choice, but if you want to stand out, consider using a square shape, rounded corners or vertical orientation.
Organise your information.
Speaking of information, your business card should give customers everything they need to contact you, find you online or locate your shop or office. Aside from your name and job title, add your business name, telephone number, website, email address and social media handles. Make sure you include all of this information on your business card so customers can easily contact you in whatever way they feel most comfortable.
When you’re adding your information to your business card template, consider the way in which is it laid out. Each piece of information should be clearly distinguishable, but flow nicely with the rest. “A good visual flow for a business card design should start with the logo, then the name, then move on to secondary information like email addresses and phone numbers,” Tristan suggests. “You can always alter the visual flow by adjusting an element’s size, shifting its location or adding additional white space.”
Make your business card work twice as hard for you and your small business. Use the reverse side for appointment reminders, loyalty stamps or as a blank canvas to showcase something about your business. For example, if you run a restaurant or cocktail bar, include a short recipe for a signature dish or drink. Do you sell handmade goods? Use business cards as tags for jewellery, clothing, accessories and other crafts.
Another way to make your business card stick is by turning it into a magnet. This technique works particularly well for businesses offering recurring services like plumbing, gardening, pet sitting, hairdressing, car services, restaurants and more. Customers will stick them on their fridges for easy access to your contact information.
The options for repurposing your business card are endless, and can ensure your card gets further, lasts longer and makes a stronger impression.
Maximise your logo.
Tristan says, “Your card is more than just your contact information—it’s a representation of you and your brand. Before you think of creating new business cards, there are two crucial design components to consider: your finalised logo and your brand colours. These elements are the most important parts of your visual branding, and will help influence other areas of the card design process.”
A business card is *all* about the logo—consider dedicating one side of your card solely to your logo. As a visual representation of your business, it deserves a prominent place that will instantly catch the eye of potential clients.
How we can help
Once you have a logo, aim to create a complete identity for your brand. You should have a collection of colours and fonts to use in all of your marketing materials, a tone of voice to use in all communications and an overall idea of the ‘vibe’ of your brand. If you haven’t created a logo yet, outsource the design process to us—our Design Services team is here to help design your logo, website, marketing materials and more.
Leave some white space.
Don’t clutter your card with too much text—if there are too many elements on the card, they’ll all compete for the reader’s attention and nothing will stand out. (And remember—you can use both sides of the card!) Design-wise, a little white space is easier on the eyes, and it can help draw attention to the most important details.
Plus, you might want to add a note before you hand out your card to someone—leaving a little room gives you space to jot down your new phone extension or give potential customers the name of a colleague.
Tristan reminds us that “the fewer elements you have, the more impact each will make—so think about how you can clear the clutter to leave a lasting impression.”
Add something special.
According to Tristan, “special finishes can go a long way in making a lasting impression on potential customers, partners and clients.”
One easy way to make your card stand out is to add an unusual design element or special print treatment. Foil accents add a touch of sophisticated shine, while embossed gloss creates a raised, glossy coating, giving your cards a hard-to-forget 3D feel.
Paper stock is another way to add something special to your business card. Extra-thick paper adds an instantly luxurious touch, while recycled kraft paper lends an organic feel.
Make sure these special features are appropriate for your branding—if you’re in a less glamorous line of work, it might feel odd to add a shimmery foil accent to your business card.
Include a call to action.
A CTA isn’t a business card requirement, but it can encourage potential clients to take that next step. Whether it’s a special offer, a useful tip or a discount code, create an incentive around your business to encourage customers. Consider using a QR code as part of your call to action. As people are increasingly comfortable with scanning QR codes, adding one to your business card is a great one-click way to send people to your website, subscribe them to your mailing list or give them a special offer. We suggest placing the code on the back of your business card—this ensures it’s easy to scan, and won’t take away from your logo on the front.
Proofread…and then proofread again.
Is there anything worse than opening a freshly printed box of business cards (or menus, or flyers) to see that there’s a typo?
Before you place your order, ask a colleague or friend to double-check your business card for spelling errors. If you want to be *extra* sure that your card is perfectly proofed, enlist the help of a professional copy editor.
Since there is such a small amount of text on a business card, it should be a relatively quick, low-cost task.